SEMPO Releases State Of The Industry Report 2015

The industry report provides insights on how agencies and marketers are managing their digital activities across multiple channels.

Chat with MarTechBot


SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, has released the 10th state of the industry report, a survey of more than 500 digital marketers and agencies about their online marketing activities across digital channels. The report breaks out responses by agencies/consultants and marketers/clients to provide insights from these these two different groups.

SEO is the most prevalent marketing activity conducted by both individual marketers/clients (94 percent) and agencies/consultants (92 percent) among the respondents who completed the SEMPO survey. That’s not all that surprising, as SEOs are most likely to be familiar with SEMPO in the first place. Interestingly, though, these rates are quite a bit higher than the 85 percent that said they were doing SEO in 2013, the last time the survey was taken.

Among this year’s respondents, 84 percent of agencies/consultants and 83 percent of marketers/clients say their organizations run paid search campaigns. Marketers’ organizations are slightly more likely to be running social media and email campaigns than paid search.

And more marketers/clients organizations carry out SEO, social media marketing, display advertising and email marketing efforts than agencies, which were stronger in paid search (though just slightly), social media advertising and mobile marketing.

marketing activities sempo report 2015

The chart above shows relatively low participation rates in mobile marketing. This is likely open to interpretation, though. The majority of respondents may not be running app promotion campaigns, for example, or other campaigns explicitly mobile-oriented, but they are running campaigns that are distributed automatically across devices — certainly much more so than in 2013.

Among the marketer/client respondents, 75 percent said they manage digital media in-house, while 81 percent of agencies/consultants said they manage digital media for their clients.

Social Media Management

On the social front, 65 percent of marketers said their organizations manage social media properties in-house. Among agency respondents, 66 percent manage social media properties for their clients. The majority of agencies are managing Facebook ad campaigns, while more marketers say they manage Facebook promoted posts, YouTube ads, LinkedIn ads and Twitter ads than the agency respondents.

social channels used, sempo 2015

Agency Fee Structures

Agency respondents were asked about the fee structures they used to charge clients for digital media marketing services by channel. (They could check one response for each channel.) For SEO and Social Media services, by far the two most popular structures are to charge a flat fee or bill by time and materials.

For paid search, charging by percent of media spend was the most popular fee structure, with 32 percent of agencies charging this way, followed by 28 percent charging a flat fee and 21 percent charging for time and materials. This pattern was fairly similar for display campaigns. For paid social services, most agencies charge a flat fee (29 percent).

Just over 40 percent of agencies managing non-paid social media for clients charge a flat fee. About a third charge for time and materials.

Very few agencies are charging on a commission basis. The numbers are highest for SEO services, with nearly nine percent of agencies charging on a commission basis for sales or other marketing objective.

agency fee structures, sempo 2015

For disclosure, Marketing Land and Search Engine Land partnered with SEMPO on the survey in promoting it to our audiences. Survey respondents and SEMPO members will receive a copy of the 56-page report. New members who join SEMPO can also download the study and partake in a members-only webinar featuring panelists from both agency side and client side to complement the results.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.