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Small Businesses Shift Marketing Spend to Digital

SMB owners move their dollars to mobile, social, video and search

March 3, 2017

US SMBs are planning to spend more on social media marketing in 2017. But it’s not just social channels that are seeing more marketing dollars. According to research from Thrive Analytics, more SMBs plan to invest a bigger portion of their overall marketing budgets in digital formats—thanks, in part, to growing economic optimism.

The January 2017 study found that 40% of US SMBs said they plan to increase spending on digital media. Meanwhile, 30% of respondents said they plan to increase spending on traditional media.

Change in Digital* vs. Traditional** Media Spending According to US SMBs, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

When examining which formats will benefit from this increase in digital marketing spending, mobile, digital video and paid search were key areas of focus. More than 50% of SMBs said they plan to increase spending on mobile ads or marketing, while another 48% planned to boost spending on online video. Paid search tied for third place with event marketing, at 47% of respondents.

Marketing Channels for Which US SMBs Expect to Increase Their Budget in 2017 (% of respondents)

Thrive Analytics isn’t the first company to point out a trend toward growing digital marketing spend among US SMBs. A December 2017 study from Infusionsoft also found that digital channels—including social media (56.2%), digital advertising (32.6%) and SEO (31.5%)—would see increases in 2017.

The sudden surge in SMBs’ digital marketing spending is not without precedent. Some news sources are reporting that small-business owners are increasingly optimistic about the current economic climate, which may be giving them more confidence to spend on promotion and acquiring new customers.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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