Study: Small Businesses Will Grow Online Advertising, E-Commerce Industries

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) in North America spent upwards of $7.5 billion on online advertising during 2008, driving a third of the total North American online advertising market. While growth in 2009 is expected to be fairly flat, SMBs will likely continue to fuel online advertising spending growth for years to come, according to AMI’s new study, “North America SMBs Transition to Online Marketing,” which provides a perspective on SMBs’ usage of various advertising media, web hosting, e-commerce and related tools and technologies.

“Only one in five North American SMBs currently advertises online—most advertise in local yellow pages and newspapers and magazines,” says Deepinder Sahni, SVP with AMI-Partners. “However, SMBs are starting to adopt online advertising, with some verticals such as manufacturing and professional services more involved than others.

“Local print media is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon as the majority of SMBs generate revenues locally, thus making local branding, awareness and sales enablement a key requirement. But the current economic environment is forcing business owners to take a hard look at the effectiveness of their media budgets and seriously consider including more targetable media options.”

The report also shows website deployment has been very strong; seven in 10 SMBs already have a web site. But few have gone ahead and leveraged their online presence into meaningful business. Less than 25 percent have deployed any form of e-commerce, and even fewer have deployed credit-card processing mechanisms.

Yet, SMBs expect business generated via online channels to increase by 10 percent year-over-year. “Clearly, helping SMBs reach their desired financial goals by optimizing their online presence remains a vast untapped growth opportunity,” says Sahni. “Service providers need to reach out in a very targeted manner and communicate crisp, believable financial outcomes for SMBs that will invest in a well defined e-commerce roadmap.”

For more information about this study, contact AMI-Partners at 212 944-5100, e-mail [email protected] or visit

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