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Survey: 76% of SMBs Do Local Search but 44% Don’t Track ROI

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A new survey of roughly 600 us small businesses (SMBs) from digital agency RevLocal finds that while 76% of respondents are engaged in “local search” marketing, only 44% are tracking the ROI of those efforts. Believe it or not this is a more “encouraging” result than we’ve seen in the past.

RevLocal SMB survey ROI tracking

Source: RevLocal, July 2016 (n=602 US SMBs)

Just under 63% of these respondents were RevLocal customers, so the fact that 56% are tracking ROI may not be representative of the SMB population as a whole — RevLocal is providing campaign and ROI performance data to its customers.

In an earlier Thrive Analytics survey, the data showed that 74% of US SMBs did not use any tools or technology to monitor or measure the performance of their ads. The largest single group (59%) among those respondents tried to track ROI by asking customers the age-old but imperfect question, “how did you hear about us?”

SMB Usage of Tools/Technology to Help Measure Marketing Performance

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Source: Thrive Analytics, January 2016 (n=1,116 SMBs)

Repeatedly surveys have indicated that the single main reason SMBs churn or decrease spending in specific channels is because of poor perceived ROI/outcomes. Google data also show this.

Reasons Why SMBs Are Decreasing Media Investments

Thrive SMB Pulse Survey DataSource: Thrive Analytics, January 2016 (n=1,116 SMBs)

The data reflect that SMBs are now using nearly 8 media channels to market themselves today. The complexity of the digital marketing landscape and the cross-channel nature of consumer behavior makes determining ROI from any individual channel more difficult than ever for SMBs. Digital marketing has brought confusion and complexity rather than transparency and accountability to the SMB market.

As I argued on our recent webinar, the Rise of Location Analytics, offline visits and conversion data will become increasingly important to this ROI equation. Even if agencies and publishers can show monthly visits to a business location — though not necessarily tied to a specific ad or campaign — that will be helpful for retention.

Learn about specific online-to-offline tracking techniques and tactics for enterprises and SMBs at LSA’s upcoming Place Conference, September 21 in Chicago.

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