Larger Marketers Struggle as Paid Search Grows

October 16, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Paid Search | Technology

Spending on paid search advertising remains on a growth trajectory and will reach more than $26.8 billion by 2011, but the largest companies are having the most trouble managing their campaigns, according to a Marin Software study conducted by JupiterResearch.

The data reveals that 92% of large search marketers would increase their pay-per-click (PPC) spend on SEM programs an average of 22% if major technology and management impediments are resolved.


These impediments include insufficient personnel to manage programs, fear of risking ROI performance, inability to meet financial targets as costs per keyword rise, difficulty proving campaign effectiveness to management, and lack of available tools to handle large-scale needs.

Search Marketing is Becoming Increasingly Complex

  • 85% of marketers agree the complexity of paid search management is growing; many express a lack of confidence in key areas.


  • 44% said that running a well-managed, large-scale search marketing campaign is more difficult than running an election campaign for public office.

Search Marketers Would Spend More if They Had the Right Technology

  • Respondents said they would spend an average of 22% more on paid search advertising if they had access to the tools and techniques they need to manage larger paid search programs.
  • Many search marketers manage all aspects of their search campaigns through Microsoft Excel rather than through a single solution; 77% said their paid search campaigns would be more effective it they could manage them all from one application.

Marketers Spending More than $500K /Month Are Having the Most Trouble

  • 78% believe managing large keyword lists is cumbersome.
  • 59% say they currently have insufficient personnel to manage their paid search campaigns
  • 69% said existing applications are not robust enough for their needs.

Despite these challenges, search marketing remains a top priority for marketers, the study found. Some 79% of respondents are spending more managing their paid search programs every year, and the majority of advertisers (67%) reported that increasing the use of PPC campaigns is a top strategic initiative going forward.

“Search marketing has become a strategic imperative for many companies, but the lack of technology and infrastructure to support search marketing poses a serious problem for advertisers looking to grow their PPC spend. This represents a potential Achilles heel for search industry growth,” said Marc Barach, chief marketing officer of Marin Software.

“The next wave of paid search growth will rely on large advertisers using professional second-generation applications to manage the complexity of their PPC programs, so they can cost-effectively grow their program spend without requiring added resources.”

About the study: In August 2008, JupiterResearch designed and fielded a survey of qualified individuals managing search marketing at companies with a search (PPC) marketing budget of $50,000 per month or more. According to the research, 53% of respondents spend between $50,000 – $250,000 per month; 30% spend between $250,000 – $1 million per month; and 17% spend over $1 million per month on search marketing.


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