May 27, 2010, 3:50 PM

Search engine marketing comes back strong

Two studies show search marketing spend is recovering and consultants are clicking. But pay-per-click prices are up, too.

A crucial selling strategy for most online retailers, search engine marketing is playing an increasingly important role as the economy recovers. That's the message of two recent reports—"State of Search Engine Marketing Report 2010" by consulting firm Econsultancy.com Ltd in conjunction with the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, and "Q1, 2010 Search Advertising Results: Analysis, Interpretation and Forecasts" by search engine marketing services firm NetElixir. The reports document growth in search marketing spend as well as higher click-through rates and average order values. The Econsultancy/SEMPO report notes that more than half of marketers expect to increase search spending 10% or more this year, with more than 25% of the new funds coming from other forms of marketing like print and TV ads. NetElixir, meantime, says that marketers reported year-over-year first-quarter increases of 10% in conversion rates and 44% in average order values driven by paid search ads. But cost per click is also rising.

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