Findings from SEMPO State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization’s (SEMPO) annual State of the Search Engine Marketing Report was released today.  This year’s report is based on a global online survey of nearly 1,500 client-side marketers and agency respondents and was conducted by Econsultancy.  Not surprisingly, the hefty 111-page report highlights recent shifts in marketing spend from traditional offline channels to more efficient, effective and measurable online marketing and search marketing tactics, and identifies the biggest challenge facing marketers is the ability to measure ROI.  Detailed findings including visuals after the break…

According to the report, key findings of the survey included:

  • Social media coming into it’s own and now recognized as the biggest opportunity for search marketers this year.
    Comment: Totally agree, especially with the introduction of real-time search, social media elements on SERPs such as Twitter streams.
  • Migration to SEM is on! A staggering 49% of companies reallocating budgets from print, 36% shifting money away from direct mail, and 24% moving budgets from conferences and exhibitions to search engine marketing.
    Comment: Kind of goes against the initial finding that the biggest challenge is ROI.  Perhaps digging a bit deeper will reveal that marketers can find baseline ROI in their tactics, however more sophisticated blended attribution presents considerable challenge.
  • Google is still king. No kiddin’… 97% of companies fish where the fish are, paying to advertise on Google Adwords.  The vast majority pay to advertise on the search network (71%) and over half opt to keyword target Google’s content network (56%).
    Comment: Obviously, if you’re going to do any paid search, start with Google, but don’t forget that you may achieve lower cost per acquisition and lower cost per click through other engines such as Yahoo and Bing.  Also, the content network is a much friendlier place to play, Google has really cleaned it up in recent months.
  • Combined, 75% of company respondents thought personalization of search results present the biggest impact on marketplace developments, whereas agency respondents overwhelmingly considered the rise of local search to be the most significant emerging trend.
    Comment: An interesting dichotomy here. Client-side marketers labeling a potential challenge to search marketing and agencies fond of highly results-driven advertising tactics.

SEMPO’s State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010 can be purchased from Econsultancy, or available for free to members of SEMPO who responded to the survey.  That being said, I won’t spill all the juicy details of the report, but will include a few teasers from some of their findings:

The above graphs suggest more and more companies are taking their pay per click campaign management responsibilities in-house in 2010.  This is not surprising given the significantly lower barriers to entry for the top two players: Google and Bing.  Google specifically have made it much easier to bid on keywords through a multitude of options (such as CPA bidding), and include plenty of helpful options in their newly designed Adwords interface.

Social media spending will make huge gains this year, as predicted, as more and more companies start to participate in conversations regarding their products and services.  Not surprisingly, Econsultancy notes that social media marketing to be the biggest opportunity for search marketers in 2010.

Above: Pretty much par for the course here, with companies and agencies both in agreement regarding pay per click campaign ROI increases in Bing slightly nudging out Google.  I suspect the biggest wishlist item for PPC marketers the world over is greater traffic from Bing, as we all wait with baited breath for the day Yahoo flicks the switch to Bing SERPs.

Again, if you haven’t done so already, head on over to Econsultancy to purchase the report.

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