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.