Posted November 17, 2009 1:23 pm by with 9 comments

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According to a recent survey by email marketing company VerticalResponse, small and medium businesses are wising up to online marketing. For their 2010 plans, they’re big into SEM, social media and email marketing—but interest in banner ads is quickly waning.

54.2% of SMBs do not plan to use banner ads online next year. Of those that are currently using banner ads, less than 20% of businesses with 11-100 employees reported increasing their banner spend this year (and about 7% of businesses with <10 employees).

A few other advertising media aren’t doing so well. 23.8% of SMBs aren’t looking at paid or natural SEM. Conversely, some 96% plan to use email marketing in 2010, and more than a third of SMBs surveyed are planning to increase their email spending “by a lot” in the coming year. But the big losses come in TV and radio, which has long been a strong seller for local advertising: 79.6% are not planning to use TV, and 72.7% won’t be using radio advertising.

VerticalResponse points out that the low level of adoption is a big opportunity for vendors in the online banner ad arena (and the SEM arena, to a lesser extent). However, unless they mean display ad marketplaces, it’s tough for full-size Internet marketing companies to accommodate the budget needs of SMBs while still offering customized campaigns, advice and value for scale. (I’ve been there.)

What do you think? Should SMBs pay more attention to online banners? How can Internet marketing companies accommodate their needs?

  • Nick

    Lack of knowledge and/or experience in managing Google Content Network, the Biggest ad network on this planet is a HUGE opportunity for those willing to invest their time in optimizing their campaigns on GCN. In fact, less than 5% of all Adwords advertisers know how to run Content campaigns. Well, more profits for those who realize the power of display advertising. Despite the decline, ad networks are growing by day, and there is a reason for that. Consumers are there, they never left. One just have to learn some basic marketing principles and… take action. Just do it, you know. Ask Jeremy Palmer or Perry Marchall if you have no idea what GCN is :)

  • Buzzlord

    A lot of SMBs were probably using banner ads in the wrong way. Banner ads are best for building a brand identity and capturing attention. They also do a good job of attracting spontaneous users. This isn’t necessarily good for everyone. Sites that don’t want casual traffic probably should not use this type of ad, because the ad budget will be spent in large part on people who are just “browsing” rather than buying.

    Banner advertising will continue to be powerful, regardless of whether some SMBs are staying away from it

    • Andy Beal

      Was about to say the same thing! :-)

      Banners are great for raising awareness–while SMBs probably want instant gratification from measurable sales.

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  • Kevin Promotional Products

    I like using them in a very targeted area. Not just in a generic manner…. hopefully it works out