The buzz around search engine marketing in Ireland was evident at a lively Search Marketing World conference held in Dublin yesterday, which coincided with the release of a new report on this market by E-consultancy.

Search in Ireland is still in its embryonic stages and tiny in comparison to markets such as the US and even the UK.

According to the Ireland Search Engine Marketing Report 2008 published this week, the market for paid search in Ireland was worth €34m in 2007, and will grow to €53m by the end of this year.

Despite Google’s European HQ residing in Dublin, there has been a paucity of information about search in this country which prompted E-consultancy to produce this Ireland-specific search report in association with ICAN and its research partners Cybercom, Interactive Return and RingJohn.

The number of delegates and calibre of speakers at the Dublin conference gives a great indication of the opportunities and excitement here, which many people compare to the UK market two to three years ago.

Big brands are starting to invest in digital marketing as the penny starts to drop for traditional marketers and broadband penetration begins to catch up. 

It was clear yesterday that some companies already have sophisticated digital strategies in place but there are many others which are still only starting to dip their toes into the water.  

The outlook is very promising. Caragh McKenna, head of search at ICAN, the main research sponsor, presented the report findings which showed that PPC and SEO will be the fastest-growing digital marketing channels in Ireland this year.

Zooming out from the specifics of the Ireland market, Search Engine Land‘s Chris Sherman had earlier kicked off the conference with a keynote which looked at the global landscape and trends in search.

Google’s dominance in Ireland is as absolute as almost anywhere (our research found), but Chris pointed out in his presentation that there are some substantial markets such as China, South Korea and Russia where Google is not sitting in the box seat.   

After raising a few eyebrows by describing social media as “a fad”, he also talked about the implications of Google’s Universal Search results, a subject close to E-consultancy’s heart at the moment.  

We are holding an event about Universal Search and the Emergence of Video next week (10 April), at which bigmouthmedia’s Andrew Girdwood will be speaking.