Local SMB’s Plan to Spend 54% Of Their 2018 Ad Budgets On Digital Channels

The 2017 Borrell SMB Survey results are now officially in. And our own local businesses are telling us a great deal of their 2018 outlook. (Click the chart above for a larger view.)

We are digital marketers first, everything else comes after.

If there was ever any doubt about what business we are in today, the new survey results should provide clarity. Our own local businesses told us that they expect to devote 54% of their ad budgets to online channels. In fact Online spending is one of only 4 media categories (joining Cinema, Out of Home, and Telemarketing) that shows growth compared to the last full-year spend in 2016. Newspaper share of total budgets is falling again, and will represent just 8% of local ad budgets, resting between Local TV and Radio.

Path of least resistance…would I rather talk about the 54% or the 8%?

That’s a question that we should really be discussing with customers. They are the ones that are telling us that more than half their efforts are devoted to digital channels. We still have print in our arsenal. But “leading with digital” has not come easy. But that is easier today more than ever before, because it represents more than half of our customer’s total spending!

Two-thirds is the real goal!

If you look a little deeper at the Borrell SMB survey results, you start to see our real opportunity lies in our media mix, not just in becoming digital. (Click the chart for a larger view.)

Nobody said that news-papers are dead, they just don’t represent the same thing they used to. Local businesses are still forecasting they will be part of their plans. And these same local SMB’s are also forecasting use of niche publications (special sections, Discover magazines, My (Lifestyle) Magazines in the form of “Other Print.”

  • Online: 54%
  • Newspaper: 8%
  • Other Print: 4$

So if you look at what we truly represent in TOTAL opportunities for local businesses (Online, Newspaper, and Other Print) our real opportunity is just short of two-thirds of all local ad spending. And by simply determining what the total ad budget can and should be, we need to be recommend a wise use of 67% of it!

2018 will demand a significant shift if going to market. We’ll provide more information on this in the coming weeks. The first steps are becoming more proficient in all the tools we have at our disposal in order to support the 54% (and growing) digital share of ad spend. Our local business customers deserve that.

Quote(s) of the week

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” 
– Jimmy Dean
 “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
― Yogi Berra

New Features On MOM!! 

  • The menu in the upper right menu is an easy access for reports and contacts that you will need to keep handy. We will keep updating the information on these pages as we go, but you should be able to find links, names, and phone numbers that you need on a regular basis. You can use this kind of like your own in-house directory.
  • Follow MOM, receive an email notification every time a new update of MOM is published. If you are a WordPress user and are logged in, just click the Follow button in the admin bar. If you are not a WordPress user, or are logged out, just click the Follow button in the lower right-hand corner of your blog’s home page.
  • Rate any post, or leave a comment.
  • MOM is available on ALL devices…desktop, mobile (Android & iOS), and tablet.

This is your MOM, at least at work that is.


NEW!!!-Interscroller Ad Position, New High Impact Inventory

GateHouse O&O sites now have a new high impact ad position, called the Interscroller. The Interscroller runs inline within the content feed, scrolling smoothly onto and off the screen as a user scrolls through an article. It does not run on top of or block underlying content. This is on desktop and mobile with different sizes to fit, and is purchased “by day”…see rate cards. Check the CSC site for specific instructions regarding this ad position and a working example. (Please access this site frequently for updates.)

IMPORTANT: Q4 Digital Rate Cards On The Drive

Please access the new Q4 digital rate cards on the drive. What to look for…

  • Increase “base” rate for O&O Audience Packages
  • Premium charge for any campaign requesting specific ad units
  • Also please look at the “premium” targeting charges for OnTarget. These have been in play for a number of months but it looks like they have been overlooked.
  • Base rate for O&O using geo-targeting
  • Premium targeting fee “to be added” when any other type of targeting tactic is used
  • Plus don’t overlook the volume discounts on the card.

Q4 & Holidays Presentations

Packages, Pricing, and Presentations

Packages, pricing, and presentations are on the drive! 

There are many reasons to see all local businesses today about a strong finish to 2017. And ENC’s pricing is already set. Check out the deck from our Q4 kick off, plus the Q4 customer presentation template. You will also see sample presentations for guidance.

Remember, most local businesses are expecting a stronger holiday season this year, help them make that come true with our great Q4 bundles!




  • All sales personnel are requested to communicate with AdOps via email for all requests. Please help out, if you are not sending your requests via email, a face-to-face or phone request may not be fulfilled.


  • Now located on the AdOps page MOM, access from the Blog menu (upper right corner)

Events & Promotion

ENC Live is…

ENC Media Group’s events are now available with their own website, ENC Live is also now available from,, and, via the left hand menu navigation. We will be pointing all future website navigation for our live events to this website, and updating the site with appropriate detail and information. This is just another step in ENC’s evolution as a leading marketing services provider in the eastern and coastal North Carolina region.


Upcoming ENCLive events

  • ENC Home & Holiday Gift Show  December 15 & 16, 2017
  • ENC Bridal & Special Event Expo  January 21, 2018
  • ENC Jacksonville Home & Garden Show  March 10 & 11, 2018
  • ENC New Bern Home & Garden Show  March 17 & 18, 2018

Best of the Best-Readers Choice Events

  • Kinston Best of the Best, CSS Neuse Interpretive Center, 10/10/17, 5 pm – 7 pm


I Love USA Photo Contest Now Available!

4 weeks of audience participation

  • Patriotic photo submissions
  • Winning photo is picked, by our internal panel.
  • Winning photo submission earns a $100 gift card

Title Sponsorship-8 weeks of advertising

  • ¼ pg each week
  • Targeted (OnTarget) Display advertising, or Facebook Ad campaign
  • Sponsorship branding (logo) on all in-paper promotion
  • Branding on all Facebook posts to our own (Sun Journal) followers
  • Email blasts to our own registered user

Sales one-sheet is on the drive!

Already sold on!


Pie Chart of the Week

2018 Advertising Budget Forecast…54% to Digital

This is a repeat from the opening comments on today’s blog, but it bears repeating and also demands it’s own treatment.

2018 Advertising Forecasts-Local SMB’s Coastal North Carolina

  • Online: 54%
  • Local TV: 9%
  • Newspapers: 8%
  • Radio: 7%
  • Direct Mail: 5%
  • Other Print: 4%

…and so on


Please remember, these results are directly from local SMB’s in OUR MARKETS! They are not just national numbers.


And if you consider the channels that we are bringing to our markets on a daily basis, our overall recommendations honestly deserve a commanding presence, nearly two-thirds of local ad budgets!

54% = 8% = 4% = 66%!





…the new norm


October Digital Rollout Webinars

  • Please register for one of the two (2) Digital Roll Out webinars for October, (10/19 or 10/20.)  These webinars will discuss very important updates and new offerings from ThriveHive and GateHouse. Register thru the GateHouse LMS.

REMINDER…Upload Your Google Analytics for Beginners Certificate

  • Please go to the ThriveHive training website for instructions how to upload your Google Analytics for Beginners certificate. All MMSE’s are requested to do this. DUE DATE: Friday, 9/29/17.

For more information see the ThriveHive training website from your LMS.





Author: David Prizer

Digital media executive and thought leader, emphasizing local and small business strategies. 20 years of experience in metro and community markets. Still watching Seinfeld reruns and holding out for a Cubs-White Sox subway series in my lifetime.

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