BIA/​Kelsey: Plus-​Spender SMBs Like Traditional, Mobile Media

BY Kathy Crosett
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Some of your small and medium-​sized business clients fall into the Plus Spender category identified by BIA/​Kelsey. These SMBs believe in the power of advertising and will shell out plenty of dough to attract consumer attention — about $25,000 a year. Though these SMBs have been big users of traditional media in the past, BIA/​Kelsey analysts have detected a recent shift. Here’s what you need to know.

About half of Plus Spender SMBs say their ad budgets will remain level for 2018.  Of the remaining businesses, 45% will increase spending and 4% will cut their ad budgets. Celine Matthiessen, VP Analytics and Insights, BIA/​Kelsey believes these marketers will remain committed to advertising, but they will also look for options in lower-​cost digital formats.

The numbers published by BIA/​Kelsey seem to support this argument. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of Plus Spender SMBs using mobile jumped from 81.0% to 85.6%. Next year, we can expect these businesses to expand their use of mobile, especially in search and display. The percentage of Plus Spenders using any kind of digital media now stands at 97.7%. For social, the corresponding number is 95.4%.

SMBs with a strong commitment to advertising are also interested in showing consumers they'll support what’s happening in the local communities. At least 81.5% of these businesses invest in sponsorships. These activities can be an opportunity for local media reps to boost sales.

Simultaneously, Plus Spenders are gradually decreasing their use of traditional media. In the past year, use of print and outdoor advertising dropped from 95.0% to 90.4% of all these businesses. For yellow pages and directories, the decline of 3.3% brought the total to 85.2%. Broadcast and cable dropped from 70.0% to 63.0%.

While these numbers may sound significant, plenty of SMB Plus Spenders understand the importance of advertising. They likely can also be convinced to purchase a mix of traditional and digital advertising to stay connected with local consumers and maintain their market share. Bring your best presentations to these accounts and support your pitch with data to win their business.