Report: 2.5 million US businesses buying Facebook ads, spending $1,500 per year


According to a new report from Borrell Associates, nearly 80 percent of local businesses have a Facebook page, and 62 percent are buying Facebook ads. It also estimates there are in excess of 2.5 million US businesses paying for ads or boosted posts on Facebook, spending on average $1,500 per year.

The survey population consists of a mix of US businesses, a subset of which qualify as small businesses. However, some of the respondents represent larger-spending advertisers, with annual media and marketing budgets of more than $100,000.

Borrell social media survey data

Among the survey population, 85 percent reported having a presence on at least one social media site. Of those, 96 percent were on Facebook, followed by Twitter. Interestingly, Snapchat is not on the list (it may not have been one of the choices).

The report also explores social media adoption by vertical and advertiser category. For example, 94 percent of auto dealers said they had a Facebook Page, and 82 percent were buying ads. In addition, 92 percent of cable TV advertisers had a Facebook presence, and 78 percent were buying Facebook ads.

Borrell social media survey data

Among “all local advertisers” (which likely extends beyond SMBs), 78 percent reported having a Facebook presence and 62 percent (as mentioned) were buying ads. An earlier study of small businesses by Thrive Analytics found that 80 percent of SMBs had a social media presence but only 19 percent were paying for ads (as of Q1 2016).

Social media is ranked by Borrell survey respondents as the third “best source” of new customers, with referrals (word of mouth) and websites as the top two sources. Interestingly, paid search advertising and SEO did not appear on the list.

Borrell social media survey data

A significant subset (44 percent) of the respondent pool was designated as “social media mavens” in the report, because these businesses regard social media as the single best channel for new customer acquisition. Somewhat unexpectedly, these “mavens” tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They’re “smaller, older, independent companies with less than $1 million in gross sales.”
  • They’re “more likely to have a single location or be home-based than have multiple locations, and slightly more likely to cater to consumers (B2C) versus only businesses (B2B).”
  • 76 percent say they manage social media themselves.
  • 57 percent pay to boost posts.

They’re also more likely to plan to cut or eliminate traditional advertising from their marketing mix.

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