TORONTO, April 25, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- While four out of five advertisers say they could afford an increase in pay-per-click advertising prices, the vast majority can only absorb increases of 30% or less. These are the findings of a survey by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Association (SEMPO) that were announced today at the Search Engine Strategies 2006 Conference & Expo in Toronto, Canada.

According to the results of SEMPO's latest "The State of Search Engine Marketing" survey, three quarters of advertisers and all agencies saw moderate price hikes for pay-per-click advertising over the past year. In response, marketers are shifting budgets from other marketing and advertising programs, including affiliate marketing, web site development, email marketing, direct mail, print yellow pages advertising, and TV advertising.

Faced with escalating keyword prices, 71 percent of advertisers say they will try to improve their site's efficiency in converting visitors to customers, and 62 percent will try to improve their bid management programs before cutting back on spending. There were 553 respondents to the survey conducted by Radar Research to gauge the size of the market, identify trends and highlight key issues of concern. Respondents were distributed among client-side marketers and service-side search engine marketing professionals.

"Despite increasing ad spend and year-to-year growth in the value of search engine marketing, we are likely nearing a pricing plateau as advertisers near their maximum efficiency," says Gord Hotchkiss, Chairperson of SEMPO as well as President and CEO of Enquiro.

Search Engine Strategies Conference in Canada

Hotchkiss is a speaker at the Search Engine Strategies conference session "Searcher Behavior Research Update" on Tuesday, April 25, from 2:45 to 4:00 PM. He is also moderating the "Successful Site Architecture" session on Wednesday, April 26, from 9:00 to 10:15 AM.

Pay-per-click advertising prices are also likely to be addressed during several other conference sessions, including Ad Management Tactics, Perfecting Paid Listings, and the Search Ad Buyers Forum. Many SEMPO members are attending or participating in the conference sessions as speakers and search marketing experts.

About the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO)

SEMPO is a non-profit professional association working to increase awareness and promote the value of search engine marketing worldwide. The organization represents the common interests of more than 380 companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. For more information, or to join the organization, please visit http://www.SEMPO.org.

The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization company logo is available at: http://www.primezone.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2228

SEMPO
 Greg Jarboe
 (978) 549-9537