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EconsultancySEMPO-Marketers-Integration-SEO-and-Digital-Marketing-Activities-Feb2014SEO efforts are more likely to share a budget and be highly integrated with content marketing than a range of other digital marketing disciplines, supporting the perception of content marketing’s role as “an umbrella discipline that encompasses many areas, with one of the main ones being SEO.” That’s according to a new study [download page] from Econsultancy and SEMPO, which found 45% of in-house marketers and 51% of agency respondents reporting a high degree of integration between SEO and content marketing.

By comparison, fewer than one-quarter of company marketers said their SEO efforts are highly integrated with paid search (24%), social media (23%), mobile (16%), email (13%) and digital display. And while agencies reported slightly higher degrees of integration in a couple of those areas, no more than one-third said their clients’ SEO efforts were highly integrated with either of them.

Given those responses, it’s not surprising that marketers and agencies alike were more likely to say that SEO shares the same budget with content marketing than with any other discipline. Even so, a majority 55% of each group said SEO and content marketing operate on somewhat or totally separate budgets. Interestingly 53% of company marketers and 59% of agencies said that paid search budgets are managed completely separately from SEO budgets.

The study also analyzes the degree of flexibility that marketers and agencies enjoy with the various disciplines based on ongoing ROI, finding that roughly 4 in 10 respondents from each group have a great deal of flexibility to change paid search, display, and social media budgets based on ROI. Levels of budget flexibility appear more rigid when it comes to email marketing and SEO budgets.

As for that old bugaboo, ROI? This year’s report notes a considerable drop in the share of company marketers who rate their ability to measure it as good. Specifically:

  • 47% say they are good at measuring the ROI of paid search, down from 79% in last year’s study;
  • 41% report the same for email, down from 57%;
  • 28% feel confident with their ROI measure ability for digital display, down from 37%;
  • Only 11% rate themselves as good at measuring the ROI of social media marketing, down from 15%.

The Econsultancy analysts note that with the pace of developments within the digital marketing field over the past year, “what is viewed as ‘good’ today in terms of measuring ROI may be vastly different from what was perceived to be ‘good’ a few years back.”

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of more than 400 companies, agencies and consultants, 53% of whom manage strategy, budgets, and direction of marketing. Some 73% are based in the US.

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