Study Finds CMOs Overlook Search Opportunities To Drive Growth

CMOs spend millions of dollars annually on search marketing and advertising, but some have conflicting views on the perceived value of the media and how it drives the return on investment and growth for their respective companies.  

eMarketer estimates the search spend ad market worldwide will reach $141.21 billion this year, of which Google will take 61.1% share.

To gain a better understanding, Adthena surveyed 151 U.S. and U.K. marketers who make decisions for their respective companies.

A whopping 92% of CMOs participating in the study believe search engine marketing can help them make more strategic business decisions. Of these, 58.9% believe SEM plays a strategic role by gaining a competitive advantage, and 58.2% believe it can help to identify new market opportunities.

Some 72% rank SEM in their top three most-valued marketing channels compared with programmatic, video, native and display advertising.

Adthena’s findings also break down the missed opportunities in search for CMOs and the challenges they face when it comes to proving return on investment.



The data shows that CMOs agree that search supports customer acquisition and helps drive sales, but they are conflicted when it comes to attracting and retaining customers in the long term. Only 23% of marketing executives see paid search playing a strategic role in partner and affiliate management.

Some of the missed opportunities include the role SEM plays in partner and affiliate management.

Less than 40% agree that paid search can play a strategic role in brand protection from competition, and only 43% agree that it helps to streamline the customer journey.

Some 90% agree that SEM can provide insight, but only 41% have ever tracked how their company performs against the competition. The challenge of how to implement this remains.

For those who do report search metrics, 52.9% cited conversion rates and 51.6% cited click-through rates as providing the best return on investment metrics.

Adthena closed the report with an example. When Volvo entered the hybrid car market, marketers working with Adthena examined their competitors' SEM performance standard ROI metrics could not. Through this strategy they closely examined the consumer journey through the purchase process of those looking to buy a hybrid vehicle. The goal was to better optimize their SEM campaigns to ensure their messaging sounded louder than the competition. These strategic measures are becoming increasingly important.

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