A bloggers view on search in Europe: Peter Young

Tue 20 January 2009 17:15, Peter Young

A bloggers view on search in Europe: Peter Young

[Editor]As we announced earlier we are very happy to welcome some new bloggers at Searchcowboys. We've asked our bloggers to write a post about their view on the European Search Market. What are their thoughts, how do they see the future of Search in Europe and what is the difference between US and Europe.

Peter Young is the first one of the new bloggers to 'open his account' with the post below. Peter was originally born in South Africa but moved to Manchester, England, and is currently working there as a SEO Manager for MediaVest. Before that he was Head of Online Marketing at Connectpoint. His blog Holisticsearch is well known and respected in the industry.

Peter Young's view on Search in Europe

As someone who wasn't actually born within Europe, I guess the European angle interests me more than most. Combine this with an almost obsessive interest in search, and you get an understanding of why I am so interested in being involved with the SearchCowboys.

Europe is different from many other markets. For one, Europe is a diverse but collaborative market. Whilst one might argue that search marketing in the US focuses not just on English speakers but also on the Hispanic market (Spanish), there is no doubting that Europe is a far more complex beast from this perspective, with issues such as geo-targeting, country specific localisation and if we throw in countries such as Switzerland and/or Belgium the added complexity of targeting multiple languages as well.

To just add to the complexities we all have our own little preferences. Whilst much of Western Europe is very much Google-centric, markets such as Russia do not experience the /'Googleopoly'/. Such differences in search engine preference also manifest themselves in terms of user behaviour. Whilst Europe has one of the largest markets in terms of potential searchers, they conduct more searches per search than nearly any part of the world including more mature markets such as the US.


Source: Comscore 2007

With such a huge target market potentially available it is no wonder that search is now on many European advertisers agendas. In 2007, web advertising in Europe was worth 11bn euro, of which two-thirds of that was spent in the big three - namely the UK, Germany and France. Of the 11bn euro spend, nearly half could be attributed to Search spend according to figures from Forrester. It is also indicative of how far search has come in Europe that many forecasters are still forecasting considerable growth in Europe for online marketing (driven very much by search) during 2009 22.9% according to Carat, driven by the advancement of broadband and e-commerce throughout Europe.

From a personal perspective, I believe that Europe will see search mature over the next couple of years, with mainland Europe catching more mature markets such as the UK. With the current economic client, decision makers are more and more concerned with accountability, something which online is able to provide to a certain extent, and as such there is a belief by many within the industry that Search will stay fairly recession proof (in comparison to other markets) over the next couple of years.

However there are still limitations. Many European and Global campaigns are either disparate, decentralised affairs or 'one brush' affairs resulting in limited visibility within target markets, or cannibalisation of strategy from within. This can be a result of various individual geographic stakeholders or a one size fits all approach, something which given the afore mentioned complexities can result in fragmented visibility, lack of targetting and potentially a campaign that is not able to feed itself (ROI wise) - ultimately not something any advertiser is going to want in such trying times. To get the best out of any European search campaign - it is worth taking the time to understand your target markets, what makes them tick and their individual differences.

Search in Europe is an exciting place to be at the moment. It offers a challenge to search marketers not rivaled anywhere else in the World - Why would I want to swap anything for that?

  • Comments (2)
  • SEO
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Comments (2)


  • Welcome Peter! Very good explanation of the European search market, it indeed is one of the most complicated markets to operate in.

    I might use some of it in my own article, as i am partly writing the same stuff at the moment :)

    Di 20 jan 2009, 22:23

    • Peter Young

    Thanks Dennis. Despite all the doom and gloom round the economy at the moment, I personally think Search and SEO in particular is still fairly buoyant (in the UK at least).

    A forum such as this is interesting as I think it gives a more holistic European perspective on search - something I don't think you will find anywhere else...

    Wo 21 jan 2009, 10:12


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