Should you be paying more attention to DuckDuckGo?


The Goliath in any industry will always have their version of David. Sometimes they may have more than one.  

Right now Google has their standard competitors and a recent upstart called DuckDuckGo.  

Just like Ello was to Facebook, DuckDuckGo will not retain or use consumer data. This has caused a lot of digital media outlets to cover this challenging newcomer.  

I applaud what they are trying to do. DuckDuckGo is filling a niche that in the world of the internet today solves a major issue consumer’s face… privacy.  

I took a look at some of our own client’s data points to see how this search engine was performing and provide my own point of view.


Our client base in 2015 has seen a 181% increase in referring traffic from DuckDuckGo. This compares to 30% growth in traffic coming from Google.  

While those are some impressive growth numbers, it is off a very small base and represents only 0.2% of total search engine traffic vs. 81% for Google.  



So we have a challenger with a growing (albeit small) base.  


DuckDuckGo has the third best conversion rate and lowest average order value.

Assuming equal volume across all engines and forecasted revenue from each engine (10,000 x AOV x conversion rate) Bing would be your top choice with Google and DuckDuckGo at a virtual tie.  

Does that make any of these search engines better or worse? Not necessarily. This data is only directional. We didn’t look at the ratio between paid and organic search traffic when considering these metrics. I can tell you that it is different for each specific client and sometimes by very wide margins.  




Here are two things I think all search marketers need to think about in relation to DuckDuckGo, or any time you are confronted with a newcomer:

1) Check into it for yourself

Before your clients ask, Bing powers these search listings so it’s likely that you are getting traffic without doing anything. Take this point not just about DuckDuckGo, but any number of ad tech or publisher opportunities. You can’t be too dismissive of new things.  I know you are getting cold calls and emails all day long, but there may be a needle in that haystack. Which one will it be for you? This is a hard one because you can’t let every shiny new thing take you away from your core business, but dedicating some time and budget to the latest platforms and tools is a worthy endeavor.

2) Educate your family, friends, clients and colleagues

I’ll save my point of view on data in advertising for another day, but in short I’m a big fan. Sure just like anything else there is a chance of something going wrong as it relates to privacy, but those same risks exist in many other parts of your life. Data provides us with a better experience. You are going to see an ad, so why not make it one that is relevant to you? 

DuckDuckGo has done a very smart business thing by taking a market concern and turning it into a solution. I just wish people were a little more open about their data as they are with sharing what they are eating on Facebook all day.

I admire the spirit of DuckDuckGo and the entrepreneurship behind it, so congrats to them for making a splash. Here’s to hoping this is a growth opportunity for all search marketers and that maybe this will not be an entirely ‘Google world’.


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