The unprecedented economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated industries of all stripes, but many small businesses actually increased their advertising budgets in 2020, according to a recent survey released by business news site The Manifest.

Despite facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Manifest’s “2021 Small Business Survey” found that more companies staffing fewer than 500 employees increased their advertising investments in 2020 compared to those that decreased ad spending. While more than a third (38 percent) of small businesses increased their ad spending during the coronavirus outbreak last year, less than a quarter (22 percent) of small businesses reported decreasing their ad budgets during that time period.

The COVID-19 pandemic also resulted in a spike in online content consumption, with adults now spending more than 16 hours per day on digital platforms. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that social media sites remain the preferred advertising channel for small businesses.

The Manifest study: Preferred advertising channels for businesses with fewer than 500 employees
Preferred advertising channels for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

According to the survey, nearly half of small businesses (45 percent) said they now plan to increase their investment in social media advertising in 2021. Small businesses particularly plan to boost their ad spending on Facebook (66 percent), YouTube (42 percent), and Instagram (41 percent), according to the survey. Short-form video platforms Snapchat and TikTok followed, at 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

An additional 35 percent of small businesses said they plan to increase their advertising investment on digital video platforms this year.

On the other hand, of the 28 percent of small businesses that say they invest in print advertising, almost all of them (24 percent) said they plan to reduce their print ad spending in 2021.

According to the survey, the majority of small businesses (55 percent) spent less than $50,000 on advertising last year and only 11 percent spent more than one million dollars. More than half of small businesses (55 percent) already advertise via social media, and almost half of them (47 percent) currently allocate up to 30 percent of their total ad spend to social media advertising, according to the survey.

The Manifest’s “2021 Small Business Survey” polled 500 U.S.-based small business owners and managers in December.

The Manifest is the sister site of D.C.-based research and consulting firm Clutch.