Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, said at the Chirp conference recently that Twitter users carry out about 600 million searches per day. Twitter’s director of search Doug Cook added that the number of queries reaches the 750 million mark on certain days and he expects it to cross 1 billion fairly soon.
This means that Twitter’s 106 million users carry out on average 6 searches each day, which amounts to about 18 billion searches per month.
If these figures are to be believed, it means that Twitter is way ahead of Bing and Yahoo! who have 9.4 billion and 4.1 billion searches per month respectively. In fact, if these figures were true, Twitter would be second only to Google, which is of course far ahead at 88 billion searches per month.
The search volumes for Google, Yahoo! and Bing are reported by comScore and other respectable rating services. Twitter’s figures, on the other hand, have been reported by Twitter alone.
comScore has never included Twitter in its ranking of the top search properties. Danny Sullivan suggests that one reason for this could be that the actual number of searches happening through Twitter’s own website is much lower than the total search queries they process, as the majority are conducted through APIs, where third parties direct the search query to Twitter and are given the relevant information back.
According to Evan Williams, many Twitter queries are also generated through widgets which are inserted on web pages.
comScore and other ratings services do not take third party queries into account. The argument could also be made that comScore does not take into account queries conducted on third-party websites that use the Google Custom Search or the Yahoo! Search Box. While the former would make a significant differeence, the latter probably makes a negligible difference.
Searches generated through Twitter, on Google and Bing are not part of Twitter’s total search tally, as both Google and Bing pull in the Tweets and index them themselves and also store them in their own databases.