State of Search Engine Marketing Report Says Industry to Grow from $14.6 Billion in 2009 to $16.6 Billion in 2010

Posted by Wordtracker on 30 Mar, 2010
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SEMPO State of Search Engine Marketing report 2010 on Wordtracker - the professional's keyword research tools

Report Finds Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) Top Challenge Facing Marketers, While Rise of Social Media Marketing Represents Biggest Opportunity This Year

WAKEFIELD, Mass, March 25, 2010 - The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) today announced the results of its sixth annual State of Search Engine Marketing Report. Based on a global online survey of nearly 1,500 client-side marketers and agency respondents conducted by Econsultancy, the report estimates that the North American search engine marketing industry will grow 14% from $14.6 billion in 2009 to $16.6 billion by the end of 2010.

The report finds that measuring the return on investment (ROI) is the biggest challenge facing marketers this year in all three key search tactics covered in the survey - search engine optimization, paid search, and social media marketing. Focus on ROI is highlighted in the report’s executive summary as supportive of the industry growth estimate, as well as rationale for the shift of marketing budgets from traditional media to the more efficient, effective and measurable use of search tactics.

Other key findings include:

  • The rise of social media marketing budgets, although still modest compared to search engine optimization and paid search, represents the biggest opportunity for search marketers this year.

  • Around half the companies (49%) are reallocating budgets to search engine marketing from print advertising. More than a third (36%) are shifting money away from direct mail, and almost a quarter are moving budgets from conferences and exhibitions (24%) and web display advertising.

  • The research highlights Google’s dominance as a search engine, with 97% of companies paying to advertise on Google AdWords. Nearly three quarters of companies (71%) pay to advertise on the Google search network while 56% use the Google content network (keyword targeted).

  • More than half of advertisers (56%) and agencies (62%) say that Google keywords have become more expensive over the last year. Meanwhile, only around a third of advertisers noted an increase in Yahoo (32%) and Bing (29%) keyword costs.

  • From a range of trends and marketplace developments, company respondents are most likely to say the personalization of search results is having an impact. Just under a third of companies (31%) say this is “highly significant,” and a further 44% say it is “significant.” Agency respondents felt the “rise of local search” was the most significant emerging trend with 38% saying this was “highly significant” with 47% labeling it as “significant.”

Sara Holoubek, outgoing SEMPO President for 2009-2010, said, “Difficult market conditions caused by the recession resulted in a relatively slow year for the industry in 2009, which was improved by a significant upturn in the fourth quarter. This momentum has continued into 2010, and we are expecting a return to double-digit percentage market growth in 2010.”

Marc Engelsman, a member of SEMPO Research Committee, said, “While measuring ROI seems to be an obvious reflection of today’s economic environment, it is important to note as it will likely continue to drive budget decisions. This bodes well for the continued growth of the search industry as evidenced by the projected increased investment in search tactics.”

Linus Gregoriadis, Econsultancy research director, noted, “New to the report are more in-depth looks at social media marketing as a complement tactic to search optimization and paid search marketing programs. While spending is still modest, many do look forward to increasing investment in social media efforts this year.”

The report is based on an online survey, which took place in January and February 2010. SEMPO and Econsultancy promoted the survey to their respective members, offering a complimentary copy of this report as an incentive for participating. 1,471 respondents took part in the survey, including 527 advertisers and 944 supply-side respondents carrying out search engine marketing on behalf of clients (including agencies or consultants).

SEMPO’s State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010 can be purchased at SEMPO will make free copies available to its members and those who responded to the survey.


SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing. Representing thousands in 40 countries, SEMPO has more than 800 members. It represents the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO's education and outreach initiatives are funded in part by Yahoo!, Google, SMX, Search Engine Strategies, DoubleClick, Baidu, and MediaPost. For more information or to join the organization, visit

Contacts: Sara Holoubek for

James O’Donnell for SEO-PR

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