According to the "US SEM Executive Survey, 2007" report, from JupiterResearch, two-thirds of search marketers expect to increase their spending this year.

Only 7% of search marketers expect to decrease spending, and 28% expect no change.

Change in Search Marketing Spending Planned for this Year by US Search Marketing Executives, 2007 (% of respondents)

"Very few people are dissatisfied with search, and the ones that are tend to be smaller advertisers managing less than 1,000 keywords," said Kevin Heisler of Jupiter in a ClickZ interview. "We see many advertisers getting more aggressive with their spending, especially agencies. They’ve figured out what makes search so successful, and are content with the ROI."

According to search engine agencies surveyed by Intellisurvey and Radar Research for the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, in 2006 the average search marketer spent a little more than $138,000 for paid placement ads. However, the largest client spent more than $2 million.

Average and Largest Client Spending in 2006 on Search Engine Marketing according to Search Engine Agencies Worldwide, by Type, December 2006 (gross spending)

Paid search is the largest component of search marketing, and is currently the key driver of US online advertising. eMarketer estimates that spending on paid search in 2008 will reach $10.2 billion. That is more than the $9.6 billion that was spent on all online advertising in 2004.

For 2010, when eMarketer forecasts US paid search spending at $14.21 billion, four other researchers come in below that estimate and five above.

Comparative Estimates: US Paid Search Advertising Spending, 2006-2011 (billions)

Via eMarketer