LONDON: Paid search accounts for 24% of the total marketing budget of the average UK business, according to a new report, and that proportion is likely to increase in the coming months.

The UK Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report 2013, from Econsultancy, the insights group, and NetBooster, the digital marketing agency, was based on a survey of more than 750 companies and agencies which asked respondents about the division of marketing budgets into the search, social media and display categories.

It found that paid search took 24% of the budget, followed by SEO on 18%, while social media and display both took 11%.

Econsultancy noted that 55% of respondents expected their paid search budgets to increase over the next 12 months and suggested this category could take an even larger share of the total in 2014.

SEO and social spending budgets were also forecast to rise by 51% of those surveyed, while 42% anticipated spending more on display advertising.

A quarter of respondents spent less than £10,000 a year on paid search, while 36% spent between £10,000 and £100,000. A further 23% spent up to £1m and 17% spent between £1m and £5m.

Google was the main recipient of paid search spending, with 65% of companies surveyed having increased their PPC budget with the search giant this year, up from 59% in 2012.

But other search platforms benefited more, as 38% of businesses increased their spend with Microsoft/Yahoo in 2013, compared to 21% a year earlier. Other search platforms generally saw a comparable increase, from 13% to 29%.

The report also noted a growing trend towards the integration of paid search and display advertising. Fully 80% of agencies said their clients did so while 58% of in-house marketers reported some degree of integration between these disciplines.

Tom Ringel, group director business development at NetBooster, remarked on an 11% decline in automated bidding which he attributed to the increased complexity of Google AdWords.

"Technology is more and more a mandatory part of our work but no longer the focus when it comes to being ahead of the competition," he observed.

Data sourced from Econsultancy; additional content by Warc staff