Marketers Continue to Outsource Search Tasks

It’s no secret that spending on online search marketing yields big results. And these results explain why 59% of all online marketing is currently spent on search. What does the future hold for the $15.393 billion industry?  Between now and 2014, Forrester Research predicts it  will “grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% to $32 billion by 2014.”

Forrester analysts see this growth rate taking place in both segments of search. In 2009, SEO (search engine optimization) spending was measured at $2.456 billion or 16% of the industry. SEO is the practice of enhancing a Web site or page with specific code and content to induce search engines to pick up the page and list it higher in the results of a search. Companies spend on either in-​house talent or consultants to provide this service. By 2014, SEO spending should reach $5.079 billion. Paid search spending was pegged at $12.937 billion in 2009 and may rise to $26.508 billion by 2014. Paid search campaigns involve the practice of selecting specific keywords associated with  a marketing campaign. When consumers search on these words, the results page shows the marketer’s site as a sponsor, and list position is based on how much was paid for the key words.

Forrester analysts believe that industry operators will use smarter, bigger search programs to remain competitive and produce better results for marketers. As  more sites begin online operations, marketers will also have more inventory to choose from and this environment may dilute search effectiveness. However, 85% of consumers search at least weekly from  their PCs. And, 11% search at least once via mobile phones in a 3‑month period.

How can a marketer stay up to date with the rapid changes in the search industry. According to the results of the Forrester Research study, they’ll take the following steps:

  • Outsource to full service agency: 27%
  • Outsource to specialist search marketing agency: 27%
  • In-​source using no or basic proprietary tools: 26%
  • In-​source using basic purchased tools: 11%
  • In-​source using advance purchasing tools: 10%

As search continues to grow, opportunities abound for marketers and for technology providers who excel at positioning results.

[Source: U.S. Interactive Marketing forecasts, Forrester Research, 2009] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.