Search Marketing Trends for 2011

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 19 Apr, 2011

Few Web professionals should be surprised by the 2011 forecast in SEMPO's recently released State of Search Marketing Report. If the words "social" and "mobile" are at the top of your business plan, pay close attention to the following.


If they are not, drop what you're doing and pay even closer attention.


With over 900 companies and agencies participating in the global online survey, the report estimates that the North American search marketing industry will grow by 16 percent in 2011 to a value of $19.3 billion, up from $16.6 billion in 2010.


Just under half of the respondents said they use Facebook for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns - 47 percent in North America and 45 percent outside the U.S. and Canada. The rising popularity of Facebook is even more apparent within agencies, as nearly 74 percent of North American agencies and 69 percent of those outside the U.S. and Canada said their clients use Facebook.


The rise of the mobile internet, however, is the trend that is having the most impact on search marketing. More than a third of the companies surveyed (40 percent) said that the growth of the mobile internet was "highly significant", an increase from 26 percent last year. An additional 39 percent said that mobile's growth was "significant" to their businesses.


Agencies are feeling the impact of the mobile internet even more strongly, with 47 percent of supply-side respondents describing its impact as highly significant.


Local search is the next most significant trend, with 43 percent of respondents saying it was highly significant. An additional 41 percent said that it is significant. According to agencies, 34 percent of client search budgets are spent on local PPC advertising at regional, city or sub-market levels.


Client-side advertisers are not yet affected as much as their agency counterparts by local search, the survey showed. Only 26 percent of respondents said that the impact of local search has been highly significant. Local, on average, represents 23 percent of client-side search budgets, which is significantly less than the agency average of 34 percent of client budgets.


The survey also indicated the growing importance of behavioral targeting, as the number of respondents that consider it highly significant or significant rose from 68 percent last year to 78 percent in 2011.


And for more on social, the percentage of companies using Facebook beyond PPC now stands at 84 percent, up from 73 percent last year. Three quarters of those surveyed use Twitter to promote their companies or brands, while 52 percent use LinkedIn.