There’s no denying that search engine marketing is growing and expanding at a rate that has traditional advertising mediums in a spin. After a recent trip to Ad-Tech in Sydney, the search buzz was obvious everywhere and a new “State of Search Engine Marketing 2006″ report released by Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO) confirms the extent of the growth.
According to the report, advertisers in the US spent US$9.4 billion on search engine marketing in 2006 which represents a remarkable 63 per cent increase from 2005, and far exceeds industry predictions of US7.2 billion.
Adjusted predictions now suggest that the spend will increase to US$18.6 billion by 2011 based on increased renewed adoption by small to medium sized businesses, higher demand from advertisers and rising prices in costs per click as pay-per-click advertising continues to increase in popularity.
Of the 2006 search engine marketing (SEM) spend; 86% was comprised of paid search, while search engine optimization which focuses on success in the organic search results comprised 11%. The balance was made up of search technology and infrastructure investment and other search marketing strategies such as paid inclusion programs.
Interestingly, search strategy adoption doesn’t relate to the relevant spends with more than 76 per cent of companies surveyed undertaking search engine optimization on some level while only 71 per cent engaging in paid search strategies.
One of the key takeaways of this year’s report was that direct response search engine strategies had overtaken branding initiatives. At the end of 2005, branding was all the buzz and was the major reason behind most companies search marketing. It appears now that measurable results have become more important as marketers embrace the ROI accountability that search marketing offers over other mediums.
While much of this information simply reaffirms what many of us have known for years, for those of you who have had doubts, understand that search engine marketing has truely reached the tipping point (point of mass appeal). Now you’re simply missing a golden marketing opportunity and essential promotional direction!