A new study by Forrester Research predicts that internet search engine marketing (SEM) across Europe will grow by 65% this year versus 2004, with revenues hitting €1.4 billion ($1.67bn; £962.4m).

Forrester defines SEM as "investment in the arena of commercial searches that include paid listings, contextual search, site optimisation and paid inclusions".

Pushing its Ouija board to the edge of the table, Forrester says that by 2010 such revenues will have soared to around €3 billion, fuelled by the desire of small and medium-sized firms to emulate larger businesses by adopting SEM as part of their marketing mix.

Predicts the researcher's consumer markets analyst Hellen Omwando: "Growing numbers of online shoppers, online advertising budgets and pay-for-performance search marketing models will attract both large and small firms.

"But while search spending will more than triple, its share in online advertising will decline by 2007, as consumer mistrust of paid listings takes effect, rich media ads gain prominence and prices of keywords rise."

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff