Reveal Mobile Predicts Big Holiday Season Ad Spend for SMBs, With Social, Location At the Top

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This coming holiday season, social, location-based advertising will dominate small business ad spend, according to a recent survey conducted by Reveal Mobile, a location-based marketing company. Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram will especially benefit from social media spend because of their scale and precise audience-targeting abilities, said Brian Handly, the CEO of Reveal Mobile.

Reveal Mobile surveyed between 250 and 300 small businesses on SurveyMonkey in order to develop a sense of SMB attitudes toward location-based social marketing as the holiday season approaches.

“Our platform enables location-based audience targeting across social media, so one of the things we wanted to get a feel for was what was the attitude toward social media,” Handly said.

The implications of the survey results are twofold, said Matthew Davis, the chief marketing officer for Reveal Mobile and the man responsible for much of the survey analysis. “If these results are kind of like a bellwether or an indicator, you’re going to see really strong performance from Facebook and Instagram from their quarterly results perspective,” he said.

In addition, consumers should see an uptick in relevant and targeted advertisements on social media, which should in turn trigger improvement in ad performance and consumer engagement, Davis said. “So that in theory should result in more sales for the retailers,” he added.

The survey also indicated that small businesses have a perhaps unexpectedly high level of advertising sophistication. “We say that because of the comfort that SMBs have in using sophisticated targeting tools like geotargeting,” Davis said, adding that just a few years ago, this kind of advertising would have confused many small business marketers. “There’s a greater growing acceptance of using location data and the value that it brings, and so the sophistication of this audience is growing,” he said.

A few years ago, only bigger brands managed to succeed with this type of targeting, Handly said. Now, small businesses are leveraging location-based advertisements with a significant amount of success.

Handly also touched on the recent public user backlash against Facebook for a variety of scandals, including the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s data mining. In spite of that backlash, Handly expects that Instagram use will more than offset any small drop in engagement with Facebook.

Other recent events could also affect the advertising market, like President Donald Trump’s imposition of new tariffs across a range of consumer goods, Davis said. Whether advertisers will change their ad spend based on the shifting prices for consumers remains an open question, but Davis anticipates “a big holiday season” regardless. “I think we’ll probably see more advertising,” not less, he said.