Ad-​ology Study Shows That 30.5% of Small Business Advertisers Plan to Spend More in 2013

Small business owners and decision makers are fairly optimistic about revenue projections, with 92.5% expecting their revenue to be flat or up in 2013, according to the latest Small Business Marketing Forecast by Ad-​ology Research.

This annual study, now in its 5th year, also reveals that small business decision makers are investing their revenue back into advertising and marketing. 30.5% of SMBs who spend more than $1,000 on advertising plan to spend more in 2013 than they did in 2012.2013 Small Business Marketing Forecast_cover

For the third consecutive year, more than half of all small businesses are confident that their sales will increase,” says C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-​ology Research. “It’s also the third year in a row where more than 90% of small businesses say their advertising budget will remain flat or increase,” Smith adds.

20.5% of small businesses plan to increase their ad spend on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Most SMBs, however, have not yet adopted methods like promoted postings, sponsored tweets and social games/​contests.

More than half of small business advertisers say they market to their customers on a 1‑to‑1 basis. It stands to reason then that direct response and email marketing will take the largest share of many small business budgets in 2013.

Of the small businesses that use email marketing, many are using it heavily. 19.1% sent out email marketing messages 11 times or more in the past 12 months, and 9.1% have sent out 26 or more emails over the past year. Constant Contact and MailChimp are currently the most popular email marketing services for small businesses.

Mobile marketing will be increasingly important to small businesses in 2013,” Smith says. “30.5% of SMBs will use mobile advertising, apps or texting as part of their advertising due in part to its ability to geo-​target potential customers.”

Other forms of digital marketing will continue to grow in popularity among SMBs:

  • 23.4% of small businesses plan to increase their budget for website development
  • Optimizing their sites for search engines is a priority, with 20.5% planning for this activity in 2013
  • Although most small businesses do not currently take advantage of online/​mobile video, 12.2% indicate they plan to spend more money and/​or time on the medium in 2013

Marketing through daily deals, which as recently as a year ago was thought to be a very effective way for SMBs to advertise, has sharply declined. In fact, just 18% of small businesses plan to use firms like Groupon or Living Social as a way to advertise in 2013. That’s a drop of 67.7% in 12 months.

Please contact us if you would like further information about the study, charts or graphics related to the findings, or to schedule an interview with our CEO.


The Ad-​ology Research Small Business Marketing Forecast was conducted in October 26-​November 6, 2012. The sample size for this survey was 1,439 principal/​partial owners, sales managers, and advertising/​marketing managers of small and medium businesses across the United States with 100 employees or less.

This annual study is independently and solely conducted by Ad-​ology Research without funding from any third parties.


Ad-​ology Research focuses on the specific demographic, psychographic, geographic, or vertical market segments most likely to be your best customers and how to Advertise Smarter to them. Over 2,000 advertising agencies, media companies, and corporate marketing departments use Ad-​ology Research across North America.

Ad-​ology also provides a free compilation of marketing-​related forecasts at MarketingForecast​.com, the Marketing Forecast monthly video podcast on iTunes and YouTube, and the Marketing Forecast smartphone app for Apple iPhone, iPad, and Google Android devices.

Ad-​ology Research was created as a division of Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc. in December 2005. Ad- ology's parent company is based in Westerville, Ohio and was founded in October 1989. Ad-​ology is a registered trademark of SDS.


Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc. — a Westerville, Ohio firm founded in 1989 — is the parent company for AdMall. SDS also provides Ad-​ology Research, the Media Sales Basics training program, and the Media Sales Today daily advertising sales blog. AdMall and Ad-​ology are registered trademarks of Sales Development Services, Inc. Sell Smarter and Diagnosis Call are also trademarks of SDS.