Report: Three out of Four Search Marketers 'Unsophisticated'

Only one-quarter of active search marketers can be classified as sophisticated, according to JupiterResearch's second semiannual search engine marketing survey, unveiled today.

"Most search marketers aren't doing their homework," said Nate Elliott, JupiterResearch analyst and author of the report. This means, Elliott said, that approximately 150,000 of the 200,000 marketers utilizing paid search are not bidding, tracking, measuring, or expanding their keyword lists effectively, if at all.

Another key survey finding is that so-called "sophisticates" are more likely to be large marketers. In fact, 33 percent of sophisticates have total marketing budgets that exceed $1 million.

Sophisticates also tend to buy more keywords and advertise on more search engines than those classified as "unsophisticates." Thirty-nine percent of sophisticates buy 1,000 or more keywords per month, compared to 14 percent of unsophisticates, while sophisticates use an average of 3.8 search engines for their search engine marketing campaigns, compared to 2.7 for unsophisticates.

Elliott also said that sophisticates are more likely to hire search engine marketing firms than unsophisticates. He said that as marketers become more savvy about search, and start measuring results and buying more keywords across more search engines, they will more likely outsource search marketing services, due to the manpower and resources required to maintain large, expanding search engine marketing campaigns.

Elliott said search engine marketing firms add to marketers' overall search sophistication because they are constantly in the trenches, learning from the movement of the dynamic, fast-moving search market, as well as their own mistakes and successes.

For unsophisticates, Elliott said "the most basic and most important thing" for them to do is to track and measure their search engine marketing campaigns. "There's no good reason not to track," he said, especially because major search providers like Google and Yahoo! offer free tracking and measurement tools for their advertisers. He added that both search companies also offer keyword matching tools, which marketers can use to augment their keyword lists.

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