Not surprisingly, annual revenue plays a role in how companies monitor SEM campaigns. Fifty-two percent of respondents at companies with annual sales of at least $10 million preferred hosted services or integrated tracking solutions bought or subscribed from an outside provider. Following closely, 45% used free tracking software provided by search engines, and 42% used off-the-shelf software. Three-quarters of the respondents with revenue of less than $10 million use free tracking software, while 33% used hosted services or integrated solutions, and 25% used off-the-shelf software.

While many participants placed strong emphasis on performance-based advertising, by and large they weren’t heavily investing in optimizing their Websites to raise their organic search rankings. Respondents spent only a mean 15.1% of their total search marketing budget on search engine optimization. But just as with boosting total SEM budgets, respondents planned to spend more on optimization: 48% said they planned to increase their optimization budget this year; the mean planned increase was 32.6%.

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