According to an E-Consultancy report, spend on search marketing in the UK is set to slow considerably over the coming year. The report (the annual ‘Search Engine Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2008) predicted that search spend will rise by 24% in 2008, down from 58% year on year growth in 2007 and 65 percent growth in 2006, which in laymens terms would equate to £2.75 billion ($4.9 billion) this year, up from a £2.2 billion ($3.9 billion) spend in 2007. The report predictions are based on the total amount spent on search engine marketing in the U.K., including media spend and money spent on agency services such as paid search management.
Chris Lake from E-Consultancy suggested that this slowdown was not merely down to the economic slow-down but also to a matured UK search market. The report stated:
“Although there is significant room for further growth in spending, the sector is now becoming more established and, as such, cannot keep on such a steep curve indefinitely,” whilst going on to say
“While there remains strong growth in the market, the upward trajectory of search has begun to flatten as the industry has become more mature, as has happened in the United States”.
According to the report the majority of the spend was earmarked for paid search (approximately £2.4 Billion or 88%), with organic search engine optimisation accounting for around a mere £330 million (circa 12%). It should however be noted that year on year SEO spend is expected to increase by 32% this year. That is hardly suprising in my opinion given the saturation of many of the paid search verticals, where cost per click can make entry to the market prohibitive to a certain extent. Whilst there are certain verticals within the organic framework that are certainly as saturated I personally feel there is significantly more growth within the sector, particularly given the greater integration of blended search within the search engine results themselves.