Conflicting Messages About Search Marketing in the Recession

Many people, including myself, have been speculating about the impact of the recession on search engine marketing and digital marketing in general.  Most people predict that the measurability and flexibility of digital channels, pay per click and search engine optimisation stand it in good stead as times toughen and marketers value measurability and profitability over brand exposure.  But the truth is, no-one really knows, and this is highlighted by conflicting reports which have been published in recent weeks.

A report produced by Efficient Frontier into US search spend towards the end of 2008 showed a slow down in year on year search spend, which, whilst it wasn’t directly put down to economic conditions, it could be construed in such a way.

In contrast to this the latest marketing sherpa stats show that search engine optimisation and PPC are where digital marketers saw the greatest return on investment in Q4 of 2008, thus indicating they would be the major sources of investment in 2009 also.

Nobody knows the impact of a recession on search engine marketing.  After all, it didn’t exist the last time we experienced one!  My personal opinion is that if there are any channels which are set to benefit it will be the measurable and flexible PPC and the “free” and highly profitable SEO.

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