Penetration of Online Media Surpasses Traditional Media for First Time Among Small-Business Advertisers, According to BIA’s The Kelsey Group

BIA/Kelsey to present latest findings from Local Commerce Monitor study at the upcoming Directional Media Strategies 2009 conference, Sept. 22-24 in Orlando

CHANTILLY, Va. (August 20, 2009) – For the first time, the penetration of digital/online media has exceeded that of traditional media among small and medium-sized business advertisers, according to The Kelsey Group (, a division of BIA Advisory Services ( Findings from the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor study, conducted with research partner ConStat, indicate the penetration of digital/online media increased from 73 percent in August 2008 to 77 percent in August 2009, while that of traditional media decreased from 74 percent to 69 percent during the same period. Penetration is defined as the percentage of SMBs using a given type of media, irrespective of spending level.

“We have been tracking the trend of digital/online media replacing traditional media over four waves of the Local Commerce Monitor study,” said Steve Marshall, director of research, The Kelsey Group. “The milestone of digital/online surpassing traditional media among SMBs is an indicator of the broad shift to online platforms.”

Local Commerce Monitor Wave XIII also revealed a decrease in overall ad spending by SMBs, owing to unfavorable economic conditions and the long-term substitution of traditional media with lower-cost digital/online media. According to the study, SMBs decreased spending on advertising and promotion by 23.5 percent, from $2,734 (reported in August 2008) to $2,092 (reported in August 2009). As a percentage of total advertising for the SMBs surveyed, digital/online has increased from 22 percent to 36.8 percent over the past year. In spite of the overall decrease in spending on advertising and promotion over the past 12 months, on average, SMBs increased spending on Web sites and profile pages by 26.8 percent, from $608 in 2008 to $769 in 2009.

According to the study, there has also been an increase in the proportion of SMBs that use the Internet to track or measure their sources of new business leads. Of businesses that track lead sources, the percentage that does so using the Internet (clicks or e-mails) has increased from 22 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2009.

The shift to digital media is among the key themes on the agenda at BIA/Kelsey’s upcoming conference, Directional Media Strategies 2009 (DMS ’09) (, Sept. 22-24, 2009, Orlando, Florida. At DMS ’09, BIA/Kelsey analysts will present the top-line findings from the latest Local Commerce Monitor. Attendees will also hear from more than 40 industry experts about the latest local media technology developments and successful multiplatform strategies in sessions such as:

  • The Yellow Pages App Store: Securing a Mobile Future for Yellow Pages
  • SEO Success Strategies for IYPs
  • Mobile Search and Yellow Pages: The Business Model
  • Video — Evolving a Must-Have Offering

DMS ’09 is The Kelsey Group’s 30th conference covering the future of the Yellow Pages industry. This year’s event is presented in partnership with the Yellow Pages Association ( Conference sponsors, exhibitors and partners include 3L System Group, Acxiom, AgendiZe, Amdocs, AT&T; Advertising Solutions, Cellcity, Continental Products, International Classified Media Association (ICMA),, MapCreator, Marchex, Telmetrics, Yellow Pages Data Delivery and YP Talk. Visit for more information.

About Local Commerce Monitor
Local Commerce Monitor is The Kelsey Group’s annual tracking survey of small and medium-sized businesses, conducted with research partner ConStat since 1999. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. 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 XIII was conducted in August 2009 via an online survey of 302 SMBs.

About The Kelsey Group
The Kelsey Group (, a division of BIA Advisory Services, LLC, is the leading provider of research, data and strategic analysis on directories, small-business advertising, online local media, vertical market advertising and mobile advertising. As the premier analyst firm covering the directory publishing community and the emerging local search marketplace, The Kelsey Group provides advisory services (The Kelsey Report®, Interactive Local Media, Marketplaces and Mobile Local Media), reports (Global Yellow Pages™), research and data (Media Ad View, User View and Local Commerce Monitor), sales training, consulting (more than 400 individual assignments), and conferences (76 events).

About BIA Advisory Services, LLC
BIA Advisory Services, LLC, a subsidiary of BIA Financial Network, provides research, data, analysis, and financial and strategic consulting to media, telecommunications, technology, directory publishing, and local search companies. BIA Advisory Services includes The Kelsey Group, experts in traditional and online local media and advertising; BIA Research, providers of competitive and comparative market information and analysis through data services, specialized reporting, engineering studies and mapping; and BIA Consulting, specialists in business intelligence and corporate growth strategy, and the nation’s leading communications appraisal and valuation firm. Additional information is available at BIA’s blog is located at and the company can be found on Twitter through

For more information contact:

Eileen Pacheco
The Kelsey Group
(781) 556-1026 |

MacKenzie Lovings
BIA Advisory Services, LLC
(703) 802-2992 |

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