Small Business Research

Small Business Research
How are SMBs using media and new technologies to advertise and market their business?

Local Commerce Monitor™ (LCM) is BIA/Kelsey’s ongoing study of the advertising and marketing behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A unique and comprehensive study - performed since 1999 - the findings offer key insights into the long term media and technology trends of U.S. SMBs.

Tracking Advertiser Trends Across Top Media

charts LCM covers over 35 different media and platforms used by both Core and Plus Spender SMBs for advertising and promotion. Our Core Sample focuses on SMBs that spend less than $25,000 annually and our Plus Spender sample focuses on SMBs that spend a minimum of $25,000 on media for advertising and promotion.

The different media tracked in LCM fall into these 10 top-level groups:

  • Online (e.g., search, display ads, blogs)
  • Traditional (e.g., direct mail, newspapers)
  • Local coupons (print and online)
  • Broadcast
  • Giveaway items
  • Video (e.g., website videos, YouTube)
  • Mobile (e.g., search, SMS, display)
  • Social (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Promoted Tweet)
  • Local directories (print and online
  • Community sponsorships

LCM also tracks social engagement (i.e., time spent on social media), click fraud, and agency relationships (i.e., level of satisfaction.)

Current Study

The latest wave of LCM is Wave 18, published the third quarter of 2014. Highlights from the study include:

  • SMBs use social media more than any other media category.
  • Facebook dominates SMB usage. 55.1 percent have a Facebook page for business use and 20 percent run a Facebook ad or promoted post.
  • Franchises are not conservative in their spend, with more than 50 percent planning to increase their spend in 2015.
  • 49.3 percent of franchises work with a digital or ad agency.
  • Highest priority for Plus Spender SMBs for the next 12 months is search, search marketing, SEO and related "discovery" activities.

Available and Upcoming LCM Reports

LCM is a comprehensive study. We offer numerous reports that segment the study around business verticals, SMB size, media usage and much more. A series of LCM reports are available – see list.

Upcoming reports due to be published very soon:

  • Professional Service SMBs
  • Entertainment SMBs
  • Retail SMBs
  • SMB Use of Loyalty Programs
  • SMB Use of Social Media
  • SMB Use of Mobile
  • SMB Use of Directories

Questions about LCM? Contact us at or (800) 331-5086.

LCM Excerpt
Download an excerpt from our LCM Wave 18 findings for Core SMBs.

Advisory Service Clients
Clients with portal access can login now to access LCM Reports.


Digital Adoption by SMBs: A Preview of BIA/Kelsey's Latest SMB Research

On-Demand Webinar | PDF of Slides

This webinar examines:

  • The SMB marketing toolkit - how the contents have changed and how SMBs are using the latest tools
  • New survey questions asked this year (and why)
  • What LCM tells us about the future of SMB marketing