BIA/Kelsey, an adviser to small to medium-size businesses in the local media space, launched Social Local Media, an advisory service dedicated to covering the growing social media ecosystem and the opportunities for driving revenues with social platforms. SLM was created to address the developing social segment of what the firm estimates will be a $23 billion digital advertising market in 2011.
Confirmation of the significance of social platforms for local media and advertising comes from the latest wave of BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor (LCM), an ongoing study of the advertising spending habits of small to medium-size businesses, conducted with research partner ConStat. LCM revealed intense use of social media by SMBs, as 48 percent of respondents said they are using Facebook for advertising or promoting their business.
Among those surveyed, 40 percent said they have a Facebook page specifically for their business. Additional findings indicate that among respondents, 25 percent use other social networks, 22 percent use a blog and 19 percent use Twitter to promote their business. SLM will spotlight buyers, sellers, platform developers, vendors, practitioners and thought leaders engaged in the use of social media tools and techniques to forward customer relationships.
"Social local media, as a marketing, customer-care and content agent, has crossed the mainstream threshold," said Neal Polachek, president of BIA/Kelsey. "As with any growing marketing channel, the use of social platforms brings questions and concerns about where companies should allocate their efforts and budgets. By concentrating on social local media, we are using our resources to help our clients make sense of where this new ecosystem is headed and how they can participate effectively, both strategically and from a revenue perspective."
SLM will also focus on helping media companies and social platform suppliers identify the best integration strategies for implementing social across media, marketing and advertising channels in a manner that drives revenues. The coverage will center on the following themes: new local monetization models for social networks; metrics that measure social initiatives; social media transactions; social media valuations and valuation models; social commerce; Facebook's continued evolution; social's role in e-mail, reputation and presence management; next steps for check-in services; and industry analysis of how various media segments are utilizing social channels.
The SLM practice will be led by Program Director Jed Williams. Williams joined BIA/Kelsey in 2010 as an industry analyst with more than 10 years of experience on both the business and content sides of media. Through a partnership with BIA/Kelsey, Andrew Shotland of LocalSEOGuide.com will work with Williams as associate program director.
LCM is BIA/Kelsey's annual tracking survey of SMBs, conducted since 1999 with research partner ConStat. The survey measures where SMBs are spending their advertising and promotional budgets and how their media usage and spending habits are evolving. It draws its sample of business respondents from a mix of nationally scoped MSAs, which include first- and second-tier markets. LCM Wave XIV was conducted in November 2010 via an online survey of 307 SMBs.