It’s an understatement to say that we live in uncertain times, and that any data that can help us strategize, plan or even to some extent predict what’s ahead is worth its weight in… well, let’s just say this kind of information is invaluable. That makes the Marketing Sherpa 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide very timely for just about everyone involved in our industry. The Guide is packed with data, analysis, charts, graphs and all manner of other useful info.
This is the fifth annual Search Marketing Benchmark Guide that Marketing Sherpa has produced, but its unlike any of the others I’ve seen. It’s far more comprehensive and detailed, pulling together stats compiled by Marketing Sherpa as well as “best of” research from more than 50 respected research partners. The result is nearly 300 pages of no-fluff data, with 215 charts, tables and eyetracking heatmaps covering just about all aspects of search marketing.
The Guide has five major coverage areas:
Budgeting and search. Want to know which industries are the biggest spenders on search, or how marketers plan to allocate budgets for search vs. other types of marketing next year? Or how budgets will be allocated across different categories, such as B2B, local or mobile search? How about salary information, or percent of spend on SEO vs. PPC? It’s all here. If you face challenges justifying budgets to management or fees to your clients, the information in this section provides reliable benchmarks that you can use to bolster your case.
Tactics of search. Search marketing is becoming increasingly sophisticated and complex, with new tactics emerging all the time as marketers compete for searcher attention. This section offers a good overview of current cutting-edge tactics, including targeting by demographics or geography, the effectiveness of local and mobile search and others. There’s also a detailed look at the branding effects of search advertising that offers some of the best evidence I’ve seen yet that search ads can offer a brand lift—at least for certain types of businesses or products, and when it’s done properly.
Search providers explored. Stats, stats and more stats—not just about Google’s dominance, but how the other smaller players compare, and why it’s a good idea to consider targeting traffic via those other sources. This section also has useful stats on shopping comparison engines, and international search engines for search marketers looking to broaden their campaigns on a global basis.
Measuring and testing. I’m constantly surprised by the number of search marketers that don’t fully take advantage of the wealth of information that can be gleaned from their campaigns. Sure, most people look at rudimentary metrics and may tweak their campaigns slightly based on a quick scan of the data, but the most successful search marketers thoroughly analyze, test and test again, across a broad spectrum of metrics. This section looks at how analytics can be effectively applied to different aspects of a campaign, from keyword research all the way through measuring conversion rates over time.
Search benchmarks. As the Guide describes it: “All of the fundamental metrics of search marketing, fully updated and in one place, including costs per click, keyword prices, volume and conversion rates.” Enough said.
With a price of $397, the Marketing Sherpa 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide isn’t something you will pick up and take to the beach for some light reading. But if you’re wanting a comprehensive, authoritative overview of just about all aspects of the search marketing industry, you won’t find a better all-in-one source than this Guide.
Marketing Sherpa 2009 Search Marketing Benchmark Guide
Fifth edition ISBN: 9781932353839
Marketing Sherpa LLC, $397