SEM Spending Habits in 2008
According to recent research conducted by Radar Research, $13.5 billion was spent on search marketing in 2008. Paid placement or sponsored search consumed 88% of the total search spend. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was a distant second with a very small percentage going to technology providers.
This is interesting data considering Internet users overwhelmingly prefer organic listings over sponsored search ads due the relevant nature of organic results.
Furthermore, SEO is cost-effective, works across multiple search engines and delivers longer-term results. In addition, an optimized site doesn't drop in ranking when the advertiser's spending slows or stops, as paid search does.
If search marketing spending continues to increase in the coming years, as most sources predict it will, then one would have to bet that there will be a dramatic shift in SEM spending habits.