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March 10, 2011

2011 Outlook:
SMBs Become Everybody's New Best Friend - Mar '11

Overview

Local media companies looking for greener pastures have turned to Main Street shops, hoping to find gold. Companies like Groupon went from zero to more than $400 million in a year’s time just by targeting smaller businesses – sending everyone else rushing in to sell deals-type programs, hyperlocal banner ads, search engine optimization, and everything else under the digital sun. In our survey of 2,872 small and medium size businesses (SMBs), we found that they plan to increase their ad budgets 4.5% this year, but their online budgets 29%. The biggest gainers: email and social media advertising, including spending on their own websites. While 86% of SMBs reported having a website last year, that’s expected to go to 91% in 2011 – meaning there are very few left without a web presence. The big question now is how to gain attention, which is where local media companies come to play. This 55-page report delivers insights into SMB spending habits both online and offline, as well as their intentions in increasing spending. It also offers an appendix detailing how 35 SMB categories – from auto-repair shops to restaurants to sporting goods stores – are spending online, including how much each spends on banners, email, video, and paid search.

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It used to be that an expensive lunch, a round of golf or even a deep-sea fishing expedition was all it took to ply big bucks from advertisers. But now that the bigger advertisers seem reticent to buy on relationship and more interested in discussing ROI, the greener pastures are with those once-overlooked smaller advertisers. And they’ve quickly become everybody’s new best friends.

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