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The average annual advertising spend by Core* SMBs has been eroding slightly over the past few years. BIA/Kelsey’s attributes the drop to two main causes: increased use of digital media and increased use of social media. At the same time, the average number of media used by Core SMBs has increased, going from 5.0 in Wave 18 (Q3/2014) to 5.9 in Wave 19 (Q3/2015). While Core SMBs’ use of digital and social media is increasing, the lower price point of these media channels, we believe, is causing the lower ad spending.


Plus Spender* SMBs’ average annual advertising spend, on the other hand, has remained fairly consistent. We believe that these SMBs have large enough advertising budgets that they are using managed services, “professional help and powerful tools,” which results in high ROI (return on investment) for their actions. While these higher spending SMBs are also using the lower priced digital media heavily, they are plowing those savings back into additional media advertising.

As with Core SMBs, the average number of media used by Plus Spenders has been increasing, growing form 10.9 in Wave 18 to 12.9 in Wave 19.



*In our Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) survey we look at small businesses in two distinct groups: Core and Plus Spender SMBs. Core SMBs’ annual advertising spend is less than $25,000 and they have an average of  5.5 employees. Plus Spenders SMBs’ annual advertising spend is more than $25,000 and they have an average of 20.9 employees.


The latest Core SMB and Plus Spender SMBs decks are available for purchase in the BIA/Kelsey eStore. We’re offering both Trend decks (24 data charts plus 4 pages of commentary) and full-sized Reports (nearly 60 data charts plus full firmographics) for sale.

CAS Clients can download the Trend decks from the client portal here.


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