SMB Online Budgets Going to E-Mail, SEM, and Social Marketing

January 5, 2012

borrell-online-marketing-spend-of-smbs-for-2012-jan12.gifEmail marketing (17.4%), search engine marketing / key word purchase (15.1%), and social media marketing (13.7%) will make up the top 3 areas of spending for SMBs in the coming year, according to [download page] a January 2012 report from Borrell Associates. Business directory listings (12%) is the only other category projected for a double-digit share of online ad spending mix. Banner/display ads – targeted display (8.5%), streaming video ads (8%), and banner/display ads – run of site (7.2%) follow, with mobile advertising (5.5%) and sponsorships (5.1%) relatively less significant. Audio ads are projected to hold just 3.1% of this year’s spending mix.

Car Dealers Have Highest SocNet Usage

On average, 63.4% of SMBs reported maintaining a social network site or page as of August 2011, led by the auto sales (76.6%), retail (66%), and service (65.3%) categories. By contrast, healthcare-related companies (53.3%) were far less likely to use a social site, with the real estate (63.3%) category also slightly below the average.

New Customers Most Important Metric

Data from “Main Street Goes Social” indicates new customers (57.7%) to be the most widespread metric by which SMBs measure the success of their social marketing programs. Although this is a popular metric, according to a survey released in December 2011 by Zoomerang in partnership with GrowBizMedia, the top 3 ways SMBs plan to attract customers this year are through word-of-mouth (25%), repeat business (25%), and advertising and marketing (22%), while social media will be the primary source of customer attraction to only 11%.

According to the Borrell study, other significant social media marketing metrics among SMBs include additional fans, friends, and followers (45.6%), increased social network page visits (44.2%), increased website visits (44.2%), and new e-mail contacts (43.4%). Increased sales volume (37.6%) and lead generation (33.2%) appear towards the bottom of the list, only ahead of increased Tweet responses (10.2%).

Other Findings

  • Borrell projects that among all US businesses, the total amount of spending allocated to social media in 2011 was about 11% of all online spending.
  • Of online social media spending, 68.5% was projected spent on advertising, with the remaining 31.5% on promotions.

About the Data: Borrell Associates surveyed more than 4,000 SMBs between January and August 2011.

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