HomeBlogIs DuckDuckGo Legit? 5 Facts That Prove It Is

Is DuckDuckGo Legit? 5 Facts That Prove It Is

Author: Mark Irvine
Last Updated: January 30, 2024 | Marketing News & Insights

Nearly everything we do online is tracked. That may not be a secret, but it’s certainly an uncomfortable reality for most. In a 2020 study, 91% of respondents were concerned about the amount of data companies can collect about them. Today, we’re seeing legislation slowly catch up to these concerns, and Big Tech companies are rolling out new privacy solutions to minimize abuse and anonymize the data they collect from users. But consumers are still skeptical and frequently opting to find their own way to explore the web, privately.

This growing audience of privacy-minded searchers is increasingly abandoning Google for a search engine with this goal in mind, DuckDuckGo. So, is DuckDuckGo legit? If so, what do you need to know about it? We’re sharing all the answers.

Table of contents

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is an emerging search engine that should look and feel similar to what users should expect from Google or Microsoft (although they’ve been around since 2008!). From DuckDuckGo.com, searchers can find answers to their queries collected from countless sources, oftentimes indexed from their own crawler (DuckDuckBot.) More than just links—the DuckDuckGo SERP includes common features like maps, weather, local business information, images, videos, shopping—and even ads.

And just like Google and Microsoft, DuckDuckGo also offers its own web browsers for desktop and mobile devices and free personal email services. The suite of products from DuckDuckGo is very comparable to what most would expect from other major search networks.

screenshot of duckduckgo on mobile and desktop

The key differentiator that DuckDuckGo highlights in its suite is its high focus on its user’s privacy. Unlike Google and Microsoft’s search engines, browsers, and other products—DuckDuckGo does not create unique cookies, store your IP addresses, search and browsing history, or any other unique identifiers. DuckDuckGo has none of your personal information and therefore has never sold any personal information. DuckDuckGo is always encrypted, and privacy is its core value.

Most tech companies’ privacy policies are tombs of legalese. DuckDuckGo’s privacy policy opens simply and shortly: “We don’t track you. That’s our privacy policy in a nutshell.”

DuckDuckGo’s unique respect for its users’ privacy has earned it more praise and attention over the past few years and it’s quickly emerging as more than just a niche tertiary search engine into a more prominent alternative to Google. As DuckDuckGo’s user base grows, so does its opportunity for savvy marketers to reach a very unique audience that are ditching Google.

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5 DuckDuckGo statistics you need to know

To learn more about this new audience, I’ve collected several fascinating statistics from DuckDuckGo.

1. How many people use DuckDuckGo?

When looking into DuckDuckGo, your first question is probably how many people use it? How often are they searching?

Today, 3.1 billion searches occur on DuckDuckGo every month. DuckDuckGo has grown its audience to over 46 million users around the world. And although that may be just a small fraction when compared to Google’s impressive reach—many people who search on DuckDuckGo do so because they no longer trust Google with their data. 6.4 million users on DuckDuckGo can’t be reached on Google Search.

three duckduckgo statistics

2. Who uses DuckDuckGo?

Both Google and Bing see roughly a 50/50 split between male and female audiences. Interestingly—DuckDuckGo has a slight skew along gender lines, with nearly 60% of their traffic from males.

The age demographics of DuckDuckGo users are similar to that of Google and Bing’s, with a small promising growth in the younger 18-24 age range.

chart showing duckduckgo user demographics by gender

The income distribution of DuckDuckGo’s audience is really where it shines to most marketers. DuckDuckGo attracts a small but very affluent audience. The median income in the US is about $44,000, but more than 85% of DuckDuckGo’s users make above that average income—with over 60% of them making at least $100,000!

chart showing duckduckgo users by income

3. How do people search on DuckDuckGo?

Google prides itself on its “mobile-first” mantra—and for the better half of the last decade, mobile has made up most Google’s reach. Microsoft—and it’s personal computing dominance—has strongly cemented its own Bing search engine as a major player in the desktop search market. Privacy-focused DuckDuckGo users actively take their preferences across both devices. In the US, over 15 million searchers use DuckDuckGo on both desktop and mobile—with less than 5 million using the privacy-focused search engine on just one device.

chart showing duckduckgo unique users by device

Interestingly, these over 20 million mobile searchers help catapult DuckDuckGo to the #2 search engine on mobile in the USA. Still considerably behind Google’s massive mobile dominance, these 20 million users still make up a sizable population of the US market.

4. Where do people use DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is headquartered in Pennsylvania and for most of its history has been an emerging competitor in the US Search Market. But as Google has struggled to calm privacy concerns across the globe, it has been successful in taking market share from the search giant in several major international markets. Today, DuckDuckGo makes up about 1% of all mobile searches in the United Kingdom and Germany and 2% of mobile searches in the United States. Similarly, DuckDuckGo makes up about 2% of all desktop searches within the United Kingdom and Germany and about 3% within the US.

chart showing duckduckgo market share across us, germany and uk

Roughly 58% of all of DuckDuckGo’s searches come from the United States. DuckDuckGo’s major international markets are in Europe, Canada, and Australia—where it receives 22%, 3%, and 2% of its remaining traffic, respectively.

5. Are people using only DuckDuckGo to search?

The primary reason people start using DuckDuckGo is because they want the privacy that they can’t get from other search engines, browsers, and email services. DuckDuckGo isn’t the default search engine or browser on any device—searchers generally have to manually update their preferences to make the switch to DuckDuckGo. Given that active decision—most users don’t readily switch between the privacy-focused search engine and its traditional competitors. Three-quarters of DuckDuckGo searchers don’t use Google search at all and 69% don’t use Bing either.

This means that these searches on DuckDuckGo are a unique audience that you simply cannot reach if you’re simply just advertising on Google Ads.

chart showing duckduckgo reach

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How to advertise on DuckDuckGo

The growing DuckDuckGo audience of affluent, privacy-concerned searchers that can no longer be found on Google or Bing is a valuable one that marketers will want to reach. DuckDuckGo prominently displays paid search ads atop their SERP like other search engines, but it doesn’t have its own ad platform like Google or Bing. Instead, DuckDuckGo partners directly with Microsoft Advertising as an exclusive premium search partner.

To advertise on the DuckDuckGo SERP, first create a Microsoft Advertising account. Then, create a new search campaign or import your current Google Ads campaigns into Microsoft Advertising. Finally, when setting up your ad groups, be sure to select your ad distribution settings to show your ads across the entire Microsoft Advertising network.

screenshot showing how to enable advertising on duckduckgo

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Give it a go with DuckDuckGo?

While it’s not likely that users will flee Google for this newer search engine, it’s important to know the key players in the search engine game. This is especially true as advertisers and marketers look for ways to reach users no matter where they’re searching online, making DuckDuckGo a potential place for you to expand your audience and reach.

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Meet The Author

Mark Irvine

Mark is the Director of PPC at SearchLab Digital. Previously, Mark worked at WordStream and was named the Most Influential PPC Expert of the Year by both PPC and Microsoft.

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