State of Search Marketing Report 2012

17 september 2012, 15:00

State of Search Marketing Report 2012

The State of Search Marketing Report 2012, produced by Econsultancy in association with SEMPO, looks in-depth at how companies are using paid search, search engine optimization (natural search) and social media marketing.

The report, which also contains a marketplace valuation, follows a survey of nearly 900 respondents from both companies (client-side advertisers) and agencies, collected in May and June of 2012.

The findings cover spending, current challenges, use of specific search engines and emerging trends across paid search, SEO and social media. The study, SEMPO's eighth annual State of Search Marketing Report, also contains year-on-year trends and breakouts of company and agency findings in each section.

The 72-page report includes the following sections:

Significance of different trends and technologies

Paid search, SEO and social media marketing (which types of marketing are companies and agencies engaging in?)

Objectives and metrics


Search engines (including information specifically about Google, Bing and Yahoo)

Social media and search marketing trends

Resourcing and outsourcing

Key findings include:

Changes to the Google algorithm affected a large percentage of marketers, or at least has them concerned. 87% call the updates of the last 12-18 months “significant or highly significant.” In most cases marketers feel the overall effect to be positive, but success in combating SEO spam sites has come at the expense of many legitimate brands.

The rise of the mobile internet is still keeping search marketers up at night, with 88% describing it as “significant or highly significant” up from 79% in 2011.

Integration and attribution – these two goals permeate this year's research. With paid search the largest part of many digital budgets, marketers want to understand its overall impact, its interactions with other marketing channels and its effect on the whole customer journey.

Other growing challenges include obtaining budget and hiring/recruiting talent. The first is an issue for PPC oriented marketers trying to keep pace in competitive sectors as well as those looking to improve on the technology and tools of search.

Some companies who experimented with Facebook PPC in 2010/2011 seem to be reevaluating. The 2012 survey shows a drop in those reporting they regularly mount PPC campaigns on the social giant, down from 74% to 56%. However, this doesn’t mean a drop in total spending, as those no longer using the service fall toward the SMB end of the spectrum. It’s to be expected that there will be continued volatility in usage of Facebook for PPC campaigns as the product evolves.

Digital continues to be a bright spot in marketing, and within it, SEM and social shine. A whopping 86% of respondents predict digital budget growth, up from 77% in 2011, with 37% calling that growth “significant.” Remarkably, only 4% predict a reduction in digital budgets.

Danny Oosterveer
Data-gedreven digital marketeer bij Datasexual

Data-gedreven digital marketeer. Resident bij Amdax en Woonduurzaam. Daarnaast vertel ik vaak als spreker over data-gedreven marketing. Auteur van het boek Data-bedreven marketing. Eén van de twee Groene Nerds.


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