38% of Small Businesses Increased Ad Spend in 2020, Despite Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic

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The spread of the coronavirus caused the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Still, new data shows that more small businesses chose to increase their advertising efforts rather than decrease to cut costs

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time spent on digital platforms for adults jumped to over 16 hours a day. Companies recognized this opportunity to connect with customers. In fact, 38% of small businesses increased their ad spend in 2020, according to a new report from The Manifest, a how-to guide for small businesses.

Only 22% of small businesses reported a decrease in their 2020 ad spend.

Many companies found that the pandemic helped them strengthen their connection with customers.

Kamaldeep Singh, founder of digital advertising agency Zhoustify, said his team’s advertising budget continues to grow as everyone stays at home.

“Despite what some experts may say, marketing is at an all time high for many industries — the pandemic has actually improved results for our clients,” Singh said.

As social distancing protocols continue, small businesses can expect to see increased opportunities for digital advertising.

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Most Small Businesses Choose to Advertise on Social Media
Over half of small businesses (55%) already advertise on social media.

With social media platform usage rates on the rise, more companies recognize the importance of a strong social media presence.

In fact, 45% of small businesses plan to increase their investment in social media advertising in 2021.

Both B2B and B2C companies have a lot to gain from social media, especially during COVID-19.

“Companies can no longer rely on traditional advertising strategies like trade shows or in-person events,” said Eric Clay, CEO of digital marketing firm Vale Creative. “The most important thing small businesses can do is make sure they are advertising on the right social channel for their business.”

Clay recommends companies focus on platforms that align with their target audience — Facebook and Instagram for B2C firms and LinkedIn for those in the B2B space.

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Video Advertising Will Be More Popular in 2021

Video advertising allows small businesses to blend strong copywriting with rich visual content.

While nearly one-third of small businesses (32%) already advertise on digital video platforms, 35% plan to increase their investment in the new year.

By 2022, videos are expected to account for 82% of internet traffic.

Dave Nilsson, founder of SEO agency The Converted Click, believes small businesses should leverage channels like YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat to support existing marketing efforts.

“Businesses can add a fun element to marketing campaigns through TikTok videos or partner with creators to boost brand visibility through user-generated content,” Nilsson said.

Video advertising can help small businesses connect with customers and build brand awareness.

The Manifest’s 2021 Small Business Survey included 500 U.S. small business owners and managers.

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