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As we prepare for our annual September conference (watch out, New Orleans) we are starting to release the data from our Wave 18 Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) survey, just “in from the field” a few weeks ago.

The data we released Monday morning (which BTW you may have heard on the Wall Street Journal morning broadcast, or seen in the industry press) focused on our new findings about the use of social media by SMBs.

According to our new findings, three-quarters (74.5%) of SMBs in our survey reported using social media to advertise or promote their business. This represents the largest reach of any media category.

Not only does social media get the #1 rank for reach, but for the first time, social media also gets the #1 rank for share of media spend by SMBs. LCM respondents reported that 21.4% of their total media spending in the past 12 months went to social media, more than to any other media category. (The LCM survey covers 10 different top-level media categories, of which the social media category contains 11 different social media and platforms.)

This is a “double first” for social media, in which social media has achieved the highest reach and greatest spend of all media categories. This is something we haven’t seen before, and represents a key milestone in the history of SMB media spending.

Not surprisingly, Facebook had the strongest showing within the social media category, with 55.1% of respondents reporting they have a Facebook page for business use. At the same time, strong showings by other social platforms demonstrated that the strength in the social space is disbursed across multiple players. The other social platforms that beat our expectations for reach and/or spend include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter’s promoted tweets product.

Additional data from the LCM survey will be provided at our upcoming LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing Conference, and to BIA/Kelsey clients throughout the year.

LCM Wave 18 Social Media Usage

About our LCM survey: We’ve run the LCM survey since 1999. Wave 18, just completed, had a total of 546 respondents, consisting of two sub-groups of small and large SMB spenders. The metrics reported above represent averages for the two sub-groups. The survey sample consists a broad cross-section of US SMBs, diversified by category, geography, size and market type. The survey is conducted online by our research partner Ipsos.

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