PPC – Search marketing: Evolving roles, responsibilities, challenges

PPC - Search marketing: Evolving roles, responsibilities, challenges


Search marketers design, run and optimize campaigns – and rely heavily on spreadsheets to successfully do their jobs, according to a new Search Engine Land survey.

Why we care. Although search marketers have several responsibilities and face a variety of challenges related to their roles and the technology they use, our survey shows that the majority of search marketers are satisfied with their work.

The biggest responsibilities for search marketers. Designing, running and optimizing campaigns is the responsibility that falls onto most search marketers, either directly or through their team, according to our survey.

At the director level and higher, 81% of marketers said designing, running and optimizing campaigns was their top responsibility. For managers/staff, the number was 67%.

The next three responsibilities for all respondents were the same (though the percentages varied based on the role):

  • Designing and managing internal workflows and processes.
  • Researching and recommending new marketing technology products.
  • Training and supporting marketing staff on using marketing technology products.

Here’s the full list of responsibilities we asked about:

Search marketers live in spreadsheets. The overwhelming answer: spreadsheets. The question: Which marketing technology tools, if any, do you spend at least 10 hours a week working in?

Clearly, the higher you go in an organization, the more time you’ll find yourself spending in spreadsheets:

  • 87% for directors or higher roles.
  • 77% for managers/staff.

Spreadsheets beat out analytics, project management, content management, marketing automation and other types of marketing tools. Most of the tools were used similarly by both groups.

Marketing Tools 10 Hours Week

67% said churn increased. Remember the Great Resignation (a.k.a., the Great Reshuffle) of 2021? It was real. LinkedIn was inundated with updates about people moving onto their latest and greatest career opportunities. 

While career moves are great for the individual, they proved challenging for 67% of organizations in 2022.

Churn 2022

Churn increased significantly (31%) or moderately (36%), according to our respondents. 

Luckily, 33% of survey respondents said they didn’t notice an increase in churn in their organizations in 2022 compared to 2021.

Job satisfaction is high. Despite challenges and the ever-increasing complexity of search, 76% of search marketers are satisfied with their roles:

  • 25% said they are “extremely” satisfied.
  • 51% said they are “somewhat” satisfied. 
Search Marketer Role Satisfaction 800x390

Part of this satisfaction may tie into our previous section – several marketers have changed jobs in the past two years. You would hope those who have changed jobs (or those who haven’t) are currently satisfied where they work and find their day-to-day duties rewarding.

Meanwhile, 13% were either “somewhat” or “not” satisfied with their current role. The remaining 11% were neutral.

Methodology. We surveyed 510 marketers between Jan. 11 to 23; 413 of those provided salary information. Invitations to take the survey were amplified on and by Search Engine Land.

Nearly 67% of the 510 respondents live in North America; 20% live in Western Europe. The conclusions in this report are limited to responses from those individuals only. Others were excluded due to the limited number.

The survey had more than 20 questions related to career roles, salary, technology, job satisfaction and challenges/frustrations. Respondents were given the opportunity to reveal their age and gender.


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