Small Business Search Growth Seen Slowing

Small businesses continue to invest in online search. In general, this sector spent more on search in Q3 2010 than it spent last year.  However, the latest numbers from WebVisible show that the phenomenal growth rate in the use of search advertising by small businesses may be slowing.

WebVisible issues quarterly figures that track small business spending on search. In the most recent quarter, the average small business owner shelled out $2,327 for paid search. This dollar amount represented a 43% increase when compared to Q3 2009. However, year over year spending increases on paid search by small businesses had recently been well over 100%.

During the late summer and early fall, some small businesses were more likely than others to up their search expenditures. Seasonally-​dependent businesses like air conditioning and roofing vendors recorded big increases. And the automotive sector – for new and used cars as well as repair services – also saw larger investments in paid search.

WebVisible CEO Ron Burr says “[b]y partnering with small business advertisers to utilize a variety of campaign elements and keywords, we’re enabling smart spending, and helping advertisers to understand the relationship between driving the right kind of leads at a budget they can afford.”  At the same time, WebVisible analysts say they may be seeing small business search advertisers reaching the “optimum level of spending they need to achieve their desired results.”

These survey results may also show that while search is a powerful marketing tool, it is only one format in a media mix that should include both traditional and online formats to reach a wide audience.

[Source: SMB Search Ad Spend Still Increasing, But Growth Rate Slowing, According to Q3 WebVisible Report. WebVisible​.com. 21 Oct. 2010. Web. 1 Nov. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.