SEMPO: Google Dominates But Social Now Widely Used For PPC

Yesterday SEMPO and Econsultancy released the 2011 “State of Search Marketing Report” featuring attitudes and spending behaviors of 920 survey respondents (agencies, advertisers) from more than 60 countries. The full report is over 130 pages.

The report came out on the same day that the IAB released its full-year 2010 online ad revenue figures. Interestingly, there’s a $4 billion dollar discrepancy between the IAB paid-search figures ($12 billion) and the SEMPO estimate ($16.6 billion) for 2010. The SEMPO estimate is for “North America” while the IAB numbers are US only. The IAB estimated the whole of Canadian online advertising was worth $2.1 billion CAD in 2010, however.

Survey results throughout the report are analyzed in terms of the separate responses of search/ad agencies and advertisers (or “companies”), which have slightly different perceptions as well as spending patterns — although they’re consistent directionally with one another.

Here is a selection of the survey’s key findings:

Significant market trends:

  • Mobile: 79 percent saw the rise of the mobile internet as “highly significant” or “significant” and this percentage has jumped 14 percent since 2010.
  • Local: 43 percent of agencies say local search is “highly significant” and an additional 41 percent call it “significant”
  • Behavioral: 78 percent rated behavioral targeting “highly significant” or “significant,” up from 68 percent the previous year
  • 95 percent of respondents (advertisers/agencies) advertise on Google AdWords

Social marketing:

  • 84 percent of agencies say they use Facebook for marketing up from 73 percent last year; 74 percent of agencies say their clients run PPC campaigns on Facebook
  • 75 percent use Twitter to promote their companies or brands
  • 52 percent use LinkedIn for marketing, and more than a quarter (27 percent) of companies now use it for PPC
  • 52 percent of companies said social media has had a “moderate” (41%) or “huge” (11%) impact on their search-marketing activity in the last year vs. 80 percent of agencies
  • There has been a significant increase in the percentage of companies saying  social media is primarily aimed at improving customer service and satisfaction, from 8% in 2010 to 13% this year. Fewer companies than last year say social media is about generating leads (-4%), but 3% more agencies than in 2010 say this is the main objective

Outsourcing on the rise:

  • 44 percent of companies do SEO in-house, compared to 51 percent last year
  • 38 percent of companies are doing paid search in-house compared to 47 percent in 2010
  • 55 percent are doing social media marketing in-house, compared to 62 percent a year ago

Microsoft -Yahoo Search Alliance:

  • 22 percent of companies and 27 percent of agencies consider the impact to be positive; 8 percent have a negative view. The top perceived benefits: better ROI, cheaper PPC prices, more traffic volume
  • 43 percent said that the Microsoft -Yahoo Search Alliance doesn’t have an impact on their search marketing activity

Overall the survey is a great snapshot of the SEM industry and its major trends. These data are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg, so to speak.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Search Marketing: General | Search Marketing: Local Search Marketing | SEM Industry: General | SEM Industry: Outsourcing | SEM Industry: Stats


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Kevin Lee

    Difference between the SEMPO and IAB numbers are easily reconciled:
    Several things:
    1) IAB is advertising only, SEMPO is Search Advertising, + SEO + Tools and Technology + Keyword driven (Facebook, LinkedIn)
    2) Canada + Mexico

    Facebook alone adds a couple billion if you believe the WSJ. Then there’s LinkedIn. So you have all search ad revenues for Canada and Mexico PLUS SEO and the remainder of the search technology ecosystem as well as Social Media advertising for US, Mexico and Canada.

  • Greg Sterling

    Thanks Kevin for helping clarify the source of the gap.

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