The majority of UK companies are missing out on marketing opportunities presented by Google+, with only a third of companies (33%) having set up a brand page and over half (56%) having done nothing to adapt their search marketing efforts, according to research by Econsultancy. And, companies make a mistake by seeing Google+ as a rival or alternative to Facebook: They simply do not present the same value proposition.
A survey of UK marketers found that almost two-thirds (68%) of companies have no idea how Google+ (which launched last year) affects their search marketing efforts, and only 10% are measuring its impact on their search engine visibility.
However, companies do recognise that Google+ will play an increasingly important role in search marketing, with 44% planning to harness the service for their business in the future. Econsultancy’s sixth annual “UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2012,” published in association with NetBooster, is based on a survey of more than 500 in-house and agency marketers.
Andrew Warren-Payne, Research Analyst at Econsultancy, said: “Google+ results now feature heavily on the search engine results page. With Google making significant moves in this area, companies should look to incorporate Google+ as part of their social and content marketing strategy. Those that do not are likely to miss a significant opportunity.”
Edward Cowell, SEO Director at NetBooster, added: “As we go ahead, rather than comparing Google+ to Facebook we should see it and the tools it offers as an extension to search marketing.”
Room For Social Growth
Despite 76% of companies stating they are involved with social media marketing, three quarters (75%) spend ?10,000 ($15,6700) or less on social media marketing per year, with 64% allocating none of their social media budget to media spend such as advertising on Facebook.
Despite this low level of spend, more companies have seen increases in referred traffic from social media (79%) than from organic search (64%) or paid search activity (48%). This low level of spending indicates that there is significant room for growth in social media marketing.
The same survey has found that the new Microsoft/Yahoo Search Alliance, designed to simplify advertising across both Yahoo and Bing, has failed to stimulate interest in marketers advertising on the platform, with 80% of companies and 83% of agencies stating that the alliance does not encourage them to spend more money on the platform. The percentage of companies indicating that the Microsoft/Yahoo Search Alliance is “not relevant” in their paid search spending was 39% compared to only 6% for Google.
This is illustrated by the proportion of companies who have increased spending on Google or the Alliance search engines; 59% of companies had increased their paid search budget for Google in the previous year, compared to only 21% who had increased spending on either Bing or Yahoo.
Companies increase their spending across SEO, paid search and social media. Nearly two-thirds of companies (62%) plan to increase social media spending in the next 12 months. In addition, 57% will increase their SEO spending and 49% will invest more in paid search.
Rapid changes within search and social marketing have created a knowledge gap within companies. There has been an increase in the amount of companies reporting a lack of know-how as a key barrier to effective SEO, with numbers rising from 16% to 29% in one year.
Many companies are using search marketing to advertise to international markets. More than one in eight companies (13%) run multilingual search campaigns, with almost one in six (15%) running multi-territory search campaigns.
Companies are not integrating their digital marketing efforts. The majority of companies (57%) are still treating social media and search marketing separately, while only 19% use the same agency to manage search and display campaigns.
About the Data: This sixth annual “UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report” published by Econsultancy in association with NetBooster repeats questions from the previous five years, enabling a comparison of data and trends. More than 500 respondents completed an online survey in February and March 2012. Respondents included both in-house marketers and supply-side respondents (including agencies and consultants):61% of survey respondents worked in-house for companies, compared to 39% who worked for agencies/consultancies. ?