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50 Percent of Higher Spending Small Businesses Plan to Maintain Current Ad Spend In 2018 And Increase Allocation of Budget To Digital, According To New BIA/Kelsey Advertiser Survey

Oct 31, 2017

New research shows sponsorships/giveaways and mobile channels will have the largest increase in usage while broadcast and cable will experience the biggest declines.  

CHANTILLY, Va. (Oct. 31, 2017) – Half of higher spending small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to maintain their current ad spend in 2018, according to the new wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ (LCM) completed in the third quarter of 2017. The SMBs surveyed report they intend to allocate 62.2 percent of their budget to digital media to promote their businesses, an increase of six percent from 2015.

“For the first time in two years, advertisers we classify as ‘plus spenders,’ – those spending more than $25,000 each year on advertising – are not planning to increase their ad spend in 2018,” said Celine Matthiessen, VP Analytics and Insights, BIA/Kelsey. “Instead, they are increasing their use of lower cost digital media to maintain spend.”

lcm-plusspenderspendThe LCM survey reveals the marketing share of plus spenders is rapidly evolving to include less expensive advertising channels like digital, social and mobile that are capable of targeting customers. For 2018, sponsorship/giveaway and mobile channels are both projected to increase in usage while broadcast and cable will show the biggest declines.

“Over 85 percent of Plus Spender advertisers indicated they are already using some form of mobile advertising, and they intend to increase that usage next year by focusing on areas such as mobile search, mobile websites and mobile display,” commented Matthiessen.

Within mobile, location-aware advertising is showing the most growth, perhaps because of its perceived benefit. Nearly half of respondents who use location-aware mobile advertising gave it an ROI of excellent (10-19x) or extraordinary (20x).

Reports detailing the advertising intentions of Plus Spenders (those spending more than $25,000/year) and Core advertisers (those spending less than $25,000/year) are available for purchase. Subscribers of the firm’s BIA ADVantage can view the research from the online dashboard found here.

Local Commerce Monitor™ Survey & Methodology

Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) is BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing survey of small and medium-sized businesses. Now in its 21st wave, the survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving.

The newest wave was conducted the third quarter of 2017 and had a heavier influence on business tools, future spend by product, use of marketing automation and online platforms, as well as tracking for the type of online advertising purchase through traditional media channels.

Respondents are marketing spend decision makers who have certified they are the person most responsible for, or having primary influence in, deciding how their business advertises or promotes. The data are weighted to reflect the business census distribution of small businesses by employee count.  The data also closely represents the distribution of small businesses by size of market. The survey is executed by an independent research firm using a panel of highly engaged small businesses.

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey (@BIAKelsey) combines data, analytics and insights to provide its clients with the information they need for grounded financial and strategic action. Since 1983, BIA/Kelsey has been a valuable resource for many of the leading companies in media and the financial and legal community serving media and telecom, as well as the FCC and other government agencies. Today, BIA/Kelsey offers a broad range of research, consulting services and conferences to traditional and new media companies. Learn more about BIA/Kelsey at

Additional information is available at, on the company’s Local Media Watch blogTwitter, and Facebook. Sign up for the company’s newsletter Local Media Daily, that covers different areas of media and technology.

Media Contacts:
MacKenzie Lovings
(703) 802-2991

Robert Udowitz
(703) 621-8060