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Speaker: Will Scott, Owner, Search Influence
Moderator: Michael Boland, Senior Analyst and Program Director

There is a lot of talk about social media being critical to the future of small-business marketing. But how do those currently working with small-business advertisers take advantage of the social revolution?

BIA/Kelsey’s Mike Boland shared some data to set the context in this making money from social session. Overall, 54 percent of SMBs use social media; however, that breaks down to 75 percent of businesses less than three years old versus 38 percent of those 11 years or older do. Boland suggested this could be because younger businesses are in customer acquisition mode or perhaps more familiar with social meda.

Will Scott posited that, “Facebook is the new television.” Scott’s point is that Facebook is how people connect given that there are nearly 160 million user in the U.S. alone. This creates an enormous platform opportunity for SMBs to reach and interact with their customers. Scott said, “Facebooks ads are the bomb!” Tremendous targeting opportunities create a lot of value around Facebook fans.

Scott used a case study to show that Facebook can successfully drive website traffic and engagement. Generally, Scott finds that Facebook ads have lower CTR but high acquisition rates.

Boland shared BIA/Kelsey’s 2016 mobile ad forecast results showing that search, the biggest and fastest growing component, is taking over growing from $0.77 billion in 2011 to $4.8 billion in 2016. He expects that social will increasingly share in the mobile ad pie. He also expects to see the growth of premium ad rates in mobile and particularly as social ads establish themselves in the mobile category. Companies like Foursquare, Yelp and YPs will start to convert traffic into monetization models. The wild card in mobile monetization is Facebook. Sponsored stories and the additional distribution via mobile devices can be a game changer.

Scott argued that social has content and should be interesting to directory publishers as added value to the user experience.

Takeaways Scott offered include:

1. Social’s not going away.

2. SMBs want social (pull, not push).

3. Content is key.

4. Thoughtful targeting helps.

5. There are many ways to fill the funnel.

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