Most large brands now use search marketing. But what are marketers’ priorities when it comes to search? And what trends do they see on the horizon? 

At Kenshoo, we recently ran a survey with Marketing Week magazine that asked more than 300 marketers from a wide spectrum of industries about their views on search.

Here are some of the things we learned…

1. Mobile search is delivering benefits

Mobile is widely believed to be a key part of the research stage of the decision making process, if not always part of the final sales conversion. 

And 36% of marketers in the survey consider mobile optimised search effective at delivering return on investment, which means they believe it plays an important role in supporting and driving sales.

The importance of mobile is clear in our recently released Online Retail Christmas Shopping Season Report – Early Edition which showed that 15% of all paid search clicks for retailers are coming from tablets and 13% of all clicks are coming from phones.

2. Facebook is viewed as an important web property for search

Facebook is firmly on the radar for marketers when it comes to search. While it will probably not come as any great surprise to learn that nearly all (99%) of the sample said Google was the most important search engine for them, 38% said they consider Facebook important for search marketing.

Since its IPO, Facebook has certainly made overtures to marketers, adding Sponsored Results and real-time bidding in the form of Facebook Exchange

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated the social network is looking to become far more active and relevant in search going forward, so marketers will be watching this space closely and using tools to manage across both channels.

3. Yahoo! and Bing remain very much in the frame

Google’s dominance for paid search opportunities remains unmatched, but marketers are very much aware of the opportunities available through Bing and Yahoo!, where both use the same underlying Bing search technology.

We found that marketers view Bing (28%) and Yahoo! (23%) as important for their search marketing campaigns, despite the fact that Bing currently commands a relatively small but growing slice of the UK search market. Just 5%, according to Experian Hitwise figures in October 2012.

4. Facebook and Twitter influence search

Search and social have been coming closer together for several years, and it is widely accepted that there is a link between how often and who is sharing links to a web page on social networks and how that page is positioned in search engine ranking pages (SERPS).

The marketers in the poll said they believe Facebook (74%) and Twitter (70%) will have the strongest influence on organic search.   Google+ (37%) took fourth place behind LinkedIn (39%), but with the effort and resources that Google is placing behind its own social network, don’t be surprised if its influence increases during 2013.

You can download the report here: Search Marketing: What UK Marketers Really Think.