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Small businesses buying more search ads

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A healthy increase in spending by automotive advertisers may be a sign of an economic recovery.

Business Wire | October 22, 2010

IRVINE, Calif. – Small businesses continue to spend more on search advertising than they did last year, but the triple-digit growth numbers from previous quarters have leveled off, according to the latest quarterly report from WebVisible.

Across a sample size of more than 12,000 small business advertisers, the average advertiser spent $2,327 on paid search advertising in Q3 2010, an increase of 43 percent over Q3 2009. This represents a slower growth rate than in previous quarters, when year-over-year spending was up 159 percent in Q2 2010, 91 percent in Q1 2010, and 111 percent in Q4 2009.

Research done by Lawn & Landscape showed 20 percent of LCOs and landscape contractors use Internet search ads as a marketing method.

According to the report, the slower growth rate could indicate that small business search advertisers are closing in on the optimum level of spending they need to achieve their desired results. Additionally service providers are refining their ability to determine efficient spend amounts in order for advertisers to achieve the highest return on spend.

A healthy increase in spending by automotive advertisers on both a quarterly (+9 percent) and annual basis (+41 percent) may be a sign of the economic recovery, as more consumers return to the pattern of frequent searching in the automotive sector, not only for new or used cars but for repair services, which have been buoyed by a trend of longer term of ownership for vehicles.

Nearly 30 percent of all advertisers included video on their landing pages in Q3 2010, more than double the number of advertisers using video a year ago. Viewing video was the second most popular conversion action after clicking through to the advertiser's website.

"By 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," said WebVisible CEO Ron Burr.

These are among the top findings of the fifth installment of The WebVisible Report: State of Small Business Online Advertising Q3 2010, which examines trends among WebVisible's U.S. advertisers from Q3 2009 through Q3 2010 and represents more than $55 million in U.S. small business advertiser spending from more than 12,000 individual advertisers in that period. This report also includes an analysis data from more than 10,000 advertisers in the U.K.

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