Trend: Despite Broad Consumer Adoption, Small Businesses Unsure About Mobile Advertising

Fact: The greatest digital marketing opportunity in 2012-2013 is in the mobile space. Right..? Wrong. According to recent multiple studies, a significant number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aren’t so positive about that opportunity, aren’t sure what mobile marketing is all about and don’t see enough value in it to boost their investment.  A surprisingly low 20 percent of SMBs surveyed in BIA/Kelsey’s recent Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) study indicated that they had some experience with mobile marketing, and, according to Borrell Associates, just 27 percent of SMBs plan to increase their mobile spend next year. Borrell surveyed 1,300 SMBs as a part of their survey, while BIA/Kelsey’s LCM study used survey results from 4,000 businesses that spent at least $25,000 a year on media advertising and promotion.


The findings fly in the face of what has become a consistent mantra by digital marketing pundits and companies: people are already on mobile and are poised to research and transact. eMarketer, in fact, estimates that 37 percent of the U.S. population will be using smartphones by the end of 2012, and Google recently claimed that up to 50 percent of their search traffic is for local information.

Key Points

–27 percent of SMBs plan to increase mobile spend
–49 percent want higher ROI
–20 percent have experience with mobile

So – even with broad and frantic consumer adoption, there’s a general lack of enthusiasm for mobile  advertising. What’s up? It may well be that smaller companies see mobile click fraud as a greater detriment to their marketing investment, and, in general, don’t see a healthy ROI from the exercise. Indeed, Borrell’s findings show that 49 percent say improved ROI would get them to invest more. There is also the issue of education: mobile advertising is not like “traditional” digital media and requires a different approach that emphasizes local relevance. YP, for instance, shows that local mobile ads work based within a 2 mile radius are 1.48 times more likely to click on an ad.

Source: BIA/KelseyBorrell AssociatesSearchEngineLand.comYP

–Brian Chee

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