Online Catching Up to Print in SMB Local Ad Spend

January 14, 2013

Borrell-SMB-Local-Ad-Spend-by-Medium-2013-v-2012-Jan2013SMBs will devote 26.6% of their local ad budgets to newspapers (18.6%) and other print media (8%) this year, finds Borrell Associates [download page], based on a survey of 1,756 SMBs in December 2012. That’s a slightly bigger piece of the pie than the 25.4% allocated to online ad spend. But, the gap has narrowed significantly from last year, when SMBs estimated spending 28.9% of their budgets on print media, compared to 21% on online ads.

Local newspapers and digital were the most common SMB ad buys last year, according to separate results from the report. 64% of respondents reported having purchased ads in local newspapers, slightly ahead of the proportion who had bought online ads (excluding mobile ”“ 62%).

SMBs devote a far larger portion of their local than national budgets to newspapers, while the reverse is true for online advertising. SMBs reported devoting 31% of their national ad budgets to online advertising in 2012, compared to 21% share of their local budgets. But newspapers commanded 20.1% of local budgets, compared to just 6.2% of national budgets.

Last year, respondents also allocated a greater share of their local than national budgets on radio (13.2% vs. 1.9%), local TV stations (12.4% vs. 5.7%), and directories (7.5% vs. 1.2%). Advertising media getting a bigger proportion of national budgets included direct mail (16.1% vs. 9.1%), print – other than newspapers (10.2% vs. 8.8%), cable TV (8% vs. 3.8%), and out-of-home (4% vs. 1.5%). Those same patterns are predicted to hold true this year.

All told, SMBs are planning to spend 7.5% more on advertising this year, upping their local spend slightly more than their national spend (8.2% vs. 7.1%). National ad budgets will still command a majority 63.6% share of total advertising budgets.

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