It costs money to advertise, but most small businesses in the U.S. view the strategy as a worthwhile investment, at least if findings from a recent survey released by business news site The Manifest are any indication.

The survey, which quizzed small businesses on their ad spending habits, discovered that nearly all small businesses (91 percent) reported that they plan to spend more on advertising this year than they did in 2018.

Advertising mediums small businesses will spend more on in 2019.
Advertising mediums small businesses will spend more on in 2019.

Digital outlets will see the lion’s share of this activity. According to the survey, most small businesses (56 percent) prioritize social media as their top channel for advertising this year, followed by other online outlets such as Google search, banner, retargeted and video ads (41 percent). Events and print follow, at 21 percent each, followed by TV (18 percent) and radio (15 percent).

Given small businesses owners’ overwhelming affinity for digital content, perhaps it’s not surprising that the survey discovered Millennial business owners appear to value advertising more than their older counterparts: More than half (61 percent) of small businesses operated by someone between the ages 18 to 34 cited annual ad budgets of $50,000 or more, compared to 36 percent of Generation Xers and only 15 percent of Baby Boomers. In fact, more than half (52 percent) of businesses run by Boomers said they spend less than $10,000 every year on ads.

Regardless of their commitments, however, the Manifest survey also found that most small businesses currently have relatively small advertising budgets: more than half (57 percent) said they spend less than $50,000 on advertising, while a majority (37 percent) allocate less than $10,000 on advertising every year. About one in five (20 percent) spend somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 annually. Only 7 percent spend more than $1 million on advertising.

A vast majority of the small businesses polled (87 percent) claimed they currently advertise, and a majority (32 percent) said their primary reason for doing so was to drive revenue and sales, compared to only 12 percent who said they advertise mainly to convert leads to customers and 11 percent said they do so to stand out from competitors or improve brand awareness.

The Manifest’s “2019 Small Business Advertising Survey” polled approximately 530 owners and managers of businesses across the U.S. with 500 or fewer employees. Research was conducted at the end of December using brand intelligence research company Survata.