Digital marketing budgets continue to rise in tough times while a lack of in-house expertise leaves business relying on agency insights.

The findings come from international marketing and technology agency NetBooster and Econsultancy, they released the sixth annual UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report, which is based on the responses of over 500 advertisers and agencies collected during February and March 2012.

Digital marketing budgets set to rise

digital marketing budget

Digital marketing shows no signs of slowing down, so it comes as no surprise that investment in this area by advertisers and agencies is expected to increase. 57% plan to increase their SEO spending and just under half will invest more in paid search. Social Media remains a key focus with 62% of companies expect their budgets in this area over the next 12 months, with 9% expecting their social media spend to more than double.

Mobile budgets are seeing an increase, almost doubling in the proportion of paid search budget going to mobile. In 2011, only 2% of company and 5% of agency paid search budgets were allocated to mobile; in 2012, these figures rose to 4% and 9% respectively. Findings from a recent Google report showed smartphone penetration in the UK is now more than half at 51%.

Companies moving digital marketing in-house but lack of knowledge still a barrier

Since 2008, the percentage of companies performing their search and social marketing in-house has grown steadily, from 38% to 45% in paid search, 48% to 55% in SEO, and 64% to 70% in social media marketing. Despite this there is an increase in the amount of companies citing lack of know how as a barrier to effective SEO, rising from 16% to 29% over 12 months.

Companies are also struggling with integrating their digital marketing efforts, 57% of companies are still treating social media and search marketing separately.

Martin Dinham, Sales Director, NetBooster, said: “Our annual report with Econsultancy once again finds its finger firmly of the pulse of the UK SEM sector, providing vital intelligence on the spends and trends making essential reading for anyone in control of a digital marketing budget.”

“However, with only 19% of clients using the same agency for PPC and display campaigns, it appears that the majority of clients still aren’t benefiting from the enhanced targeting which is made available when these key digital services are integrated.”

Download the full report.

Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor of Fourth Source and freelance SEO/Digital Marketer based in London.