Marketers unwilling to spend on video, mobile channels: SEMPO

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Although search engine marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities in video and mobile search marketing, they are not willing to spend for these channels, according to a new survey published by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.

Forty percent of the survey respondents said they would pay the same amount for video search as they pay for traditional search advertising. Another 13 percent said they want to pay less for video and mobile search than for traditional search.

"The key findings were that marketers are not in consensus on whether video search will be more or less valuable than text search," said Kevin Lee, executive chairman and co-founder of Did-it.com, New York. "The engines have an opportunity since nearly half of marketers are willing to pay more. For mobile search, perhaps due to its untested ROI, there is an even greater reluctance to pay a premium."

Sixty-six percent of respondents say they would be interested in contextually targeted advertising attached to video search results, the study said. However, there is much more interest in video advertising attached to video search results as opposed to just text-based contextual ads.

While about 53 percent of respondents expressed interest in video ads, 33 percent indicated an interest in text-only ads.

Radar Research LLC and Intellisurvey conducted the survey in November and December of 2006. The report was based on responses from 587 agency and in-house advertisers.

The study also found that marketers are even more reluctant to pay for mobile search. Almost half of the respondents said they would not pay a premium for that technology.

"So the implication is that once video search ads take off, more than half of their competition will be ready and willing to pay for those ads at the same rates or higher rates that PPC text search ads," Mr. Lee said.

Almost 25 percent of respondents said they prefer to pay less for mobile search than for traditional search. About two-thirds said they were interested in contextually targeted advertising delivered to mobile search users.

"The reluctance to hike budgets for video and mobile search reflects the industry's trend toward an overall pricing plateau," the survey said.

Twenty-five percent of the respondents reported they had reached their pricing ceiling for paid placement. Of the remaining 75 percent, half said the most they

could afford in a price increase was

30 percent.

"[This study highlights] marketers' need to keep up with the new trends in search and find the incremental budgets to test new things while maintaining profitability on the core campaigns," Mr. Lee said. "Constant change and evolution makes the marketer's job even harder."

"Marketers should proactively test new types of paid search advertising and if the resulting traffic or visibility has a positive ROI, allocate budgets to those sectors as appropriate," he said. "However, marketers with severely constrained budgets without the resources to produce video or display ads or to produce mobile-compatible sites should wait and see."

Meanwhile, Wakefield, MA-based SEMPO elected its 2007 board of directors. The board is comprised of Chris Boggs of Avenue A/Razorfish; Massimo Burgio of Global Search Interactive; Fiona Downhill of Elixir Systems; Dave Fall of DoubleClick Inc.; Duane Forrester of Sports Direct Inc.; Sara Holoubek, a free agent and consultant; Gordon Hotchkiss of Enquiro; Bill Hunt of Global Strategies International; Kevin Lee of Did-It; Jeffrey Pruitt of iCrossing; Tanya Rietze of Hewlett-Packard; Dana Todd of SiteLab; and Dave Williams of 360i.

Eight of the 13 members are returning from the 2006 group. They are Mr. Boggs, Ms. Holoubek, Mr. Hotchkiss, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lee, Mr. Pruitt, Ms. Todd and Mr. Williams.

The 13 members will serve a one-year term. They will elect officers in March and have their first meeting during the Search Engine Strategies Conference in New York April 10 to 13.

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