When Google users can’t find what they’re looking for on their favorite search engine, where do they go as a fallback plan? According to a new study by online ad network Chitika, they overwhelmingly shift to Yahoo! and Ask.com.

Chitika broke down the data of 39,233 users who searched for the same thing on multiple search engines to determine where they go when the first search results are unsatisfactory. Of second-search users coming from Google, 49.5% ran their second search on Yahoo!, 30.29% on Ask, 16.4% on Microsoft’s Bing, and just 3.8% on AOL.

Google Second Search

The surprising numbers in all of this are the high rate of Ask.com usage and the low rate of Bing. Based on overall search market shares, Chitika researchers expected Ask to be only 8.35% and Bing to be over 35%.

“It seems like Googlers think very highly of Ask and Yahoo!,” said Daniel Ruby, Chitika’s Research Director for Online Insights. “It kind of goes to show that, when you’re really struggling to find something, you’ll skip past what’s popular and search with something that’s different and unique.”


Chitika looked at individual users who searched for the same keyword (exact matched) on more than one search engine, and then created a time-based matrix of first- and second-searches. Data is a sample of traffic from 4/14-4/20, 2010.

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