Online search is one of the most highly used forms of driving traffic to websites, but associations have been slow to adapt. According to our latest Association Adviser reader poll, only one-third of associations (33.8 percent) are using paid search engine marketing to drive traffic to their websites. While another one in six associations (17.2 percent) told us they plan to introduce paid search over the next 12 months, nearly half of associations (48.3 percent) reported that they don’t use search engine marketing at all and they don’t plan to in the near future.
By contrast, more than 82 percent of consumers overall use the Web for reading content, browsing social networks, viewing entertainment and shopping, according to Pew Internet & American Life research. And that may be costing associations plenty. More than 75 percent of searchers don’t scroll past the first page of results, according to the latest research from Hitwise and Search Engine Journal.
Search engine marketing is the fastest growing area of internet advertising, and many associations have members who are struggling with how best to use it to market their small businesses, according to Marcus Underwood, Naylor’s vice president of online media. “Education (how to do it) and cost concerns (how to control them and prove ROI) are the two biggest factors,” added Underwood.