Sites that depend on digital media are at risk of alienating people who visit via search engines, because many webmaster assume they’re predominantly welcoming Windows users. That’s a reasonable assumption, since Windows has a 92.1 percent market share, but it’s surprisingly inaccurate and can easily lead to videos that won’t play, photos that can’t be seen, and other undesireable results.

New research from Chitika Insights found that Apple users search more often than those using Windows, Linux, Android or any other platform. While 36 percent of Internet traffic comes from search engines on average, Chitika said this rate goes up to 54 percent for iOS devices. Apple desktops and laptops follow iOS with a 48 percent rate of search traffic. Android devices also stay above the average search rate with 43 percent. On the other hand, Linux devices appear to have the lowest interest in search engines with only a 14 percent search rate. After Linux, Windows users are the second-least likely group to utilize search engines with 32 percent. (See chart below.)

Things get really strange when Chitika broke out local search, users looking for things like services or points of interest. Startlingly, it found that Linux tied with iOS in first place for local searches as a percentage of overall search engine traffic. That’s especially surprising since Linux is mostly used for enterprise operations and development, while iOS is almost entirely consumer mobile – and Mac desktop operating systems actually came in last. (See chart below)

Chitika doesn’t draw any conclusions from its findings, but anyone with a website obviously should make sure their media players and other features work for a broader than expected range of visitors.

Related links:

Chitika – Study: Search Traffic Pattern Investigation by Device Operating System

Chitika – official site

Photo by Flickr user DeaPeaJay, used under Creative Commons license