Internet Marketing Trends – SEM Synergy Extras
In an industry that’s as keen on data as ours, there are always reports being released about the state of the trends of the surveys, if you know what I mean. Not to knock data or anything — I realize as well as the next blogger that attention to numbers is no passing fad. But sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with the figures. Sometimes more than one conclusion can be drawn from the same set of data. And more often than not, the data is different from one day to the next. Today on SEM Synergy, our weekly WebmasterRadio podcast, we tackled some online marketing trends — namely, those in search advertising, social network advertising and consumer behavior.
On the show we took a look at an Efficient Frontier report on search engine marketing performance over the last quarter. The conclusion was that, while ad spend was down, there had been a rise in return on investment. Bruce outlined his argument against the organization’s findings, and I’d encourage you to listen to the episode to get his thoughts on what he considers to be flawed logic.
Of course, search marketing firm Efficient Frontier was not alone in releasing a study over the last month. Here are a few more white paper reports that may be worth dissection and consideration.
Paid Search During the First Quarter
SearchIgnite, an SEO reporting solution, researched paid search performance in the first quarter. The following are the highlights of their findings:
- Overall, search ad spend was down two percent year over year. However, paid search spend made a significant rebound in March with an 11 percent increase over last year. In contrast, January recorded a 14 percent decline when compared to search ad spend last year.
- The average time between clicking on an ad and making a conversion grew more than 23 percent in the first quarter when compared to last year. The number of times a user clicked on an add also increased 28 percent year over year.
- The analysis concluded that consumers are still buying but are doing more research and comparison shopping before making a purchase. Meanwhile, advertisers are showing signs of cautious confidence in the paid search space.
SEMPO Annual State of Search Survey
The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization released its annual State of the Market Survey, reporting its findings for last year. A full report is available for SEMPO members and a summary report (pdf) is available for everyone else. The findings covered a range of topics, including behavioral targeting, local search, video search, mobile search and social media:
- Of those surveyed, 75 percent said they would pay more for clicks targeted to their specific market or within a certain demographic. They are also willing to pay more for demographic and behavioral targeting.
- Of marketers who are engaged in branding through social media channels, more than 80 percent use Facebook. More than two-thirds of the group report using Digg for brand marketing, followed by Delicious, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Technorati.
- More than 60 percent of marketers reported a willingness to pay more for local targeting, versus 40 percent last year. Mobile search and video search are gaining ground, with 48 percent expressing interest in contextually targeted mobile ads and 54 percent interested in contextually targeted video ads.
Consumer Behavior Report
Comparison shopping company PriceGrabber teamed with market research firm Market Reporter to survey U.S. consumers’ online shopping behavior (pdf). Generally, the study indicates that consumers are steadily increasing their shopping budgets and are spending more time online:
- Compared to last year, 94 percent of online shoppers are spending more or equal time comparing prices. 93 percent of online shoppers are spending more or equal time shopping. 67 percent of online shoppers are spending more or equal time looking for coupons. And 52 percent of online shoppers are spending more or equal time on social networks.
- Consumers are willing to buy big ticket items online, and online merchandising is a driving force. 30 percent of respondents would purchase electronics online, 20 percent would purchase home improvement items, and 12 percent would purchase kitchen items or indoor furniture.
- The number of consumers who cut their spending declined from 59 percent last October to 50 percent in March. However, the number of consumers who reported that they are trying to save money regardless of the economy rose from 25 percent in October to 27 percent last month.
Yes, that’s a lot of data to go through, but in short, consumers are spending more time online, shopping more than before, clicking on more ads than before and spending more time comparison shopping. Advertisers are increasing their ad spend after an early first quarter drop and are showing a willingness to move into the mobile, video and social advertising spaces.
And speaking of social, I’d like to thank my guest Tim Kendall, director of monetization at Facebook, for coming on the show to talk about Facebook Advertising and the opportunity of social network ads. With attitudes changing and trends moving fast, keep up with the numbers to stay ahead of the curve.