BIA/Kelsey Finds 77.6% of Small Businesses Use Social Media for Marketing

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New research from the company's Local Commerce Monitor survey shows social media continues to grow as the dominant marketing channel for small business for third consecutive year; Findings to be presented at BIA/Kelsey NEXT, Dec 5-7th in Boston.

For the third consecutive year, social media is the top marketing channel used by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), according to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor (Wave 20/Q3 2016) survey of SMB advertisers. Among 1,000 SMBs surveyed, 77.6 percent (up from 73.2 percent last year) say they use social media to promote their businesses.

“SMBs are sophisticated in their use of social media as a key way to target and continue conversations with customers. They have moved beyond social presence to social ads and video,” said Celine Matthiessen, VP of Analysis and Insights, BIA/Kelsey. “Video on social is becoming more popular and our SMBs see the highest ROI of social channels from Snapchat and Video on Facebook and Twitter.”

As social media has become its own ecosystem, BIA/Kelsey's LCM survey measures usage of 14 different social media platforms, including four within Facebook and three within Twitter. SMB Facebook pages continue to dominate as the most popular social channel used by SMBs. However newer social entrants are growing quickly, especially Snapchat.

Among SMBs surveyed:

  • 45.0 percent Have a Facebook Page
  • 25.0 percent Use Facebook Ads
  • 24.2 percent Use LinkedIn
  • 23.9 percent Use Twitter

LCM 20 at BIA/Kelsey NEXT – Free Report for Attendees
BIA/Kelsey analysts will present data from LCM 20 to attendees of BIA/Kelsey NEXT: The Future of Local Digital Advertising and Marketing, which takes place December 5-7, 2016, in Boston. Social media will be a leading topic at the conference and LCM data will inform numerous conversations. Sessions of note include, "Case Study: How U-Haul is Moving Customers Through Social Media and Listings," "Local Investment is Trending Up... Way Up-Will It Pay Off?," and the BIA/Kelsey analyst session, "NEXT in Focus – Forecasting the Future & Setting the Stage for BIA/Kelsey NEXT."

Conference attendees will receive a free copy of a brand new LCM 20 report titled, “Planning and Budgeting for 2017: Guidance from BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ (LCM) Study.” This report includes data and top-level recommendations for specific functional areas within SMB service provider organizations.

To attend the conference and receive the free LCM 20 report, register online at

Local Commerce Monitor™ Survey & Methodology
Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) is BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses conducted online with research partner Henne Group. Since 1999, the survey has measured where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving.

LCM Wave 20 (LCM20) tracks 55+ different media and platforms used by SMBs for advertising, marketing and promotion. The media fall into 10 top-level categories: online, traditional, mobile, local coupons, social, video, broadcast, local directories, giveaway items and community sponsorships.

This year’s survey has been expanded to a larger sample size, diversified across categories, market types and age cohorts, and features more verticals, offering more granular findings. The questionnaire included new questions covering additional services (cloud services and automated marketing); more concise mapping of products to channels; tactical sales information (best days and day parts to make sales calls); reasons for preferring DIY models; and factors that determine advertising and marketing budget.

For this study, SMB is defined as a business having from 1 to 100 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. LCM20 was conducted in July 2016 via an online survey of 1,000 SMBs. The LCM Wave 20 findings have been weighted to reflect the incidence of SMBs by size bracket, according to the SMB size bracket data provided by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. More details on the LCM survey can be found on the company's website:

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