This year, marketers are expected to spend about $14.38 billion on paid search which is a 19.8% increase over last year. And the Pay Per Click (PPC) part of search is changing as consumers shift the way they interact online. Analysts say that social, local and mobile are all growing more important in PPC search marketing campaigns and they will be far more visible next year.

Marketers report having the following PPC campaign objectives for the next 12 months:

  • More leads: 62%
  • Increased website traffic: 63%
  • High online sales revenue: 57%

PPC marketing is considered challenging by many merchants but they also agree that specific tactics such as isolating high targeted ad groups, split testing landing pages and displaying relevant ad copy for each group are well worth the cost. Currently, about 30% of traffic coming into a market’s website is driven by paid search efforts. The real challenge is about finding the right key words, those that generate conversion. In some cases, a merchant will purchase those words only during the busy season – a tactic that works well to immediately push traffic.

Search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, are all about taking a long time to build a web presence and gradually rise and stay near the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Marketers understand this and plan to continue using both PPC and SEO to bring in leads. The MarketingSherpa Search Marketing Benchmark Survey reveals that nearly half (45%) of merchants say that between 1/4th and 1/2th of leads can be traced to PPC and SEO.

In the coming year, companies will continue their PPC and SEO efforts as they build their local business presence with the following:

  • Phone number with listing 81%
  • Listing description optimized with target keywords 60%
  • Images in listing 48%
  • Custom details placed in listing 48%

MarketingSherpa analysts say that more merchants will be using Google Boost next year to improve their local search results. Mobile search will become another area of focus for marketers as well Currently, fewer than 20% of organizations have distinct ad campaigns or mobile specific key words and bids despite the fact that consumers search differently via a mobile device than they do with a desktop computer.

[Sources: 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report PPC Edition. MarketingSherpa.com. 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2011; Net US Online Search Revenues. Emarketer.com. June 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2011]