March 28, 2017 /

WAKEFIELD, Mass.– Mar. 28, 2017 – SEMPO, the world’s largest nonprofit organization serving the search and digital marketing industry and the marketing professionals engaged in it, announced today the results of its 2016 State of Search Report, the 11th annual edition. The SEMPO Research Committee will provide a detailed look at the report’s valuable data and insights at SEMPO’s 2017 Search Industry Forum, May 4-5, 2017, at The Hyatt Regency, in Miami. Search marketing professionals are encouraged to register for the Forum to gain actionable insights. SEMPO members receive exclusive access to download the full report at no charge.

Developed by the SEMPO Research Committee, the report captures the continually evolving role of search marketing as part of an integrated marketing mix. Questions included topics such as channel-specific activities, trends, investments, and metrics. Separate tracks for client-side marketers and advertisers, ecosystem suppliers, and agencies or consultants generated thought-provoking results. Findings confirm the continued rise of agency investment in Google for paid search but also revealed significant differences between agencies’ and marketers’ challenges, such as hiring talent and content marketing integration, respectively.

Some key results from 2016:

  • Mobile usage is increasing; at 71%, it is the most significant emerging search trend.
  • Social media advertising is the fastest growing digital marketing segment, but search is still the lead.
  • AdWords changes, at 41%, and content marketing integration, at 36%, are also key trends.
  • Marketers still outpace agencies in email marketing, but their usage dipped from 86% to 78%.
  • Google paid search is still number one with agencies, but Bing maintains a solid base.
  • Social ROI is the biggest challenge for agencies, at 47%, and marketers, at 51%.

“The SEMPO Research Committee’s 2016 State of Search Report offers the industry both a reality check and a forward-looking perspective on a constantly changing landscape. By surveying and segmenting results, marketers, agencies, and ecosystem suppliers are able to confirm and plan for many of the trends and challenges they’re witnessing in the marketplace,” said Marc Engelsman, VP Strategy & Analytics for Digital Brand Expressions and VP of Research for SEMPO. “The common denominators driving trends include the increased use of mobile for search and the rise of social media advertising as a key part of the digital marketing mix for marketers and agencies. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the questionnaire.”

Conducted in late 2016, the 2016 survey was completed by nearly 500 in-house marketer and agency respondents. The SEMPO Research Committee promoted the survey to their respective audiences, offering a complimentary copy of the report as the incentive for taking part.

About the SEMPO Research Committee and Report
The SEMPO Research Committee is tasked with conducting primary research on the impact and importance of “search” as part of an integrated marketing toolbox, as well as with engaging in research regarding related issues. The report is unique in the way it comparatively tracks agency and marketer opinions on the evolving strategic role of search in today’s digital marketing mix and the issues affecting its tactical implementation. Industry members benefit and learn from this data and use it to spur dialogue among consultants, clients, and vendors involved with growing digital marketing initiatives.

SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search and digital marketing industry and the marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research, and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing. SEMPO includes thousands of professionals across 50 countries. The organization’s mission is to represent the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provide them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO’s education and outreach initiatives are funded in part by Google and Baidu. For more information or to join the organization, visit


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