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In today’s eMarketer, the first story is titled “Interactive Marketers Lean on Search.” The item reports that “digital advertising has been the bright spot in many ad spending forecasts, and that trend is slated to continue.” The basis for the report is an interactive marketing forecast by Forrester Research, which predicted in a recent blog that search marketing would grow from $15.4 billion to $27.8 billion in 2013. Interestingly, this is close to The Kelsey Group’s March search forecast of $26.7 billion in 2013. (Because of our interest in local search, we also predict that local will account for $8.1B, or just over 30 percent, of total search revenues.)

EMarketer’s second story today has a headline that seemingly contradicts the first article: “Companies that Spend on Search are Frustrated.” EMarketer reports that more than 65 percent of “senior level SEM executives plan to spend at least as much on SEM in 2009 as they did in 2008.” However, a majority of executives do not believe search marketing is working very well. According to the authors of the report, [x+1], “clearly, while digital marketing professionals and decision makers find value and look for performance gains in online marketing and advertising through the use of SEM, the reality is not matching expectation levels.”

There are some recommendations to improve results, but the bottom line is that a) digital advertising will grow rapidly (Forrester estimates it will account for 19 percent of total ad spending in 2013 b) search marketing accounts for by far the greatest amount of interactive marketing spending, despite the fact that c) U.S. senior-level search engine marketing executives overwhelmingly believe that search marketing is performing poorly.

I’m sure there is an obvious explanation, but I don’t see it.

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