‘Plus Spending SMBs’ Are Growing Their Ad Budgets


More than 60% of “Plus Spender” small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) intend to increase their advertising and marketing spending in 2017.

That’s a key finding from BIA/Kelsey‘s new Local Commerce Monitor research survey.

Now in its 20th wave, the survey sees BIA/Kelsey expanding the respondent count in this group while adding additional questions on ad spending plans.

“This group of higher spending SMBs continues to add media to their advertising mix and, on average, is now using 20.8 different media and platforms,” BIA/Kelsey reports. This includes a number of new online categories BIA/Kelsey is tracking for the first time.

The most recent wave was conducted during Q3 2016, and tracks the spending intentions of both “Plus Spenders” (defined as SMBs that spend at least $25,000 a year on advertising and promotions) and “Core Spenders” (categorized as SMBs that spend less than $25,000 a year on advertising and promotions).

“SMBs are benefiting from the lower costs of digital media, as well as the opportunity to do more of the implementation themselves,” said BIA/Kelsey VP/Analysis & Insights Celine Matthiessen. “The key takeaway for businesses pursuing this segment of SMBs is that they are investing the savings back into their advertising and marketing plans. This could potentially create more space for new types of digital services in areas like mobile and social, as well as continued spend on reliable traditional media advertising.”

Other key takeaways show that Plus Spender SMBs are split between preferring Do-It-Yourself digital advertising services (39%) and Do-It-With/For Me solutions (37%).

The top 10 media used for advertising and promotion by Plus Spender SMBs include, in order of usage:

  • Direct mail (66.3%)
  • IYP (61.8%)
  • Facebook (61.5%)
  • Website video (54.8%)
  • Community sponsorships (54.8%)
  • Facebook ads (54%)
  • E-mail (53.8%)
  • Giveaways (52.5%)
  • Cable (51.3%)
  • Magazines (48.3%)


When SMBs were asked which advertising results were the most important, the top three results ranked over 50%, indicating Plus Spender SMBs have specific ROI expectations:

  • E-mails (53%)
  • Website Traffic/Clicks (51.5%)
  • Phone Calls (50.5%)

“Considering the large number of media use, Plus Spender SMBs will inevitably continue to spend on traditional media, particularly in certain verticals, like auto dealers and furniture stores,” Matthiessen noted.

Results from BIA/Kelsey’s LCM Wave 20 survey will be profiled at LOCAL IMPACT Dallas during the session, “Getting Inside the Minds of SMB Advertisers.” Top findings from the survey, an an examination of Plus Spender and Franchise SMBs, will be conducted.

LOCAL IMPACT Dallas is set for April 5 at Aloft Dallas Downtown.