Survey: Social and mobile are top drivers of new small business digital spending

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Almost three-fourths of small businesses (70 percent) say they’re going to increase digital marketing investments this year. The primary driver is social media, followed by mobile.

This data comes from a new survey of 200 small businesses by GetResponse. The majority (71 percent) of the survey respondents had fewer than 100 employees.

When asked specifically where their money would go, these business decision-makers said:

  1. Marketing on social networks (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) — 59.2 percent
  2. Mobile marketing (app, web and so on) — 50 percent
  3. Email marketing — 42.3 percent
  4. Video production — 28.2 percent
  5. Content creation and management — 26.1 percent
  6. Search marketing (including paid search) — 26.1 percent
  7. Data collection and analytics — 23.2 percent
  8. Corporate website maintenance, development — 22.8 percent
  9. Commerce experiences (marketing-led) — 15.5 percent
  10. Other — 2.5 percent

Two caveats: 1) the small sample size (200) warrants some caution before generalizing; and 2) about 30 percent of these businesses have more than 100 employees. It’s not clear where the remaining 70 percent fall on the head-count spectrum.

The vast majority of US small business (90+ percent) have fewer than four employees. Accordingly, these results may not be representative of the larger small business population.

Having said all that, the spending priorities are pretty consistent with other similar surveys I’ve seen. Two exceptions are that other surveys have tended to show a higher priority placed on SEO, as well as website improvements. The low ranking of “corporate website maintenance, development” in this survey suggests these are larger entities that already have fairly effective websites.

It’s not surprising at all that social and mobile (often overlapping) are the top channels for new spending. This is a response to changes in consumer behavior. Whether these investments are actually made — in contrast to the stated intention to make them — is an open question.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.


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