Press Release

Small Businesses Plan to Allocate One-Quarter (26%) of Ad Budgets to Digital Media Over Next 12 Months
Research indicates SMBs are gravitating to video, social media and self-serve advertising; findings and implications will be presented at ILM East, March 26-28, Boston

CHANTILLY, Va.. (Feb. 28, 2012) – Small businesses continue to gravitate to digital/online media, particularly to self-serve advertising and promotional tools, including video, social media and search engine marketing (SEM), according to the latest wave of Local Commerce Monitor, BIA/Kelsey's 15-year tracking study of SMB advertising spending, media usage, Web presence and sales channels. SMBs surveyed in LCM Wave 15 reported they plan to allocate 26 percent of their budgets to digital/online media over the next 12 months.

“SMBs continue to get more focused and precise about how they use and analyze their advertising and marketing budgets,” said Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey. “We continue to see a powerful pattern in usage of digital/online media according to the age of the business. Younger businesses spend much more of their ad budgets on digital/online media than their older counterparts that spend more on traditional media.”

According to LCM Wave 15, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) reported they purchase online advertising (including SEM products) themselves, directly from a website, either with or without live operator assistance. More than half (52 percent) of LCM respondents reported they use social media to promote their businesses, and 22 percent said they plan to have a video on YouTube in the next 12 months.

“The LCM data show SMBs love the easy-to-use tools, like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and self-serve advertising,” said Matt Booth, senior vice president and program director, Interactive Local Media, BIA/Kelsey. “Our analysis is that we are on the verge of a real revolution in marketing platforms that serve SMBs, in particular around digital presence.”

BIA/Kelsey analysts will pull back the covers on the LCM data during Interactive Local Media East (ILM East), March 26-28, in Boston. Among the sessions at ILM East that align with the trends revealed in LCM Wave 15 are:

  • “Local Business Success: Picking Winners,” in which a panel of experts will offer their thoughts on the local business solutions that will make a difference in 2012
  • “The Boom in Local Social Media,” which will cover the direct connection between social platforms and customer engagement and sales
  • “VidLoMo: Integrating Video Into Local Marketing,” which will discuss how video remains the under-leveraged element in the local digital equation
  • “The ROI With Facebook, Social Media and Local,” in which MIT Professor Catherine Tucker, an international authority on using data to guide marketing and advertising decisions, will offer expert insight into what is relevant in social media for local marketers

“Proprietary research like LCM and our local media forecasts provide the distinctive context that attracts a global audience of executive-level decision makers from across the local media landscape to ILM East,” said Tom Buono, CEO, BIA/Kelsey. “The data and analysis we’ll be presenting, combined with the insights of the knowledgeable speakers on the agenda, will generate some tremendous takeaways for attendees.”

BIA/Kelsey will preview the research and trends to be presented at ILM East during a free webinar on Thursday, March 1, at 2 p.m. ET. To view an on-demand version of the webinar and/or the slide deck, click now.

About ILM East

Featured speakers include Ted Leonsis, CEO, Monumental Sports and Entertainment; Leslie Berland, vice president, social media strategy, American Express; Jay Herratti, CEO, CityGrid Media; Christine Merritt, head of business development, channel sales North America, Google; Michael Silberman, general manager, digital media, New York Media; and Michael Zimbalist, vice president, research and development operations, The New York Times Co.

ILM East sponsors include Acxiom, Agendize, Apptus, Axiom, goMobi, Infycosm, Localeze, Microsoft Advertising, Mongoose Metrics,, TrafficMedia, vSplash and Where Ads. Conference association partners include the Local Search Association (LSA) and Web Marketing Association (WMA). Media partners include GigaOM, Search Marketing Standard Magazine, Topseos, The Next Web (TNW) and Visibility Magazine. For more information about ILM East, including the complete agenda, list of speakers and companies attending, visit

About Local Commerce Monitor

Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) is BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses conducted online with research partner ConStat since 1999. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. LCM draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, which include first- and second-tier markets. LCM Wave 15 was conducted in November 2011 via an online survey of 300 SMBs.

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through consulting and valuation services, research, Continuous Advisory Services and conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directory markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey’s annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at, on the company’s Local Media Watch blog, Twitter ( and Facebook (

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Eileen Pacheco
For BIA/Kelsey
(508) 888-7478

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