Outsell study: Fewer than half of marketers in publishing pay for search engine traffic

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New York—Despite the increasing clout of search engines in influencing purchasing decisions, 41% of senior publishing executives recently surveyed said their companies do not pay for search engine traffic at all, according to a recent study by market research and advisory firm Outsell.

Outsell shared its findings Wednesday at its BrainGain conference, which attracted 100 marketing, publishing and digital executives.

While the contents of the study are from a relatively small sample—27 senior executives—the results nevertheless indicate that search engine traffic is not a major priority for marketers.

According to Outsell, 30% of respondents pay less than $5,000 a month for search engine traffic; 4% pay between $5,000 and $10,000; 7% pay between $25,000 and $50,000; 15% pay between $50,000 and $100,000; and about 3% pay between $100,000 and $250,000. None of the respondents said they pay between $10,000 and $25,000 or more than $250,000 a month for search engine traffic.

Chuck Richard, VP-lead analyst at Outsell, said companies need to ramp up their investment in search.

“It’s the tyranny of the conference table,” he said, referring to efforts to hamper spending on search. “You don’t know everything about your users. You need to test and explore, because metrics give you the way to look over the shoulders of your users.”

—Matthew Schwartz

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