WebVisible Q4 Report: Big Increase in SEM Spend in Q4; Other Search-Related Metrics Also Improved

In the second “installment” of its quarterly report “State of Small Business Online Advertising, Search Edition,” WebVisible reports that its SMB clients increased their online search spending to an average of $2,149 in Q4 2009, an increase of some 30 percent over the Q3 level, and 111 percent over the level of Q4 2008. In addition, it reported that other related metrics, such as conversion rates and keyword, increased. (Note that the SMBs surveyed are WebVisible’s customers, which are already using online search, and are more “evolved” than a broad cross-section of SMBs.)

Perhaps one of the more interesting trends identified in the research (to the extent to which one year can reveal a trend) is the increase in conversion rates (defined as the percent of search clicks converting to Web site actions or calls). This metric stood at 26.6 percent in Q4 2008, and has increased to 35.3 percent in Q4 2009.

Also notable is the explosive growth in video, from 5.2 percent of advertisers with video on their sites in Q4 2008 to 19.2 percent in Q4 2009.

The report also includes interesting findings on SMBs in the U.K. Not surprisingly, their behavior patterns for online advertising are very different. For example, the average U.K. small business spent only $183 for online search in Q4 2009 — about 9 percent of their U.S. counterparts.

Finally, the report contains information on the distribution of SMB advertisers by business category (for the U.S. and the U.K.), as well as an insightful approach to segmenting the unruly SMB marketplace.

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