Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The STATE of Search Engine Marketing from SEMPO

Each year SEMPO conducts a survey of agencies, individuals and advertisers to trend and predict the future of the Search Engine Marketing industry. This survey, which now has 3 years of data under its belt, has 4 goals, to:

§1. Understand the size of the industry in order to help promote its growth
§2. Understand where marketer spending is going, among different recipients (search engine media companies, SEM agencies, in-house) and towards what types of SEM programs (paid placement, paid inclusion, organic SEO, SEM technology)
§3. Identify key industry trends
§4. Identify key industry issues SEMPO should address

These is the first of many blog posts on the significance of the data gleamed from the SEMPO survey results. For those that want view the highlights I have posted the executive summary in PowerPoint format and in Word. Feel free to view and share as long as you credit SEMPO.

First Highlight - Spending on Search Engine Marketing (Paid, organic and inclusion) increased 62% from 2005 to 2006. If you aren't maxing out your spend on SEM what are you doing? Everyone else seems to be figuring it out.

Second Highlight - Why is SEM a big part of advertisers' and agencies' strategic marketing plans? A majority say for BRANDING! I have long promoted search marketing for brand purposes. I say 'if you want to own the category, then you better own the top search results'. Do you want to be the #1 player in the used cars market? Then you better be above the fold in the paid and organic results on Page 1 of all 3 search engines.

"Branding and direct sales are the top objectives of paid placement programs. One shift from previous years is that direct sales is now as compelling an objective for SEM spending as brand awareness. Respondents could give multiple responses to their spending motivation and in 2006, direct sales was the top choice, at 58 percent, followed by brand awareness as the next most prevalent objective, at 57 percent."

I would like to take this moment in blog time to congratulate the SEMPO Board and Members on continuing the strong programs and expanding into new areas. In December 2002, I helped found the SEMPO industry association along with a few others who saw the need for raising SEM to the next level through education, industry reporting and communication amongst the members of our industry community. We made the decision to 'do' SEMPO in March 2003. The organization has fulfilled and continues to fulfill many of the goals set out in the early days like broad education - see SEMPO Institute. Well done gang! All my best to the new Board of Directors who will be announced shortly.

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