Digital marketing budgets in search engine and social media marketing are continuing to rise despite challenging economic conditions, according to research released today.

The UK Search Engine Benchmark Report, published in association with NetBooster, has for the past five years shown that companies have continuously invested in the opportunities present in SEO, paid search and social media marketing.

According to the research, based on a survey of over 300 UK in-house marketers and over 200 agency employees, nearly two-thirds of companies (62%) plan to increase their social media spending within the next 12 months, with 57% increasing spending on SEO and almost half (49%) increasing spending on paid search.

Over a third of companies (38%) are spending in excess of £100,000 on paid search advertising each year, with 12% spending similarly in SEO.

The report also found that the three most commonly cited barriers to success in paid search were the strength of competition, keywords being too expensive, and a lack of budget, with over a third of companies citing these three challenges as some of their most significant issues.

The most commonly cited barrier to success in SEO was listed as a lack of resource, with 42% of companies stating that this was a problem. Such findings are in line with the trend towards higher cost-per-click rates and an increasing emphasis on the production of high quality, original content for SEO.

Commenting on the research, Edward Cowell, SEO Director at NetBooster said:

This year has been a period of the most rapid and interesting change we’ve seen in digital and search for a long time. I am delighted to say that the search sector is still evolving at pace, and the outlook for investment in search marketing remains positive.