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PPC | PAID SEARCH | The modern search landscape: How and where to reach your target audience

Article by Dan Toplitt

Dan Toplitt writes that today's web users go beyond traditional search engines to search. Learn about the platforms that should be on every search marketer’s radar.

Imagine you’re on vacation, it’s approaching noon and you’re starting to feel hungry. You’re eager to enjoy the best local cuisine your destination has to offer. So you go to Google Maps and search for “best lunch restaurant near me”, a topic that’s more than doubled in search volume on Google in the last three years alone.

Over 80% of searches worldwide occur on Google based on the latest search engine market share data. You might think that you’ve just completed the most common search journey to lunch.

However, nearly 40% of U.S. searchers between the ages of 18 and 24 go to TikTok or Instagram when looking for a place for lunch, according to Google’s own internal research.

In other words, if a restaurant in the area wants to attract this audience, their marketing strategy needs to extend beyond Google to include these platforms.

Now imagine if you were crunched for time and had decided you’d rather order lunch in your room than go out to eat.

If you’re vacationing in San Jose, consumers in your area are statistically more likely to find lunch on DoorDash, whereas New York consumers are more likely to order through Uber Eats.

Ultimately, these scenarios illustrate that when building a search marketing strategy, marketers need to consider the context behind a search, such as:

  • Demographics and psychographics of searchers.

  • Their location when conducting a search.

  • The goal of their search journey.

We need to erode the distinctions we have historically made between traditional search marketing domains (e.g., Google and Microsoft Bing) and the broader ecosystem of digital platforms.

Search is one of the most common human behaviors in the digital space. It’s no surprise that Google is the most-visited website across the globe and all the top 10 most-visited websites worldwide feature a search experience that is core to the user experience.

Search is also one of the most valuable user behaviors for marketers because it is an expression of users’ needs and intent. Search data is not only a key input into content and advertising strategies, but also it provides valuable insight into the mindset of high-value audiences (HVAs).

As a result of technological innovation and shifts in user behavior, modern search marketing strategies must now consider a significantly broader set of platforms than ever before to effectively understand and market to target audiences and capture true search demand.

The following are just a few examples of the variable nature of users’ search engine consideration sets, and the platforms that should be on every search marketer’s radar.

Traditional search engines

Perhaps apart from Wikipedia loyalists, traditional search engines remain the dominant destination for users seeking information online.

Google announced a new technology in 2021 called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, which aims to more efficiently answer complex queries that may previously have required multiple searches. MUM is multimodal, which means it understands information across text and images, and in the future, can expand to video and audio.

This ability to index multiple content formats and provide dynamic, relevant search results pages is why traditional search engines will continue to be a catch-all destination for searchers.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo make up 95% of the worldwide desktop market share of search engines. Despite that global dominance, it’s important for search marketers to also consider other traditional search engines.

For example, the following search engines attract the largest share of searches within their primary region:

  • Baidu in China (66% market share).

  • Yandex in Russia (48% market share).

  • Naver in South Korea (56% market share).

Each of these engines requires a customized SEO strategy and paid advertising can be bought through the engines directly.


DuckDuckGo launched their search engine in 2008, which aims to protect users’ privacy by not tracking their search history.

DuckDuckGo has been steadily growing in use since its launch and now processes 3 billion searches per month. It had a 0.6% search engine market share worldwide and 2.52% search engine market share in the U.S. as of August 2021.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t require a custom SEO strategy, though you can set yourself up for success by following best practices for Bing SEO and claiming your local listings on Apple Maps, if applicable, based on the sources from which DuckDuckGo compiles its organic results. Paid search ads can be bought via Microsoft Advertising’s partner network.



PPC Consultant London, Google AdWords Consultant London, PPC Specialist London, AdWords Specialist London

Original artcle by Dan Toplitt on

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