Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are responsible for more than half of the U.S. locally-targeted online ad spend, according to "Main Street Goes Interactive," a report from Borrell Associates. In total, SMB online ad spend ($6.8 billion in 2008) is accounting for 11 percent of their advertising budget - that's nearly triple what it was three years ago.
However, if you drill down, you will find out that an SMB definition of advertising includes money spent on their own websites - hinting that many are looking at their websites as one big advertisement, not a critical arm of their business. If that's the case, SMBs could be missing out on big opportunities to sell their products or services, rather than just have a logo and contact information on a static page.
Of those aggressively promoting their businesses online, the report shows that only 42 percent of respondents said that display advertising performed "strongly" for their business, while 56 percent felt strongly about search, and 80 percent about e-mail. Also on the rise for these companies is spending on search engine advertising, online directory listings and streaming video.