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An overwhelming majority (81%) of US small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) say they will maintain or increase their ad spending in the next 12 months, according to the latest wave of the Local Commerce Monitor from The Kelsey Group and ConStat.

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Among SMBs, 47% expect to maintain their spending on ads in the next 12 months, and 34% expect to increase it. Only 9% plan a decrease.

Those figures are similar to last year’s results and indicate that the economic downturn is not negatively affecting ad spending for SMBs.

SMBs surveyed said the primary influences on their advertising spending decisions are as follows:

  • Performance/return on investment (31%)
  • Business partner or competitor (25%)
  • Information from media such as newspapers, TV and trade publications (14%)
  • Friends or family members (12%)

The study also shows that a large percentage of SMBs expect to continue adopting Web 2.0 technologies in the next 12 months:

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Key findings:

  • 40% plan to add customer reviews to their own websites.
  • 30% will add links or place ads on social sites or blogs.
  • 26% will incorporate video on their websites.

“The data reveal a remarkable resilience of the SMB advertising segment in the face of economic pressures on local consumers and businesses,” said Stephen Marshall, director, research and consulting, The Kelsey Group. “There’s an opportunity for media that can demonstrate ROI to tap into SMBs’ future advertising plans.”

About the research: Local Commerce Monitor is an annual tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses, conducted since 1999. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. The sample of business respondents is drawn from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs. The research was conducted in August 2008 via an online survey of 300 SMBs.

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