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What works best for your Local Business exposure? Newspaper or Internet, Social or Search ads?

Pew Internet, a project of the Pew Research Center just released a study about how consumers find information about local businesses.  Here is part of  a chart from that study that compares Internet to newspaper as a source for local business information – other than restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Where do customers find local businesses

From the start we see that the Internet (47%) is more popular for consumers than is a local newspaper (30%)  for getting information about local businesses.  This is not very surprising as newspaper readership has been dropping significantly for the last several years.  Newspapers are still important, but definitely not worth the bulk of your local advertising effort.

Inside of the Internet numbers, I’m a little surprised at how weak social media looks .  While search engines were used by 36%, only 1% say they turned to social media to learn about a local business.  I don’t think this means small businesses should ignore their social media site, it just means consumers don’t go there looking for a business.  Over time that could change as consumers come to expect a local business to have a Facebook site, but we’re not there yet.

On the newspaper side, I’m definitely surprised at how few turn to a newspaper’s website to get information about local businesses.  At 2% the number is too low to even trust.  I think that if someone is going to go online to search for a business Google is much faster and more thorough then a newspaper’s site.  And, unlike having a Facebook page, consumers expect all local businesses to have a website.

The takeaway is that if you want to reach local consumers you need both the old and new media knowing that the trend is toward more new media then old.

About Shawn Macedo

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