A Reality Check for the Search Marketing Landscape

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), a nonprofit serving the search and digital marketing industry, released the results of its 2016 State of Search Report (its 11th annual edition).

The report addresses the evolving role of search marketing as part of an integrated marketing mix, and tackles some important topics for the industry including channel-specific activities, trends, investments and metrics.

SEMPO's findings suggest the continued increase of agency investment in Google for paid search as well as major differences between the challenges of agencies and marketers - from hiring talent to the adoption of content marketing.

Other highlights from the 2016 State of Search Report include:

  • Mobile usage is increasing; at 71 percent, it is the most significant emerging search trend.
  • Social media advertising is the fastest growing digital marketing segment, but search is still in the lead.
  • AdWords changes, at 41 percent, and content marketing integration, at 36 percent, are also key trends.
  • Marketers still outpace agencies in email marketing, but their usage dipped from 86 percent to 78 percent.
  • Google paid search is still number one with agencies, but Bing maintains a solid base.
  • Social ROI is the biggest challenge for agencies, at 47 percent, and marketers, at 51 percent.

"The SEMPO Research Committee's 2016 State of Search Report offers the industry both a reality check and a forward-looking perspective on a constantly changing landscape," said Marc Engelsman, VP Strategy & Analytics for Digital Brand Expressions and VP of Research for SEMPO.

"By surveying and segmenting results, marketers, agencies, and ecosystem suppliers are able to confirm and plan for many of the trends and challenges they're witnessing in the marketplace."