Monday, October 08, 2012

The SEMPO-sponsored Client/Agency Debate

The annual SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report was recently released and I moderated a panel discussion on its findings at SMX East just last week.  The SEMPO survey is unique as it captures and reports on the same questions asked separately along parallel tracks – one for Clients/Advertisers and the other for Agencies.  This lets me share some of the findings in a fantasy debate style format:

CLIENTS:  We see the most significant top emerging trends in search marketing as being the rise of mobile internet use and Google algorithm updates. 

AGENCIES:  While we agree with the two trends you mention, we actually also rate the rise of local search as a little more significant than Google’s algorithm updates.  Not sure why 41% of you clients feel local is not significant.

CLIENTS:  At least 69% of us are carrying out email marketing for our organization.  That’s a lot more than the 49% of agencies who are doing it.

AGENCIES:  But are you integrating it with your other search tactics?  Probably not as 60% of you treat social media and search engine marketing separately whereas 58% of we agencies see social media as very much a part of our search activity.

CLIENTS:  Yea, well maybe that’s because 64% of us see measuring ROI from our social media efforts as the biggest challenge when it comes to social. 

AGENCIES:  Is that why you pulled back so much on Facebook PPC this year?  Last year 74% of you were using Facebook PPC and this year it’s only 56%.

CLIENTS:  You know our budgets are more fixed than in the past. PPC budget allocation flexibility based on ROI is down from 50% two years ago to just 38% now.

AGENCIES:  It all comes back to integration, doesn’t it?  We see that integration, attribution and measurement with other online/offline marketing channels is one of the SEO challenges clients say grew this past year.   That and hiring/retaining talent.   Maybe we can help you.

CLIENTS:  Really wish you could but management is making us take more of this in-house – especially social which is now handled 63% in-house.

AGENCIES:  There you go again.  Seems every other year clients decide they want to bring search/social in-house and then change their mind when they realize the time and cost to implement exceeds their ability.  Or when Google’s algorithm updates hit you hard.  Talk with you again soon.

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