SEMPO is pleased to release our 9th Annual State of Search Report. For an industry that is constantly evolving, this report remains a critical touchstone for digital marketers looking to assess where they stand today and where they should be looking to succeed tomorrow. Plus, our unique approach of surveying and segmenting results for both companies and agencies provides perspectives and insights not easily found in other reports.
The 2014 State of Search Report is no different in this regard but we did make some significant changes in the survey approach to be able to capture today’s reality of search marketing’s integration into the overall digital marketing mix. Here are some of the key elements that we implemented to further enhance our ability to provide meaningful and relevant data:
- The survey was shortened to be more strategically oriented – focusing more on objectives, metrics, and ROI and less on resources and tactics. This appears to have produced the desired result as 70% of our company respondents either manage or contribute to strategy, budgets, and direction of marketing.
- We added social media marketing questions to the survey several years ago as it was becoming clear that search engines were evolving their algorithms to include social signals. This year we added more digital channels, including mobile, email, and display. The results illustrate the degree to which content marketing integration is still more of a strategic concept than tactical reality – somewhat more particularly with companies. We think you will also find it interesting to compare key objectives, metrics, challenges with emerging trends, and ROI perceptions between channels as well as between companies and agencies.
- Budget questions were included as in the past but this time we drilled down a little deeper to understand allocation/aggregation between digital channels as well as flexibility to alter spends based on more real-time ROI assessment.
- There are also a few new questions around how much time digital marketers are investing in learning/researching the latest trends and how experimental they are in testing new techniques/technologies by channel. We were a little surprised to see that both companies and agencies are less experimental with search engine optimization than all the other channels except email. Another sign of the maturation of SEO or more of a reflection of last year’s developments regarding Google’s algorithm and analytics “enhancements?”
SEMPO members can access the complete report here. We look forward to your comments and the ongoing conversation around the report as we dig deeper into the findings and surface more observations.
Finally, sincere thanks to our members and sponsors for their participation and support of this survey and for their continued commitment to advancing search marketing best practices as part of today’s integrated digital marketing mix.