Social Media Now Top Marketing Pick for Local Businesses
Social media marketing is the big winner with local businesses in the marketing method sweepstakes, according to a new survey. But social media’s win comes at the expense of traditional offline marketing methods, which continue to decline.
The survey data revealed that local merchants, who usually have very limited time and money for marketing, are increasingly gravitating toward marketing methods such as Facebook and other social media, as well as toward tried-and-true online methods like search and e-mail marketing.
According to the MerchantCircle quarterly confidence index of 8,500 small and local businesses across the U.S., more than half of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60 percent have no plans to raise their budgets this year. This places a premium on cost-effective marketing.
Facebook is the clear category leader, according to the survey. Because of its huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, the social media network continues to be a popular way for merchants to market their businesses, with 70 percent using Facebook for marketing, up from 50 percent a year ago.
Twitter has also grown in popularity over the past year, MerchantCircle said, with nearly 40 percent of local merchants using the platform to build awareness and community around their products and services. This is up from 32 percent in the last quarter of 2009.
Offline marketing has been the loser with local businesses. During 2010, print advertising dropped by 33 percent, use of print Yellow Pages decreased 18 percent and use of direct mail fell by 26 percent.
U.S. Smartphone Penetration up 60% See the chart, we
U.S. Smartphone Penetration Up 60 Percent in Q4 2010
The number of smartphone users in the U.S. rose 60 percent in the three months ending December 2010 versus the same period in 2009, according to data from comScore.
The measurement firm estimates 63.2 million people in the U.S. owned a smartphone device during that time, compared with around 38.7 million in the final three months of 2009.
Meanwhile, the mobile operating system space is increasingly becoming a two horse race, with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android proving the only two platforms to achieve growth in Q4, on a quarter-over-quarter basis.
Market leader RIM experienced substantial declines in that period, losing market share of 5.7 percentage points, while Google enjoyed growth of 7.3 percentage points – overtaking Apple and placing its overall market share at almost 29 percent. Despite the launch of its Windows Phone 7 operating system in mid-October, Microsoft lost 1.5 percentage points of market share, while Palm also suffered a 0.5 percentage point loss.