Behavioral Targeting Tops List of ‘Exciting’ Search Trends

April 8, 2009

Advertisers and agencies in the US are increasingly willing to pay more for behavioral targeting and local search applications, and also are beginning to warm to initiatives in video and mobile search, according to data from the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO).

Additional findings from the 2008 State of the Market survey (pdf) of advertisers and agencies reveal that social media also continues to build market share with more than 40% of advertiser respondents saying they are using in-house marketers to actively promote their brand on social media. Of respondents using social media, Facebook is the application of choice, with more than four-fifths of advertisers using Facebook to promote their brand.
SEMPO previously reported that survey findings project 2009 SEM spending to rise to $14.7 billion, with long term spending to reach $26.1 billion in 2013.

“When you look at long term growth of the search marketing sector, it is evident new forces such as mobile advertising and contextual video ads will fuel increased online ad spend,” said Sara Holoubek, SEMPO president. “These forces are still in the early stages but clearly the consumer is embracing these new channels with enthusiasm.”

Key survey findings on major search trends:

Behavioral Targeting:? Respondents are overwhelmingly interested in behavioral targeting opportunities: 75% say they would pay more for clicks targeted to in-market consumers. There is also significant interest in demographic targeting such as age and gender.


Advertisers, on average, would pay 10% more for demographic targeting and daypart targeting, and 13% more for behavioral search targeting. Two in five advertisers said they are not currently targeting or retargeting searchers but plan to in the next 12 months.

Local Search: Almost a third of respondents have tried locally targeted search ads and are pleased with their performance. About a third (34%) have tried locally targeted search and say they worked “okay.”? More than three out of five marketers (62%) are willing to pay a premium of 1%-5% for local targeting, up from two in five advertisers last year.? Beyond that, one in five claim they’re willing to pay between 6%-10% premiums, dropping from one-third in 2007.

Google and Yahoo Dominate Local Search: Google AdWords Local Targeting has solidified its lead as the most popular local search advertising program, used by 80% of advertiser respondents.? Some 56% of advertisers report using Yahoo Search’s Local Match paid placement program.

Video Search: Some 54% of respondents say they would be interested in contextually targeted advertising attached to video search results. Two in five advertiser respondents claim they will pay the same for video search as they’re currently paying for traditional search. Among advertisers who report the willingness to pay more for video, most prefer to pay a 20% premium or less.

Mobile Search: Some 48% of respondents say they are interested in contextually targeted advertising delivered to mobile search users. Almost two in five advertiser respondents claim they want to pay the same for mobile search as they’re currently paying for traditional search. Among advertisers who report the willingness to pay a premium for mobile search, they show an unwillingness to pay more than a 30% premium.

Social Media: Among advertisers doing social media marketing, more than four out of five are using Facebook to promote their brand. Digg is the second most popular social media site, with more than two-thirds of advertisers using it., StumbleUpon, Reddit and Technorati round out the list of most popular sites to promote brands.

“Online advertisers are redefining the touchpoints which extend search and keyword targeting, all of which provide additional opportunities to reach the consumer,” said said Kevin Lee, SEMPO board member and chairman & CEO of Didit.? We know that consumers don’t look exclusively to search engines for information; while they are communicating they are also gathering information.”

About the survey: SEMPO’s online survey by Radar Research was completed by 890 search engine advertisers and SEM agencies and administered via IntelliSurvey, Inc.

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