CHANTILLY, Va., Aug. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest findings from the "Local Commerce Monitor" (LCM – Wave 17), BIA/Kelsey's ongoing study of the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), indicate SMBs are increasingly embracing mobile and social platforms for improving operational efficiencies and promotion. In particular, mobile payments are gaining significant traction with SMBs, with 40 percent of those surveyed stating they now accept payments at the point of sale with a mobile credit card reader attached to a smartphone or tablet (e.g., PayPal Here, Square, etc.). Another 16 percent plan to add this capability within the next 12 months.
SMBs are also turning to mobile to get customers in the door, with 32 percent of the SMBs surveyed stating they are using some form of mobile advertising to promote their businesses, up from 28 percent in 2012.
"Mobile continues to make impressive inroads into the SMB market, as both a marketing vehicle and as an element of the business infrastructure," said Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey. "A closer look at the data shows adoption of mobile and social varies across SMB industry sectors. The LCM data reveals professional and home and trade services are embracing mobile in a big way, with service providers essentially becoming walking POS terminals."
Nearly three-quarters of SMBs surveyed (72 percent) indicated they are using social media to promote their businesses. In addition, 52 percent of SMBs surveyed have a Facebook page for their business and 25 percent have a Google+ Local page.
"Together, mobile and social tools are transforming the way SMBs acquire and retain customers." added Marshall. "With the heavy use of social media, SMB marketing is quickly becoming a two-way engagement rather than a one-way promotion."
Many SMBs gave themselves high marks on their level of social engagement. When asked how "engaged" their businesses are with their customers on social media (e.g., responding to online comments, regular blogging or tweeting, regular updating of their Facebook page, offering a loyalty program), 66 percent stated they are "extremely engaged" or "very engaged."
BIA/Kelsey will present findings from Local Commerce Monitor - Wave 17 at its upcoming LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing conference, which takes place Sept. 11-13, in Austin. The latest developments and opportunities around mobile and social solutions for SMBs will be woven throughout the conference, and in particular during keynote addresses and panel sessions featuring:
Matt Baker, Head of SMB Partnerships, Facebook (Keynote)
Vikas Jain, Head of Business Development, Google/Wildfire (Keynote)
Seth Priebatsch, CEO, LevelUp (Keynote)
Zorik Gordon, CEO, ReachLocal (Keynote)
Raj Kapoor, Senior Director, Local & Mobile Advertising, Microsoft
Surojit Chatterjee, Head of Global Mobile Search, Google
James Price, VP, Digital, Dex Media
About Local Commerce Monitor
Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) is BIA/Kelsey's ongoing tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses conducted online with research partner Ipsos. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. For this study, SMB is defined as a business having from 1 to 99 employees. Local Commerce Monitor draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, which include first- and second-tier markets. Local Commerce Monitor Wave 17 was conducted in July 2013 via an online survey of 568 SMBs.
About LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing
BIA/Kelsey's LEADING IN LOCAL conferences are the definitive events on local digital advertising and marketing. LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing is focused on how the sales forces of Yellow Pages, search firms, newspapers, TV and radio stations, promotions companies and other digital marketing solutions providers are converging on independent SMBs, franchisees and regional groups. The conference will offer a first-hand look at the latest innovations and influential players in SMB-driven search, video, social media, mobile, promotions, CRM and reputation management.
Event sponsors include Agendize, Amdocs, Apptus, CallFire, eLocal Listing, First Data, Infogroup, Local Market Launch, Media Distribution Solutions, Neustar, Sales Transformation Now, Reply!, Telmetrics, UBL, vSplash, Yext and YP.
Association and media partners include the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP), Big Marketing for Small Business, International Classified Media Association (ICMA), Local Commerce Canada, Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA), Smallbiztechnology, Small Business Trends, The Next Web, Topseos, and Visibility Magazine.
BIA/Kelsey advises companies in the local media space through consulting and valuation services, research and forecasts, Custom Advisory Services and conferences. Since 1983 BIA/Kelsey has been a resource to the media, mobile advertising, telecommunications, Yellow Pages and electronic directory markets, as well as to government agencies, law firms and investment companies looking to understand trends and revenue drivers. BIA/Kelsey's annual conferences draw executives from across industries seeking expert guidance on how companies are finding innovative ways to grow. Additional information is available at http://www.biakelsey.com, on the company's Local Media Watch blog, Twitter (http://twitter.com/BIAKelsey) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/biakelsey).