Marketers turn to mobile & local web searches
Companies are ramping up their investment in local and mobile search as part of an increased commitment to search engine marketing, according to a survey-based report published by EConsultancy and Guava.
The proportion of client-side marketers who say their companies are involved with mobile search has doubled from 8% last year to 16% this year, while a further 45% are planning to invest in mobile search.
A third of agencies (34%) say their clients are typically involved with mobile search, a significant increase from 22% last year.
The 'UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2011' was based on a survey of more than 600 client-side advertisers and agencies. The study found that just under a third of companies (30%) carry out local search, up from 27% last year, while a further 21% are planning to do so.
Agencies report more widespread usage of local search than client-side respondents, with 62% of supply-side respondents saying their clients target by locality. This is a 2% increase from 60% in 2010.
According to Guava's SEO director, Teddie Cowell, "Local search offers good opportunities for search engines to improve relevance and for advertisers to better target audiences. Our own internal statistics have also shown particularly rapid growth in mobile and alternative devices since Christmas 2010, so I'm not surprised the number of companies involved with mobile has doubled."
But while mobile and local search recorded significant growth over the previous 12 months, traditional SEO budgets remained buoyant, and the level of buy-in for search within companies has also improved. In fact, 14% of the companies surveyed now spend more than £100,000 on SEO annually, and 3% spend more than £1 million.
Respondents were also asked whether they had increased their pay-per-click (PPC) investment in a range of search engines and web properties over the past year. Two thirds of advertisers (67%) have increased their budget for Google, compared to only 12% who have decreased their investment in this search engine.
Increased investment in Google has come despite the fact that 59% of companies and 79% of agencies report that Google keyword prices have gone up in the last year. The majority of client-side marketers said that, over the last year, their companies have also increased their PPC investment in Facebook (65%), LinkedIn (62%) and YouTube (55%).
"Pay-per-click advertising is increasingly about platforms other than Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Marketers are seeking to adopt an integrated approach to their PPC campaigns across traditional search engines and social media sites," said Econsultancy research director, Linus Gregoriadis.
The study found that, on average, 22% of marketing budgets are spent on search engine marketing. More than half of client-side marketers say they expect budgets for both SEO (59%) and paid search (53%) to increase in the next year. The equivalent figures for the 2010 survey were 60% for SEO and 52% for paid search.
The proportion of companies planning increases in social media investment jumped significantly in 2010 (compared to 2009) but has fallen slightly this year. Some 63% of companies say they plan to increase social media budgets in 2011, compared to 65% in 2010 and 48% in 2009.
Some 88% of agency respondents said they expect their clients to increase budgets for social media over the coming year, compared to 62% who expect increased budgets for SEO. Just over a third (37%) of agencies said they expect increased paid search spending by clients.
Local search accounts for around a fifth of paid search budgets According to client-side marketers, 17% of paid search budget is spent on locally targeted paid search. Agency respondents say that on average 22% of client paid search budgets are spent on local search activity.
And, despite the growth of mobile, only 2% of client-side paid search budget is spent on mobile search, while supply-side respondents say the average for their clients is 5%.
More companies are integrating search and display 46% of companies say there is some integration of paid search and display advertising, while 9% say there is full integration. Some 45% say there is no integration. And just over half of advertisers (53%) say they re-target search prospects with display ads. Just under two thirds (64%) of supply-side respondents say their clients do this.
Companies are more likely to outsource search marketing than social media activity. Two thirds of companies surveyed (67%) carry out social media marketing exclusively in-house, compared to 42% for paid search and 52% for SEO.
Twitter and Facebook still the most popular social media sites for marketing Aside from PPC spending, marketers were asked more broadly which social media sites they are utilising as part of their social media strategy. Twitter (82%) and Facebook (80%) are the most widely used, up by 1% and 2% respectively since 2010. The percentage of companies using these social channels for marketing has now hit a plateau, after steep growth witnessed in previous surveys.
YouTube (53%) and LinkedIn (50%) are also widely used as part of marketing strategies. Use of YouTube has climbed by 9% since 2010.
The full report has been made available for purchase and download from EConsultancy's web site - click here.