Search advertising is one of the most known online marketing methods in the industry. It is based on placing advertisements on websites which show results of search engines queries. Those ads are specifically targeted to keywords entered by consumers, which is why they have a higher conversion probability and thus are popular among marketing professionals. In 2016, digital search advertising spending in the United States was valued at 29.24 billion U.S. dollars; by 2019, it was forecasted to increase to 40.6 billion U.S. dollars. In the same period, mobile search ad spend in the country was said to grow from 20 to 37 billion U.S. dollars. However, while mobile is expected to develop, desktop search is believed to be decreasing over the coming years. Between 2014 and 2019 desktop search ad spending in the U.S. is projected to drop from 14.72 billion to 12.35 billion U.S. dollars.
When asked about specific search tactics’ adoption, more than half of responding marketers and agencies stated having used SEO, with further 41 percent using local search optimization, followed by 40 percent who implemented in-store search via mobile. All in all, search was high up on the list of profitable and successful media channels. According to 69 percent of industry professionals, search engine advertising was an effective marketing activity. What is more, approximately 74 percent of surveyed marketing agencies and B2C advertisers claimed that search ads generated excellent results in terms of ROI. Given these businesses’ stated preferences for search tactics and their effectiveness, when examining their media budget allocation the outcome reflects another image. While 54 percent of marketers said they included paid search in their media budget in 2016, at the same time only 37 percent indicated devoting their expenses to organic search (SEO).
In terms of consumer perspectives on search engine advertising, when asked if they perceived the tactic as helpful, only 11 percent of respondents agreed it was in fact very helpful. The majority saw search engine advertising as not helpful at all. In fact, around 53 percent of consumers thought search ads were annoying . This phenomenon was also reflected in consumers’ general trust towards advertising channels, as 82 percent had reported trusting print ads, while in comparison only 61 percent said the same about search engine ads.
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