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SMBs Will Spend $83 Billion on “Digital Marketing Services” This Year

According to a new report from Borrell Associates, US businesses will spend an estimated $613 billion this year on digital marketing. The breakdown by business size is roughly 86% larger businesses/enterprises and 14% SMBs.

Digital marketing services, as defined in the report, is effectively everything other than advertising, including:

  • Web design/hosting
  • Presence and listings management
  • Search optimization
  • Social media management
  • Email/list management
  • Mobile media management
  • And more

The report and forecast includes discussion of ad spending but focuses primarily on spending on digital services that don’t involve media buying but nonetheless involve paying someone for marketing and promotion.

Borrell Digital Marketing spending figures

The chart above from the report shows the ranking of small-business marketing spending for 2016 and 2020, the end of the forecast period. Not reflected above is the estimate that SMBs will spend $83 billion this year on these services.

Currently web-hosting and design are the number one and two spending categories; SEO is number three. However, by 2020, Borrell argues that SEO will be number one, followed by social media management and then web-hosting. Certainly the order of these services is consistent with what we’ve seen in LSA research in terms of SMB spending priorities.

Tell us what you think of these numbers. Are they too big? Is the ranking of these services correct in terms of actual spend or spending priorities?

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