SOURCE: WebVisible

WebVisible

February 18, 2009 08:00 ET

WebVisible / Nielsen Online Study Identifies Disconnect Between Online Consumer Behavior and Small Business Marketing

Despite Increasing Consumer Activity on the Internet, Most Small Businesses Fail to Capitalize

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - February 18, 2009) - WebVisible, Inc., a worldwide leader in local online advertising, today released the complete results of a ground-breaking study revealing significant differences between the way Internet users search for local products and services and the manner in which small businesses market themselves.

The report sheds light on why the two often fail to connect online, revealing that although Internet usage continues on a rapid upward trend, small business marketers largely fail to adhere to the basic principal that advertising should follow audience.

"To generate more quantifiable results and drive sales, small businesses marketers need to think and act like Internet users, especially in today's economy. Unfortunately, the data shows they are clearly not," said Kevin M. Ryan, chief marketing officer at WebVisible. "This study provides valuable insight and media mix recommendations for local businesses that want to better understand online consumer behavior in order to maximize the return on their marketing spend."

Conducted by Nielsen Online, a global leader in online metrics, the survey polled nearly 4,000 U.S. Internet users on the tools they used to find local businesses in the last 90 days. It also shows there is still a considerable disconnect between the way small business owners use the Internet themselves as consumers and how they act as marketers. Because of this "Great Divide," local businesses miss a significant opportunity.

For example:

--  Consumers use search engines 72% more often than they did two years
    ago
--  Search engines are the No. 1 choice of consumers and small business
    owners alike when looking for a local product or service.
    

Yet, of small businesses:

--  Only 44% have a Web site
--  Half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget on Internet
    advertising
--  Meanwhile, 63% turn to the Internet first when looking for local
    products or services
    

The survey shows a clear need among small business owners to gain insights into modern consumer behavior and how they can leverage the Internet to capitalize on this opportunity. All the tools necessary to reach actively searching, potential customers are openly available. But according to Ryan, tools alone are not the answer. "Local business owners are busy running their operations and lack the time or the skill, or both, to effectively represent themselves online. Managed solutions and third-party expertise should be considered."

The study is available for download at www.thegreatdivideonline.com.

About WebVisible

WebVisible, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., makes it easy for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) to be found online, when and where customers are looking. The leading provider of local online marketing products and services since 2001, WebVisible was among the first to pioneer the use of search as a reliable, measurable avenue to connect directly with a buyer's needs. It has helped more than 100,000 SMB customers from over 3,000 industries in 11 countries to create innovative and accountable Internet advertising campaigns.

WebVisible manages the entire online presence lifecycle, from take-off to landing, using its award-winning, proprietary Geneva™ software platform. Currently managing more than 600 million keywords, it oversees online advertising campaigns that are cost-effective, targeted and measureable. WebVisible's inimitable approach combines the best of service by certified trained professionals and effective media buying management, ad creation, deployment and optimization for its customers.

SMB's partner with WebVisible directly and through its many partner companies, including Intuit, AT&T, British Telecom, European Directories and The New York Times Company. For more information, visit www.webvisible.com or call (949) 502-5757.

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