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Another startup with a silly name? Sounds like something I’d like to get my teeth into.
For the uninitiated among you (where have you been?), DuckDuckGo (DDG) is a private search engine that has seen exponential growth since its inception a few years ago.
So why should you care?
Because an increasing chunk of your target audience may well be heading to DDG in the coming years.
Don’t believe me? Rand Fishkin of Moz fame said it will be "the fastest growing search engine of 2016."
If you’re still not convinced, here are some enlightening stats about DDG that might make you pay attention.
1) It averages 10m queries a day
According to its own traffic stats, DDG averages around 10m queries a day.
This might not be up there with the likes of Google, but it means DDG is definitely a significant player in the search market.
2) 12m queries in a single day last December
While average search queries are at 10m, DDG managed a 12m-query day back in December.
3) 350m queries last month
DDG achieved an impressive 350m search queries for December 2015.
4) 3.41bn queries last year
For the whole of 2015, DDG achieved 3.41bn search queries.
Again, this might not seem much next to Google, but for a relatively young search engine it’s pretty significant.
5) 73% growth in 2015
Part of the reason these numbers are so significant is the pace at which DDG is growing.
The 3.41bn 2015 number was up from 1.97bn in 2014 – a 73% YoY increase in search queries.
6) 22% increase in traffic from January to December 2015
Over the course of 2015, DDG’s monthly traffic grew by 22%.
In December the site had 108m visits.
7) Tech fans love it
DDG users show a strong affinity toward tech news sites, according to a report by SimilarWeb.
Comparatively, Bing users show affinity to typical websites you would expect of average internet browser (Reddit, Amazon, Google, etc).
8) Average bounce rate is 31%
The average bounce rate for DDG users is 31%, according to the same SimilarWeb report.
This is significantly better than Bing users’ average bounce rate of 43%.
9) Average time on site is 9.5 minutes
DDG users spend an average of 9.5 minutes on sites they visit through the search engine.
By contrast, Bing users spend an average of just 7.5 minutes on each site.
10) It offers people what Google can’t (and won’t): true privacy
This infographic from Tech.co and Optilocal has a pretty good run-down of the privacy differences between DDG and Google, along with a load of other interesting facts and stats.
Click to see the full version
11) It does other things that Google can’t
But privacy is just one feature DDG has over Google.
DDG also offers functions such as the ability to view someone’s social media profile without leaving the search engine, the ability to easily expand shortened links or check whether websites are down, and there’s even a password generator.
These little UX tweaks could be key to DDG attracting an increasing number of users away from Google, not just relying on the privacy issue but actually providing an even better user experience.
12) It’s the default search engine in the new Adblock Browser for mobile
Ad blockers are here to stay. Let’s not kid ourselves about that. And there’s the old saying: ‘if you can’t beat them, join them.’
If DDG is the default search engine for arguably the most popular ad blocking app of them all, brands should take that very seriously.
Failure to optimise for DDG on mobile could lead to brands missing out on an increasingly large mobile ad blocking audience.
13) It has signed the Acceptable Ads Manifesto
This one is less about ad blocking but more about a clear commitment to creating a user experience that benefits people rather than brands.
The Acceptable Ads Manifesto was created by Adblock Plus as a way to encourage brands to stop ruining the online user experience with crappy ads like the ones in the screenshot below.
Here are the key points of the manifesto:
It might be a PR move - in fact it almost certainly is – but it also suggests DDG is taking UX seriously and this can only have a positive impact on people wanting to use it.
14) It makes money without tracking people
In short: DDG is not going anywhere. It isn’t just a political flash in the pan. It is a profitable business.
In an ask-me-anything session on YCombinator’s Hacker News site last year, founder and CEO Gabriell Weinberg said:
DuckDuckGo is actually profitable. It is a myth you need to track people to make money in Web search.
Most of the money is still made without tracking people by showing you ads based on your keyword, i.e. type in car and get a car ad. These ads are lucrative because people have buying intent.
All that tracking is for the rest of the Internet without this search intent, and that’s why you’re tracked across the Internet with those same ads.
I will be writing a post about how to optimise for DDG in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled!