UK paid search marketers are placing a slightly higher emphasis this year on direct sales than on branding or lead generation, according to the E-consultancy-Neutralize "UK Search Engine Marketing Report."
In another survey, US marketers also said they are more focused on direct sales this year.
eMarketer estimates that search-related spending accounted for 50% of all UK online advertising spending in 2006, and 60% in 2007.
While the rate of growth in search-related spending is falling slightly as the market evolves, annual growth is still remarkable. eMarketer estimates that spending on search rose 57% between 2006 and 2007.
In 2007, E-consultancy predicted a rise of 58% in search engine marketing spending for the year in its "Search Engine Marketing: A Buyer's Guide," with total outlay on UK search engine marketing hitting £2.22 billion ($4.44 billion).
E-consultancy's prediction for 2007 search-related revenues was substantially higher than eMarketer’s £1.58 billion spending estimate. The nature and timing of the E-consultancy survey probably accounted for the difference.
E-consultancy interviewed senior executives from search engine marketing agencies (who were likely to feel very positive about the market’s growth and potential). But the survey took place before the cooling economic climate began to weigh on the minds of advertisers, marketers and consumers. Later in 2007 or in early 2008, interviewees might well have been less optimistic.
eMarketer projects that UK spending on search will top £2 billion ($3.8 billion) in 2008, and £3 billion ($5.2 billion) in 2012.
"In 2008, online spending will be buoyed by advertisers looking for cost-effective responses to the economic downturn," said Karin von Abrams, senior analyst at eMarketer.
"When the world’s financial markets hit a rocky patch, everyone feels the impact and advertisers get nervous," Ms. von Abrams said. "Because online channels are typically more accountable—and cheaper—than television, print and other traditional media, they can help advertisers to boost brand and market share even when money is tight."
Learn more about Europe's leading digital advertising market. Read eMarketer's UK Online Advertising: Reaching Maturity report.