20% of CMOs to invest less in paid search, SEO this year

Paid search advertising and SEO are among the channels most likely to have reduced investment in 2023, according to Gartner’s latest CMO Spend and Strategy survey. But it’s not all bad news for search marketing.

Search advertising. Although 26% of CMOs planned to reduce their investment in paid search, 40% of CMOs said they plan to increase investment in this channel.

SEO. While SEO was identified by 20% of the survey respondents as a channel to reduce investment this year, 46% of CMOs planned to increase their SEO budget.

Social advertising and beyond. Surprisingly, 53% of CMOs planned to invest more in social advertising, compared to 14% who are decreasing investment. Two other categories that can expect more budget in 2023: digital video advertising and influencer marketing.

Here’s the full chart from Gartner:

Paid Media Investments 2023
Source: Gartner 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey

Why we care. Organic and paid search are two proven marketing channels that can drive visibility, brand awareness, leads, revenue, profit and more for brands. If you aren’t investing in search, you’re potentially taking money off your table.

Dig deeper. SEO vs. PPC: Differences, pros, cons & an integrated approach

Budget woes. Marketing budgets are flat – and 71% of CMOs believe they lack the budget successfully to execute this year’s strategies. So it will be important for CMOs to make smart decisions about where they spend their budget.

About the survey. 410 CMOs and marketing leaders were surveyed in March and April 2023. Respondents were based in North America and Europe, representing various industries and company sizes, with most reporting annual revenue exceeding $1 billion.

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About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo – SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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