iProspect and JupiterResearch Find 81% of Organizations Tie Search Engine Marketing Metrics to Employee Evaluation

New Market Research Also Finds Website Traffic and Search Engine Rankings Used

More Than Sales or ROI to Measure Marketer Performance

Sep 07, 2005, 01:00 ET from iProspect

    WATERTOWN, Mass., Sept. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- According to new market research
 published today by iProspect (http://www.iprospect.com), The Original(R)
 Search Engine Marketing Firm, 81% of organizations tie search engine marketing
 metrics to the evaluation of their search marketing employees.  The iProspect
 Search Marketer Performance Study
 also found that more organizations use website traffic and search engine
 rankings to measure marketer performance than sales and ROI.
     The study is the result of a recent iProspect-sponsored executive survey
 conducted by JupiterResearch and reveals some surprising findings about how
 organizations evaluate their employees who are responsible for search engine
 marketing and search engine optimization.
     High-level findings included:
     *  A full 4 out of every 5 search engine marketers have the evaluation of
        their performance tied to some search engine marketing metric.
     *  Only 8% of search engine marketers whose annual online media budgets
        are greater than $1 million are not evaluated on search engine
        marketing metrics, while 22% of search engine marketers whose annual
        online media budgets are less than $1 million are not evaluated on
        search engine marketing metrics.
     *  1 out of 2 search engine marketers are evaluated on website traffic
        volume and/or top search engine ranking.
     *  4 out of 10 search engine marketers are evaluated on ROI or total sales
        generated by their search engine marketing efforts.
     *  Just 1 to 2 in 10 search engine marketers are evaluated on offline
        results generated by their search engine marketing efforts.
     The fact that more organizations evaluate their search engine marketers'
 performance based upon search engine marketing campaign metrics such as
 resulting website traffic and search engine rankings, rather than the business
 results, such as sales volume or ROI that their campaigns produce, is a
 particularly surprising finding.
     While individual search marketing campaigns are evaluated using these
 metrics (traffic or rankings), iProspect did not expect the individuals
 managing these campaigns to be measured more often by these means to an end,
 rather than the bottom line value their efforts netted their organizations.
     "I am taken aback by this finding," said iProspect President, Rob Murray.
 "We expected that business results would be the big factor in search marketer
 performance evaluation since this discipline has significant costs associated
 with it -- costs that organizations would ostensibly need to justify in order
 to continue investment in it.  This is especially surprising given that the
 organizations participating in this survey have dedicated search marketing
 resources and budgets."
     However, iProspect recognizes that business results might not be employed
 in the evaluation of search engine marketers if the organization is unable to
 accurately tie business results back to search engine marketing activities.
 "This could also explain the difficulty that search marketers at some
 organizations have in convincing their colleagues in the IT department to
 implement search engine optimization recommendations to their websites,
 because IT departments will often not make SEO changes when the business
 impact of those changes cannot be clearly projected," according to Murray.
 "If more search engine marketers' results were being tied to business results,
 marketers would be better able to make the case and win these turf battles."
 The study also reveals that very few organizations tie offline activities or
 conversions that occur as a result of search engine marketing efforts to
 evaluate the performance of their search engine marketers.
     "Industry research continues to prove that search marketing drives offline
 behavior.  It is clear that there is a direct correlation between searches
 conducted on the web and offline transactions.  But despite the research that
 confirms the effect search marketing has on offline transactions,
 organizations are not considering this factor in evaluating search marketer
 performance," noted iProspect's Director of Algorithmic Search, Dr. Naga
     "This finding has two important implications for organizations:  First,
 organizations are missing an opportunity to motivate search marketers to
 generate cross-channel conversions, which may suggest that at many
 organization search engine marketing is not effectively integrated with
 offline marketing.  Second, if organizations do not recognize offline
 transactions generated by online searches, they are most likely under-
 investing in the search marketing channel," continued Krothapalli.
     About the Survey and Methodology
     JupiterResearch surveyed search engine marketers and agencies.
 Respondents were targeted by familiarity with their company's search engine
 marketing efforts and screened for involvement with marketing their company's
 products or those of clients.  A total of 636 qualified search engine
 marketers and 224 qualified search engine marketing agencies completed the
 survey.  Respondents received an email invitation to participate in the
 survey, with an attached URL linked to the Web-based survey form.  As an
 incentive, respondents were entered into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a
 $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.
     In this survey effort, JupiterResearch worked with its sister company
 JupiterWeb on the technical tasks of sample building and survey fielding.
 JupiterWeb properties include more than 150 Web sites and over 150 email
 newsletters that are viewed by 20 million unique users and generate over
 275 million page views monthly, thus enabling JupiterResearch to survey
 hard-to-reach audiences.
     Proper attribution requires that the study is clearly identified as the
 "iProspect Search Marketer Performance Study." Copies of the study can be
 obtained at
     About iProspect
     iProspect(R) (http://www.iprospect.com) is the Original(R) Search Engine
 Marketing Firm. The company helps many of the world's most successful brands
 maximize their online marketing ROI through natural search engine optimization
 paid inclusion management
 (http://www.iprospect.com/services/paid-inclusion-management-service.htm) as a
 Yahoo! Search Submit Certified Ambassador, pay per click advertising
 (http://www.iprospect.com/services/pay-per-click-management-service.htm) via
 their own patent-pending bid management agent called iSEBA(TM), and Web
 analytics (http://www.iprospect.com/services/web-analytics-service.htm)
 through their own SEM-configured version of WebTrends(TM).  Located in
 Watertown, Massachusetts, the company can be contacted at 1-800-522-1152, or
 by visiting http://www.iprospect.com.
     Questions regarding this release should be directed to iProspect Media
 Relations Manager, Colleen Reed, at 1-800-522-1152 x1203 or

SOURCE iProspect