Local marketing has adapted well to the digital era, learning how to optimize for search engines, social sites, and even mobile apps. But while we knew that the worlds of local and online were colliding, we didn’t have a clear sense of what online services were winning – until now. Social networks, and especially Facebook, are trumping Google when it comes to marketing local businesses on the web.
The study was conducted by Merchant Circle, and involved the 4,942 survey completions from small business owners. The majority of the businesses involved were categorized as “very small” (one to four employees). Questions examined the expectations of the business owners, their projections for growth, their confidence in the economy, and their advertising practices.
Here are some highlights from the web-oriented section of the study:
- The single most popular advertising method for local businesses was creating a free profile on a social network. 40.9% of business owners selected this answer as very important, compared to only 37.1% for email marketing, 25.9% for local review sites, and 21.7% for print newspapers.
- 65.7% of businesses used Facebook to create a free page for their business.
- 53% of businesses used Google to advertise for their business.
- 22% of businesses used Facebook advertising, and nearly two-thirds (64.9%) would do it again.
It’s of note that much of what’s being discussed with “Facebook marketing” here is the creation of a free page, not Facebook advertising. However, Google also has free page creation options (such as in Maps and Places) that compete directly with this element of Facebook’s model. Slice it whatever way you’d like: Facebook is trouncing Google in the local business category.
[via Search Engine Land]