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12th Annual SEMPO State of Search Results Released

12th Annual SEMPO State of Search Results Released

SEMPO has released the results of its 12th annual State of Search marketing survey, with industry insights for both marketers and agencies.

Findings from the survey reveal that marketers appear to be moving more in-house; particularly with organic search and organic social channels.

Agencies, on the other hand, are shifting more to paid search and paid social channels.

Marketers continue to face challenges when it comes to ROI, attribution, and integration.

The greatest challenges faced by agencies involve hiring and retaining talent, proving value to clients, and differentiating themselves from competitors.

Key initiatives for 2018, for both marketers and agencies, are attribution, measurement, and video. Agencies are also focused on staying ahead of voice search and Amazon.

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Here is a summary of more top findings from the survey, broken down by marketers and agencies.

Key Findings for Marketers

  • Marketers are shifting emphasis to in-house paid channels.
  • Paid social is on the rise.
  • Email marketing has dipped.
  • Most marketers manage all digital channels in-house, very few outsource.
  • Marketers are finding it significantly more challenging to measure ROI for organic search, paid search, and paid social.
  • Marketers are finding it less challenging to measure ROI for organic social media marketing.
  • Generating content for social media has become more challenging for marketers.
  • Marketers are finding it more challenging to measure ROI for email marketing.

Key Findings for Agencies

  • Agencies are less focused on organic search and social media marketing, shifting more to paid channels.
  • Amazon is emerging as a “search engine” investment for agencies.
  • The top social channels that clients are investing in include Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • B2B paid social favors LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • B2C paid social favors Instagram.
  • Agencies are finding it more challenging to measure ROI for display advertising.
  • Agencies are finding it less challenging to measure ROI for SEO.
  • Agencies are finding it less challenging to measure ROI for paid social.
  • Agencies are much more focused on voice search compared to marketers.
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Results are based on an online survey of almost 300 respondents from client-side marketers/advertisers, agency/consultants, and eco-system suppliers.

Full results of the survey can be accessed for free after signing up for a SEMPO membership.


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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