SEMPO: Paid search spending to grow 14% this year

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Wakefield, Mass.—Pay-per-click search marketing expenditures are expected to grow 14% this year, to $16.6 billion, up from the $14.6 billion in 2009, according to a new report from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.

SEMPO’s sixth annual “State of Search Engine Marketing Report,” based on an online survey of 1,471 marketers and agency executives in January and February, also found that 49% of companies are reallocating budgets away from print advertising and toward search.

While 97% of companies pay to advertise on the Google search network, a majority also report that Google keywords have become more expensive this year than last. Only about 30% said keywords have become more expensive on Microsoft Corp.’s Bing and Yahoo’s search engines.

The report found that measuring return on investment is the biggest challenge facing marketers this year in all three key search tactics covered in the survey: paid search, search-engine optimization (also called organic search) and social media marketing.

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