Huge Growth Predicted for 2010 Local Online Advertising

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll identify with the following numbers and be heartened by the following forecast.

First the numbers: There’s anywhere from 14 million to 22 million small businesses online in the U.S., and they spend about 83% of their online marketing budget on advertising – compared to 26% for all sizes of businesses.

Yet, while all businesses spend 67% of their online dollars on advertising support, small businesses spend just 9.3%. Why such a small ratio?  Because they can’t afford an agency (and its rates) to provide a listings product, PPC campaign, site development, email auto-responder, call tracking, and a significant amount of consulting (client education). Typically, the full solution needed costs $2,000 per month, but the typical small business is willing to plunk down only $500.

There is the self-service option but businesses can’t be moved to adopt it – despite efforts to make creation of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, building a site through templates, setting up email auto-responders simple, says Dennis Yu, co-founder and CEO of, an organization that provides local search solutions for companies.
Yu says 87% of small businesses are aware of PPC, but only 9% of them are actually doing it.

So, what’s a small business to do if it wants to use the web to grow and prosper? Good news: Proactive sales self-service will thrive in 2010, and it will happen “through the intersection of local, mobile, and social,” according to Yu.

Yu says video game dynamics, which gradually teach players a basic set of operations and then reveal new features and options until they’ve learned the game, are now on mobile phones. And these games or apps allow users to earn sales incentives and collect information (phone numbers, pictures) on local businesses.

Add social networking tools, like Facebook (which recently registered 350 million users globally and accounts for one-quarter of traffic in the U.S.). They provide the support infrastructure for this new breed of small business sales force.

What I find fascinating about all this is the cloud infrastructure that makes this all possible. It’s amazing to me to see the ingenuity behind cloud gadgets and the kinds of benefits it produces for businesses.

You can read more of Yu and his ideas for the future of sales and advertising here.