SME Advertising Trends in 2020 and the Millennial Market

Some businesses attempt to study the behaviour of millennials hoping to understand their purchasing preferences and create an advertising plan based on information gathered. But what does this approach tell us? Should other businesses, SME or not, follow suit?

Studies, the data and information you unearth through such endeavours, are certainly important. However, you should not focus on the millennial angle to find that secret ingredient to business success. According to The Manifest  (spin-off B2B research connected with, successful businesses focus on business size and age groups where advertising and marketing campaigns are concerned. And in the survey conducted by the firm, the results are worth noting.

SME Social Media Marketing Styles

The research involved 529 respondents - all from the small business sector around the United States. It explored innovative SMB practices that seemed beyond their capabilities. Approximately 64 per cent of small businesses that participated in the survey said they employed social media on a regular basis. 49 per cent used a combination of other online strategies while 34 per cent organised events. The rest still used traditional media like print advertising (36 per cent), television (22 per cent) and radio broadcast (22 per cent).

The study aimed to personalise advertising strategies and target the most appealing and effective one. There is a way to maximise limited resources and get the most out of your ad budget. Such as in the case of

Facebook dollars often go to florists, rental firms and caterers.'s owner Ryan O'Neil said that at present we have "a very niche market, so you have to go where the fish are."  If you use traditional media, you cannot specifically identify who you're marketing to.

However, you do not have to do away with traditional metrics completely. It can be difficult because these are still being used by many people to this day.

Brand agency Deksia senior partner Josh Ryther notes: “Print, TV and radio have been around so long that there is an innate trust factor for a lot of people.” Everyone uses Facebook these days, and you can click and run an ad without any real thought or strategy behind it, he said.

Social Media is Double-Edged Sword

Social media – and more important brand engagement – has become more cynical and less empathetic. Still, despite people's beef with social media, Facebook continues to be a significant platform for SMEs. In fact, 86 per cent of small businesses said they use Facebook in some way or another. 51 per cent said they use it more than YouTube. 47 per cent claimed they use it more than Instagram, while 32 per cent of respondents said they use Facebook more than LinkedIn.

In the context of advertising platforms, Google search ads remain the favourite among small-medium enterprises (53 per cent). Banner advertising (37 per cent), video ads (30 per cent) and remarketing/retargeting (28 per cent) are the next favourite options. Meanwhile, only 24 per cent of small businesses find c0llaborating with social media influencers an effective SMM strategy.

But what does the future hold? Two thirds or almost 70 per cent small businesses surveyed said they look forward to new advertising channels. The majority of SME and start-ups (29 per cent) will faithfully continue to use online and social media as their primary marketing tool. Other SMEs, on one hand, will retrace their roots and consider print, radio and TV advertising into their marketing plans.

The Future of Social Media

Ultimately, when you market your business, you must also look into your customers' mindset. The survey report offered this advice to every SME: be willing to change your advertising based on what works for your clients. Citizen group founder Robin Raj said:

In a world where there’s so much distraction, competition and noise, you want to be able to tell your story and convey value. That often requires paid media to put out the content or message you want to convey, and it’s important to continually evolve this strategy and listen to your customers.

Catch-all campaigns must be avoided in the future. Marketers should also avoid treating millennials as homogenous and understand that diversity exists within this group. Young people especially students, for example, have a different set of consumption habits from regular consumers. Only a handful of millennials in a millennial sub-demographic may be capable of purchasing specific items in a given time.

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Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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