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Search Engine Marketing Top Priority for Majority of Higher-Spending SMBs

Nov 5, 2014

Google, Microsoft, Infogroup among the industry leaders set to examine the latest innovations and trends in search marketing at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming LEADING IN LOCAL: Interactive Local Media conference, Dec. 3-5, in San Francisco

CHANTILLY, Va. (Nov. 5, 2014) – A majority (60.6 percent) of higher-spending small and medium-sized businesses (SMB Plus Spenders) rated search engine advertising and marketing (SEM, SEO, and pay-per-click) as an “extremely high” or “very high” priority for the next 12 months, according BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ (LCM 18), an ongoing study of the advertising behaviors of SMBs. BIA/Kelsey defines SMB Plus Spenders as small-business marketers that spend more than $25,000 annually on advertising and promotion. On average, these SMB Plus Spenders spend nearly $79,000 annually on advertising and promotion.

Among the SMB Plus Spenders surveyed, 20.7 percent reported using pay-per-click advertising in the previous 12 months, holding steady compared with 19.6 percent in 2013.

“The LCM findings indicate small businesses want to improve on the ability for consumers to discover them,” said Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey. “SEM, SEO, and pay per click are fundamental to achieving this goal, particularly with the growth of mobile search.”

According to BIA/Kelsey’s U.S. Local Media Forecast 2015, local search revenues are expected to reach $7.2 billion in 2015, up from $7.1 billion in 2014. The forecast also indicates local mobile search will account for more than half (51.1 percent) of mobile ad spending in 2015.

BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming LEADING IN LOCAL: Interactive Local Media conference, Dec. 3-5, in San Francisco, will feature a number of sessions focused on the latest local search solutions and trends, including:

  • Google at LEADING IN LOCAL – Part I: Building Blocks for the Local Ecosystem. Which building blocks will prove most successful for local marketers? Google executives will discuss their efforts and ambitions, including how they work with partners and end users. Speakers include Christine Merritt, Head of Premier SMB Partnerships, Channel Sales North America, Google and Ben Wood, Americas Director, Channel Sales, Google.
  • Local Mobile Search on the Cutting Edge. Local search has evolved tremendously, as search has been enhanced by intelligent personal assistants (Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana) and broadly integrated with social media, mapping and other features. This session will dig into the latest local mobile search trends. Speakers include Kelly Thomas Nojaim, Director, Bing Advertising, Microsoft; Grant Wernick, CEO, Weotta; and Ken Weyel, Director, Global, Bing Advertising, Microsoft.
  • The Evolution of Local Listings. The local listings business is changing quickly. Listings not only help local businesses get found, but engage customers via location maps, products and brands, promotions, testimonials and other features. In this session, Infogroup’s Chief Data Officer Matt Graves will highlight what’s had the greatest impact, and where listings are going.
  • Getting Ahead with Local Search, 2015. What are the best SEO and SEM strategies for local search, circa 2015? Which features really matter, which ones don’t, and what’s the most effective “buy” for local businesses? Speakers include Bernadette Coleman, President and CEO, Advice Interactive Group; Edwin Nissanoff, VP of Brand Sales, Local Market Launch; and Damian Rollison, VP, Product and Technology, UBL.

More information about the conference, including the complete agenda, list of speakers and online registration, is available online at:

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 Ipsos. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving.

The survey covers 50 different media and platforms used by SMBs for advertising and promotion. These media fall into 10 top-level media categories: online (e.g., search, display ads, blogs); traditional (e.g., direct mail, newspapers); mobile (e.g., search, SMS, display); local coupons (print and online); social (e.g., Facebook, Twitter); video (e.g., website videos, YouTube); broadcast; local directories (print and online); giveaway items; and community sponsorships.

Updates to this wave of the survey questionnaire included additions to the list of media (such as Pinterest, Instagram, streaming audio and promoted Tweets), as well as additional questions to cover social engagement, click fraud, agency relationships, use of mobile devices in-store, customer incentives and use of transaction data.

For this study, SMB is defined as a business having from 1 to 99 employees. Local Commerce Monitor draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, primarily based on first- and second-tier markets. Local Commerce Monitor Wave 18 was conducted in July 2014 via an online survey of 546 SMBs. The sample consists of two sub-samples, a Core group (SMBs that spend under $25,000 annually on media) and a Plus Spenders group (SMBs that spend over $25,000 annually on media). In Wave 18, there were 300 in the Core group and 246 in the Plus Spenders group.

About BIA/Kelsey

BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through consulting and valuation services, research and forecasts, Custom 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 ( Stay connected by subscribing to the firm’s bi-monthly newsletter.

For more information contact:

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