By Lenore Fedow
More than half of the small businesses surveyed by The Manifest advertise on social media platforms, making it the most popular form of advertising.
Washington, D.C.—More small businesses are expected to spend their ad dollars on video advertising in 2021, according to a survey by business news site The Manifest.

Its 2021 Small Business Survey reached out to 500 U.S. small business owners and managers about their advertising efforts.

Nearly one-third (32 percent) of those surveyed already advertise on digital video platforms with 35 percent expecting to up their investment this year.

By 2022, videos are expected to account for 82 percent of internet traffic, as per a Cisco study cited in the survey.

The survey touts the benefits of video advertising, including increased user engagement, the ability to combine visuals and a narrative, expedited sales, and greater brand awareness.

Businesses should make use of social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat, said Dave Nilsson, founder of SEO agency The Converted Click, in a press release about the survey results.

More than half of small businesses (55 percent) advertise on social media platforms, the most popular form of advertising of those surveyed, with 45 percent expecting to increase their investment this year.

“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, in a statement.

“The most important thing small businesses can do is make sure they are advertising on the right social channel for their business.”

Facebook was the most popular place for small businesses to advertise at 66 percent, followed by YouTube (42 percent) and Instagram (41 percent).

Short-form video platforms were less popular with Snapchat at 15 percent and TikTok at 12 percent.

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

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About half of small businesses (47 percent) budget up to 30 percent of their ad spend to social media while 39 percent of businesses allocated between 31 to 70 percent. Only six percent of small businesses spent more than 70 percent of their advertising budget on social media ads.

More than one-quarter (28 percent) utilize print advertising, though 24 percent plan to spend less on print ads this year.

Pay-per-click advertising will also see more ad dollars this year with 19 percent of businesses surveyed planning to spend more on it this year.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 38 percent of small businesses have increased their ad spending while 22 percent spent less.

The majority of small businesses (55 percent) spent less than $50,000 on advertising in 2020 while 11 percent spent more than one million dollars.

The majority (68 percent) of businesses with fewer than 10 employees spent under $10,000 while only 4 percent spent more than $100,000.

Of those businesses surveyed with more than 50 employees, seven percent spent less than $10,000 while 47 percent spent more than $100,000.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that small businesses invest about 8 percent of their gross revenue in marketing or advertising efforts, said the survey.

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