The last twelve months have been a wild ride in the world of web browsers. Chrome has been rapidly capturing market share from Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE), which traditionally has held the majority of web browser market share – beginning with Microsoft Windows dominance of personal computer industry. It has often been said that the reason behind MSIE’s dominance in the market is due to heavy corporate usage. A recent report coming out of StatCounter shows that Chrome actually overtakes MSIE on the weekends, as user’s browser of choice, although Microsoft argues that StatCounter’s methodology is flawed. Chitika Insights sought to investigate the relationship between MSIE and Chrome to determine to what extent, if any, this weekend favoritism could be observed on our extensive ad network.

To quantify this study Chitika Insights analyzed a series of impressions coming seen on our network ranging from March 27to April 4, 2012. This sample was composed of hundreds of millions of unique impressions from the US and Canada. Below you can see a graph depicting MSIE and Chrome browser share in respect to overall traffic across the one week time frame:

A quick look at the data shows a visible contrarian trend between MSIE and Chrome web use, as a function of time of day. Chrome sees a peak use of 24.6% of all browser use on average throughout the week, compared to MSIE’s 55.3% average peak use.

MSIE regularly exhibits peak hours of use from the beginning of the day (EST) towards the lunch hour and early afternoon, seeing its share of the overall web browsing market sit comfortably above 50% during this time period. Chrome on the other hand sees a pickup in usage later in the afternoon, and eventually maxing out in the later hours of the day as people get out of work and the evening progresses.

Although our data does not support StatCounters conclusion that Chrome is the people’s choice for a weekend browser, it is clear that Chrome web use certainly picks up as web users move about throughout their day, often peaking well above 20% of overall web browsing share.

For Publishers and Advertisers, this data is significant for a couple of reasons. First it exhibits the reality that consumer behavior is often a function of the constraints applied to it – in this case, the corporate standard of Microsoft Windows and MSIE in the workplace. Second it showcases how high levels of variability can occur within markets on a micro scale. To be aware of these minor shifts and readily able to adapt them can drive revenues and maximize ROI.

Stay tuned to future research and reports coming out of Chitika Insights focusing on web browsers and the technology industry.

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