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Social Networks Most Popular Media for UK Small Businesses with Local Newspapers and Email a Joint Second

Oct 28, 2013

Local Commerce Monitor UK study reveals UK SMBs use more than 5 different types of media to engage with customers

CHANTILLY, Va. (Oct. 28, 2013) – Social Media channels have registered big gains in usage among UK SMBs during the past 12 months, according to the second wave of the BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor UK™ (LCM: UK), the company’s ongoing study of the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Over 40 percent (41.3%) of respondents to the online survey reported using Facebook, while LinkedIn (26.7%) and Twitter (22.3%) have also gained in penetration. Benefitting from the maturing technologies of social platforms, more than one half of UK SMBs say they are “extremely” or “very engaged” with customers on social media.

The survey also shows that UK SMBs are using a wide variety of media, both traditional and digital, for their advertising and marketing, with an average of more than five different media being chosen. Facebook is the most popular; however, local newspapers are a joint second along with email marketing (each 30.7%). Local press also marginally wins out as being top in terms of actual pounds spent.

“This second wave of the survey reveals US and UK usage of new media — various online formats, including social — has become more aligned than disparate,” said Rick Ducey, managing director, BIA/Kelsey. “In 2011, for instance, UK SMBs used more traditional media, such as classified directories, newspapers and magazines compared with SMBs in the US. Since then, UK SMBs have increased their digital media budgets, with social channels gaining in importance.”

The diverse mix of different media being used is reflected in a comparison of Waves 1 (2011) and 2 (2013) of LCM: UK. In 2013, survey respondents reported using the following media “to advertise or promote” their businesses:

  • Facebook: 41.3 percent, up from 35.1 percent in 2011
  • Local newspapers/magazines: 30.7 percent, down from 31.5 percent in 2011
  • Email: 30.7 percent, down from 33.4 percent in 2011
  • Twitter: 22.3 percent, up from 18.2 percent in 2011
  • Online classified directories: 14.0 percent, down from 33.1 percent in 2011
  • Print classified directories: 11.3 percent, down from 32.1 percent in 2011
  • Pay per click (PPC): 8.0 percent, down from 13 percent in 2011

“The findings from this survey provide companies that want to sell to, or increase their penetration with, SMBs valuable insights into the UK local media market,” said Paul Plant, UK development director, BIA/Kelsey. “A comparison of the first and second waves of LCM: UK gives companies a view of how trends are developing, particularly in emerging areas such as social, mobile and website development, so they can better understand the drivers, expectations and future plans of their prospects.”

In addition to tracking the marketing behaviors of SMBs, the latest wave of LCM: UK measures other activities around an expanded set of topics, including:

  • ROI assessment of media by type
  • Tracking – sources of business leads
  • Loyalty programs
  • Daily Deals
  • Reputation management and monitoring
  • Channels used to purchase media
  • Types of mobile marketing used
  • Ecommerce and mobile payments
  • Use of cloud-based services
  • Future marketing priorities

The LCM: UK survey is an extension of BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing Local Commerce Monitor survey series, which has been conducted online annually in the US for more than 14 years. The LCM: UK report contains multiple data charts covering all aspects of SMB media and marketing services buying behavior. Custom cuts of the data are available. Visit for further details, including the details on the report contents, executive summary and ordering information.

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About Local Commerce Monitor and LCM: UK

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 UK (LCM: UK) is an extension of the LCM survey and provides a granular snapshot of current media usage, behaviors and conditions in the United Kingdom. The survey was conducted online in July 2013. The sample consisted of 300 small businesses in the UK, drawn from a cross-section of the UK, so as not to be dominated by the Greater London area. The sample also included a substantial number of “solo” businesses, with 32 percent of respondents reporting just one full-time employee in their business (including themselves).

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