SMBs Need Most Help With Keyword Selection, Tracking

To promote its Search Manager service (powered by Clickable) American Express has released small business (SMB) survey data about search and social media marketing. The survey was conducted this month and was a collaboration between Amex and SEMPO. The qualifier was that these small business respondents did some sort of online marketing.

The sample size was 400. The definition of “small business” was not disclosed.

It’s no surprise that most SMBs need help with online marketing. Regarding search marketing in particular the biggest challenges discovered were “identifying the right keywords” and “tracking campaign effectiveness.” However 44 percent of survey respondents said they didn’t need any help.

Forty seven percent of respondents handle SEM themselves, while 22 percent had a full time employee handling paid search.

The majority (75 percent) of SMBs don’t use any SEM tools to help them manage campaigns.

The survey found the average online annual marketing spend (search + anything else) was $5,260.

Two years ago Microsoft released a similar study that found only a small number of SMBs were engaged with search marketing:

  • 59 percent of small businesses with Web sites don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90 percent have never even attempted it.
  • Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) feared keywords may become too expensive.
  • Eighty-one percent questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
  • One quarter of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
  • Twenty-one percent thought it would be too time-consuming.
  • Thirty-five percent felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

Compared to the two-year old Microsoft survey data, the Amex findings argue progress is being made in terms of paid-search adoption by US SMBs.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Google: Web Search | SEM Industry: General | SEM Industry: Stats | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior | Stats: Size

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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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