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State of Search Marketing 2012 Report
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SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2012

New SEMPO Study Shows 2012 Trends in Search Marketing

This comprehensive 72 page report is available free to SEMPO members. Download your report now.

Key finding include increased importance of reputation, tactical use of social media, higher spending on paid search:

  • SEMPO and Econsultancy estimate that the North American search engine marketing industry will reach a value of nearly $23B by the end of 2012, having grown by nearly 19%, up from $19.3B in 2011. This is the second straight year when SEM has managed to increase its growth rate from the doldrums of 2009 when growth reached a low of 8%.

  • Survey responses show a drop in the blunt objective of driving traffic, but it remains a key goal for search engine optimization (SEO). Perhaps more interesting is the doubled number of agencies citing brand/reputation as a goal, up from 5% in 2011 to over 11% in this year's survey.
  • As with SEO, agencies evaluating their clients' goals for paid search noted a significant rise in seeing brand/reputation as their top objective. This appears to have come largely at the expense of "generating leads," which nonetheless remains the top goal. The researchers surmise that for some organizations, especially those with sophisticated attribution methods in place, using pay-per-click (PPC) as an "assisting" channel that builds and supports brand terms and ideas has a greater cumulative effect on lead generation than campaigns designed for immediate returns.
  • As other channels move slightly toward brand support as an objective, the use of social media is maturing away from being purely a mechanism for thought leadership and branding-related goals. According to the study, companies are wisely not expecting immediate revenue through this channel any more than they were in 2011; they are focusing more of their efforts on customer service/cost reduction and traffic generation.
  • SEO spending also remains healthy. The report details how much companies have spent on search engine optimization over the last three years: survey respondents have slowly but surely increased their budgets, and only 2% of respondents indicated that they spent no funds on search engine optimization at all.
  • Both clients and agencies expect robust growth in their PPC spending. Many of the largest PPC spenders are using in-house resources, and the top end of the spectrum shows the fastest growth: those projecting over $10 million in spending more than doubled, from 5% to 12% of the sample.

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