State of UK Search: Guava and Econsultancy Launch 4th Annual Report

State of UK Search: Guava and Econsultancy Launch 4th Annual Report

4th June 2010

Yesterday afternoon was a hot one in the city. I was making my way through Soho Square towards the Groucho Club, for the launch of the fourth annual Search Marketing Report and I was pleased to see that Soho Square was packed with media types catching the afternoon sun and chucking back champagne. When I say pleased; I really mean jealous, (don’t you people have work to do?) but I took this as a good sign that perhaps things are really bouncing back for digital media.

I got to The Groucho (quick celeb check… Lenny Henry, Ross Kemp, Danny Dyer) and was greeted by our Econsultancy hosts; Senior Analyst, Jake Hird, Research Director, Linus Gregoriadis and a very nice Guava Champagne cocktail from the sponsors (nice touch Guava!) We chatted about the report and the general state of the industry (consensus – search up, display down), as the room filled up and the cocktails went down. Guava’s Martin Dinham began to round us up, so we took our places. Now in it’s fourth year this report, (from over five hundred respondants), is rather extensive and now includes social media; so I’ll highlight a couple of points that stood out for me.

Use of Paid Search Services

  • Use of all complimentary paid search services (keyword research, 3rd party analytics, competitor research etc.) up on 2009
  • Keyword research services the most commonly used
  • Competitor research services the biggest mover, up 11% on 2009

Use of SEO Services

  • Again, use of all services up on 2009 (my Soho Square barometer proven right, thus far)
  • Keyword research again, the most commonly used
  • Although a 7% growth on 2009, Social Media Consultation Services at the bottom of the table, was a bit of a surprise to me

Involvement in Different Areas of Search

  • 59% of companies are now involved in social media marketing, which was a huge 25% increase on 2009, and the top of the table
  • Bizarrely, no move for local search on 2009, at 27%
  • Vertical search involvement decreased 6% on 2009 (my guess – nice in theory, but where’s the volume?)

Market Outlook

Significant jump, from 55% to 60% in the number of companies planning to increase SEO spend this year. Paid search outlook also positive, with a 7% jump to 52% planning to increase their budgets.

(I am going to suggest that Jake include a media-type-per-square-metre density-count in Soho Square for next year. I’m sure there’s something in this.)

Biggest Area of Growth

Social media, (of course) is this years biggest growth area, with two thirds (65%) of companies planning to increase spend this year. Interestingly 15% are planning to increase their spend by more than 100%!

Technology & Analytics

  • Less than half (45%) of companies active in paid search employ a third party bid-management tool
  • Majority of 59% say their paid search analytics attributes 100% of value to last click (still?)

Search Engines and Social Media Sites

  • Positive news for Bing as they made 4% headway on 2009 to 34% of companies using their paid search services
  • Yahoo! continues to decline
  • Google lost 2% year on year
  • Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Youtube lead the top of the social table
  • Myspace appears to be dying a death at 9%, which is a 10% drop on 2009

Barriers to participation

  • In both paid and natural search and social media, “lack of internal resource” was cited as the number one barrier
  • Surprisingly, “measuring success” was cited by 43% of companies as a barrier to social media participation and was the second highest entry, (which tends to suggest to me that many companies are still failing to understand social media, and set suitable performance objectives on which to measure against)

Overall, I found it extremely encouraging that the report shows very clear indications of growth in the industry, and indications that search and particularly social media, is gaining in credibility and accountability for marketers. It is also interesting to note this occurs whilst there are still gaps in knowledge, resource assignation and performance monitoring awareness.

(I know what I’m going to be writing about for the next six months of course.)

A full copy of the Guava/Econsultancy Search Industry Benchmarking Report 2010 is available from Econsultancy


Written By
Nichola Stott is owner and co-founder of theMediaFlow; online revenue optimisation and audience services (including SEO, SEM and SMM). Prior to founding theMediaFlow, Nichola spent four years at Yahoo! as head of UK commercial search partners.
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