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Small Businesses Spend More on Social Media Than Any Other Media Category, According to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor

Sep 15, 2014

Findings will be presented at the LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing conference, Sept. 22-24, in New Orleans

CHANTILLY, Va. (Sept. 15, 2014) – In the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s “Local Commerce Monitor” (LCM 18, July 2014), an ongoing study of the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), 74.5 percent of SMBs reported using social media to promote their businesses—more than any other category of media.

Facebook dominates SMB usage, with 55.1 percent of SMBs reporting they have a Facebook page for business use, and 20.0 percent reporting they have run a Facebook ad or promoted post. At the same time, strong showings by other platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter’s promoted tweets, indicate the social space is highly robust for SMB marketing.

“It’s evident from LCM 18 that social media has become a pivotal platform for SMBs,” said Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey. “Social media is not only number one in terms of utilization by SMBs, it is also number one in share of SMB media spending.”

Indeed, SMBs reported spending 21.4 percent of their total media budget on social media in the past 12 months, according to LCM 18.

The survey covers over 35 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 (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.

BIA/Kelsey custom advisory service clients will have access to the Local Commerce Monitor Wave 18 Client Briefing later this month. The LCM 18 survey report is available for purchase in its entirety or by media category. For details on purchasing LCM, contact Steve Passwaiter at or (703) 818-2425.

LCM 18 at LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing

BIA/Kelsey will present findings from LCM 18 at its upcoming LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing conference, which takes place Sept. 22-24, in New Orleans. LCM 18 highlights will be presented during the BIA/Kelsey welcome session on Day 1, and BIA/Kelsey clients will get a deeper look at the data during an exclusive briefing session. The study’s findings will also help illuminate a number of discussions throughout the 2½-day program, including:

  • Keynotes by Kevin Ryan, Co-Author, ‘Taking Down Goliath: Beating Competitors With 100X Your Spending Power’ and Dan Roarty, VP, Local Products, Groupon
  • SMBs On Stage With Yelp: What Works in Digital Marketing?
  • #NewParadigm: Social Media’s Shift of SMB Marketing & Commerce
  • Leveling the Playing Field for SMB Retail Promotions
  • SMBs and Shifts in Local Search and Discovery
  • Beyond Advertising: SMBs, Loyalty and Promotions

For more information on the conference, including the complete agenda, list of speakers and online registration, 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 Ipsos. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving.

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.


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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