Small Business Search Advertising Up 159% Despite Recession

eMarketer is out with some great data on small business search ad spending thanks to a new report by WebVisible, a local online advertising software company.  Small businesses have increased spending 159% year over year (Q2 2009 vs Q2 2010).  If this spending doesn’t indicate optimism about the economy, I don’t know what does.  That, or business owners know when things get tough the last thing you should slash is your marketing efforts – otherwise you only hurt your bottom line more.

Another intriguing data point from the report: small businesses are spending less on Google and Yahoo! and more on Ask.com, while holding steady at Bing. Are CPCs getting too high over at Google and Yahoo for small businesses?  Inquiring minds would like to know.  This could represent the beginning of a trend that doesn’t bode well for the search giants.

Small businesses are probably increasing their spending because they’re seeing more bang for their buck.  Website conversions are up 8% just since Q1 of this year.  Year over year they’re up more than 12%!    Clicks on search ads that lead to calls are also up almost 75% year over year.

Are small business owners getting more savvy about search advertising, too?  The report found the average campaign now bids on 75 keywords, up from 54 in the same period last year. I wonder if these businesses are figuring out the conversion power of long-tail keywords.

These findings are very telling about the state of search advertising, and the economy overall.  Read more of the report’s findings on eMarketer.

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