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BIAKelsey-SMB-Perceived-ROI-Traditional-Media-Ads-Jan2014Newspapers (32.2%) and direct mail (31.7%) are the traditional media most commonly used by SMBs for advertising and promotion, per results from a recent BIA/Kelsey survey, with close to one-third of respondents claiming to be using these channels to promote their businesses. Interestingly, though, the traditional media that are being employed by the fewest SMBs have the highest perceived ROI among their users.

First among those is TV – used by 13.7% of respondents. Among those, exactly half rated their ROI as “excellent” (10-19 times spend; 29.5%) or “extraordinary” (20+ times spend; 20.5%). (A study released last year by Vocus found TV to be rated as the most effective advertising channel by SMBs.)

According to the BIA/Kelsey survey respondents, cable was next, providing excellent or extraordinary ROI to 44.2% of its users, who represented 13.9% of the survey sample. Coming in third was outdoor advertising; the least-used channel in the survey, employed by 12.9% of the respondents, it was rated as providing a significant ROI by 41.1% of its users.

Newspapers, the most popular form of traditional media for SMBs (with that result consistent with earlier research from Borrell Associates), had a relatively small 25.7% of users very pleased with their ROI.

Last year, BIA/Kelsey released similar ROI perception figures for SMBs using social media, allowing for an interesting (if nothing else) comparison of enthusiasm between SMB users of traditional and social media.

The results indicate that among users of the various traditional and social media channels listed, TV advertisers are the most bullish on their ROI, followed closely by Facebook advertisers. Among the rest of the channels, cable (44.3% rating as excellent or extraordinary) leads, while LinkedIn (23.9%) brings up the rear.

Overall, SMBs report using an average of 7.6 media to advertise or promote their businesses. For the first time in several iterations of the survey, this was a decrease from the prior wave, in which SMBs reported using an average of 8.4 different media.

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