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There is a newer version of this report available: SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2013


The State of Search Marketing Report 2011, produced by Econsultancy in association with SEMPO, looks in-depth at how companies are using paid search, search engine optimization (natural search) and social media marketing.

The report, which also contains a marketplace valuation, follows a survey of over 900 respondents from both companies (client-side advertisers) and agencies, and is based on data from 66 different countries collected in February and March 2011.

The findings cover spending, current challenges, use of specific search engines and emerging trends across paid search, SEO and social media. The study, SEMPO's sixth annual State of Search Report, also contains year-on-year trends and breakouts of company and agency findings in each section.

The 133-page report includes the following sections:

  • Significance of different trends and technologies
  • Paid search, SEO and social media marketing (which types of marketing are companies and agencies engaging in?)
  • Objectives and metrics
  • Budgets
  • Search engines (including information specifically about Google, Bing and Yahoo) 
  • Social media and search marketing trends
  • Resourcing and outsourcing

Key findings include: 

  • The rise of the mobile internet is the trend which is regarded as having the most impact on search marketing, with more than three-quarters of companies (79%) deeming it as 'highly significant' or 'significant'.
  • The use of social networks for marketing continues to grow. The percentage of company respondents who say they use Facebook for marketing now stands at 84%, up from 73% last year.
  • More companies are outsourcing search and social media. Only 44% of companies are now carrying out search engine optimization in-house, compared to 51% last year. Only 55% are doing social media marketing in-house, compared to 62% a year ago.
  • Companies and agencies are increasingly using third party bid management technology for paid search marketing. Just under half of responding companies conducting search engine marketing rely on basic tools.
  • Google’s dominance as a search engine is clear from both advertiser and agency results, with the vast majority of companies (95%) paying to advertise on Google AdWords.

Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary and Highlights
  2. Introduction by Econsultancy
  3. Introduction by SEMPO
  4. About Econsultancy
  5. About SEMPO
  6. Methodology and Sample
    1. Methodology
    2. Respondent profiles
      1. Type of organization
  7. Findings
    1. Significance of different trends and technologies
    2. Paid search, SEO or social media?
      1. Type of marketing carried out by companies
      2. Services offered by agencies
    3. Objectives and metrics
      1. Objectives for search engine optimization
      2. Objectives for paid search
      3. Objectives for social media marketing
      4. Metrics for measuring search engine optimization
      5. Metrics for measuring paid search marketing
      6. Metrics for measuring social media marketing
    4. Budgets
      1. Budget for search engine optimization in 2010
      2. Proportion of SEO budget spent with agencies
      3. Change in budgets for search engine optimization
      4. Expected search engine optimization billings
      5. Budget for paid search in 2010
      6. Media spend for paid search
      7. Change in budgets for paid search
      8. Average change in SEM budgets
      9. Expected paid search billings
      10. Change in prices for paid search ads
      11. Geographical focus of paid search budgets
      12. Proportion paid to SEM service provider
      13. Budget for social media marketing in 2010
      14. Change in social media spend
      15. Expected social media billings
      16. Budget for paid search programs
      17. Budget for SEO programs
      18. Budget for social media programs
      19. Shift in budget
    5. Search engines
      1. Web properties used for PPC advertising
      2. Impact of Microsoft / Yahoo Search Alliance
      3. Change in Google’s performance
      4. Use of Google features to enhance performance
      5. Impact of search engine changes on performance
      6. Change in investment in search engines
      7. Paid search conversion rates
      8. Return on investment from search engines
    6. Social media and search marketing trends
      1. Use of social and search marketing activity
      2. Impact of social media on search marketing
      3. Use of social media sites
    7. Resourcing and outsourcing
      1. Employees with responsibility for search engine marketing
      2. Search engine optimization service provision
      3. Paid search marketing service provision
      4. Social media marketing service provision
      5. Use of technology for paid search
      6. Typical fee structure for search engine optimization
      7. Typical fee structure for paid search marketing
      8. Typical fee structure for social media marketing
      9. Challenges for managing search engine optimization
      10. Challenges for managing paid search marketing
      11. Challenges for managing social media marketing
  8. Appendix: Respondent Profiles
    1. Business sector
    2. Business focus
    3. Type of agency
    4. Geography
    5. Size of company by revenue
    6. Size of company by number of employees
    7. Size of agency by number of employees

Download a copy of the report to learn more.

A free sample is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.


  • Pdf SAMPLE: SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2011 (815 KB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2011 (4.51 MB PDF)

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