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When the SEMPO study premiered in 2004,SEM was valued at $4.1 billion. Since then, the industry has enjoyed consistent, often double digit growth, bringing its total value to $16.6 billion in 2010.  Now, in the State of Search Marketing Report, SEMPO and Econsultancy predict the industry to grow by 16% in 2011--bringing total value to $19.3 billion.  That growth is just one of the top line findings of the report.

Search Nears $20 Billion

Spending on both PPC and SEO expected to rise.  More than half of client-side respondents (54%) anticipate spending more on SEO this year.  And, on average, respondents expect to increase their SEO spend by 43%, which would move total SEO spending close to the $3 billion mark.  Companies are also expecting to spend 31% more on PPC, and while that is less than last year’s expected increase (37%), the overall trend is still upward. 

Important Trends in Search
It’s the year of mobile, in SEM at least.  More than 79% of respondents deem the rise of the mobile internet as ‘highly significant’ or ‘significant’, representing a 14 point jump from last year’s survey.

Local search share has grown to over one third of budgets. Forty-three percent of agencies say the growth of local search is a ‘highly significant trend,’ and a further 41% say it is ‘significant.’  Agencies are also reporting that 34% of their clients’ paid search budget is spent on local PPC advertising, compared to 54% for national and 12% for international PPC.

The use of social networks for marketing is growing at a pace that almost matches the hype.  The percentage of company respondents who say they use Facebook for marketing now stands at 84%, up from 73% last year.  Three-quarters (74%) of North American agencies say their clients run PPC campaigns on Facebook.  Three quarters of companies (75%) use Twitter to promote their companies or brand.

Cleo Kirkland

Published 21 April, 2011 by Cleo Kirkland

Cleo Kirkland is a digital strategist at Blue Fountain Media and a contributor to Econsultancy

7 more posts from this author

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Nick Stamoulis

It's amazing how much the search industry has grown in the last few years. It just goes to show you that more and more companies are realizing that SEO and SEM are important parts of their overall online marketing strategy. Mobile search is just the newest component to be utilized.

over 5 years ago

Matthias Zeitler

Matthias Zeitler, CEO at MarkTheGlobe, Inc.

Could it be that Figure 35 on page 41 is wrong?

I am trying to figure out budget sizes, but when I add the number I get to more than 100% for the different company sizes.

Is it me or the chart?

over 5 years ago

Cleo Kirkland

Cleo Kirkland, Digital Strategist at Blue Fountain Media

Matthias- I see what you're saying. I would guess the difference is caused by rounding. In order to fit on the graph, I think they rounded all the percentages to the nearest whole number (i.e. 5.2% and 5.3% both get rounded down to 5%). Given that the difference is only by 1 percentage point in each case this occurs, it seems to make sense. I'll look into it, though.

Nick- Agreed. The industry has grown a lot in a relatively short period of time. And, judging from the response of this year's participants, mobile search does look like a strong trend.

over 5 years ago

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PK Search

These are very impressive numbers indeed.It would be very interesting to have some kind of figure to compare how important search engine marketing and organic traffic generation are. What I mean is: How much advantage SEM really provides, relatively to organic growth, is there any way to compare?

over 5 years ago

Matthias Zeitler

Matthias Zeitler, CEO at MarkTheGlobe, Inc.

Cleo, thank you for looking into that.

Overall it is a great report, so please excuse me being so focused on this single chart, but I have been looking for exactly that information for a while.

I don't think this is about rounding.

e.g. when you look at the $500,000 to $1 million category you see that 100% is companies with more than $1 billion in revenues. I think this means that all respondents that have this budget size are from the $1 billion and up company size.

However it would be more interesting to know: What are the budget sizes for each company size.

Is there a way that you could provide the raw data for that chart which has the number of respondents instead of percentages? Then I could just rearrange the data to understand SEO budget best practices by company size.

Or perhaps you could do a follow up blog post to talk about that?

over 5 years ago

Matthias Zeitler

Matthias Zeitler, CEO at MarkTheGlobe, Inc.

Got the data via email. Thank you!

over 5 years ago

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