For the first time, the number of small and medium-sized businesses using digital/online media has surpassed the number using traditional media, according to the Kelsey Group.
The penetration of digital/online media increased to 77% in August 2009 from 73% in August 2008, while the penetration of traditional media fell to 69% from 74%. Penetration is defined as the percentage of SMBs using a given type of media, regardless of spending level.
The increase in penetration of online media occurred despite a 23% decline in overall SMB advertising spending, from $2,734 (reported in August 2008) to $2,092 (reported in August 2009). Digital/online spending, as a percentage of total expenditure, increased to nearly 37% in August 2009, from 22% in August 2008.
On average, SMBs increased spending on websites and profile pages nearly 27%, to $769 in 2009 from $608 in 2008.
Moreover, the proportion of SMBs that use the Internet to track or measure their sources of new-business leads has also increased, the study found. Among businesses that track lead sources, the percentage that does so using the Internet (clicks or emails) has increased from 22.0% in 2008 to 30.0% in 2009.
"The milestone of digital/online surpassing traditional media among SMBs is an indicator of the broad shift to online platforms," said Steve Marshal, director of research at the Kelsey Group.
About the data: Findings are from the Local Commerce Monitor, Wave XII, August 2009, an annual tracking survey of SMBs and media, conducted by BIA/Kelsey. Online participants in the nationwide survey included business owners and advertising and marketing decision-makers, representing industries such as home and trade services, professional services, and financial services. The study was cosponsored by ConStat.
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