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BizReport : Social Marketing : January 09, 2012

Research: SMB social media use set to explode

The amount small and medium-sized businesses spend on social media is set to almost double this year, according to a new study released by market research firm Borrell Associates, catching up with paid search.

by Helen Leggatt

borrell socialmedia.JPGBorrell's "Main Street Goes Social" study found that SMBs will spend $2billion in 2012 on social marketing activity, up from $1.1billion in 2011.

Almost two-thirds (64.4%) of SMBs currently market themselves via social media sites, according to the Borrell report which is based on an online survey that ran January through August 2011 and attracted 4,271 respondents. That figure is expected to approach 80% during 2012.

Social media was ranked as the third online ad category among SMBs with 13.7% of online spend allocated, according to the survey, not far behind email marketing (17.4% of online ad spend) and search engine marketing (15.1%). The category ranked ahead of banner ads (8.5%), streaming video (8%) and mobile (5.5%).

So what metrics are SMBs using to ascertain their success with social? According to Borrell, over half (57%) use "new customers" as the key metric while "additional Fans, Friends and Followers" ranked second (45.6%) just ahead of "increased visits to business social network pages" (44.2%).

Social marketing expenditure by SMBs is expected reach $3.9billion in 2013.

Tags: email, marketing budget, online advertising, online spending, paid search, research, small business, SMB marketing, social media

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