Quick Study: Small Businesses Up Online Spend; CEOs Flock to Davos; Digital Outsourcing on the Rise; Midterm Voters Go Social

â–¶ Small Businesses, Big Plans: The Ad-ology survey of small-business owners reveals a general optimism and increased online marketing activities for the next year. The study shows that 46% of small business owners plan to increase their marketing budgets in the upcoming year, whereas 29% planned on increases in 2010. Other findings include:

• While businesses have typically limited their online marketing methods to e-mail marketing and company Web sites, 45% are planning to utilize online video, and 35% will look toward mobile advertising.

• 56% of SMB owners expect sales to increase in 2011, as opposed to 39% in 2010.

• 22% admit to having difficulty understanding online advertising.

• 64% have a company Web site, while only 53% reported doing last year.

Source: Ad-ology Research

â–¶ CEOs Flock to Davos: Weber Shandwick’s “Five-Star Conference” study finds that in 2010, nearly three out of 10 industry leaders spoke at top-tier events. Examining CEOs for all 55 industries included in the World’s Most Admired Companies survey, the agency found that the World Economic Forum at Davos took the lead in CEO speaking platforms. Other findings include:

• Next to Davos, the No. 2 speaking venue was the Clinton Global Initiative, and the No. 3 a tie between the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and The Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

• On average, industry-leading CEOs spoke at close to two top-tier events last year.

• Business-to-consumer industry-leading CEOs were slightly more likely to speak at top-tier business forums than business-to-business industry-leading CEOs.

• The leading topic for participating industry-leading CEOs was the global economy and outlook. Other topics were education, gender equality and company- or issue-specific opportunities.

Source: Weber Shandwick

â–¶ Communicators Shift to Digital Outsourcing: Due to the increased complexity in required tools, technologies, and processes, communicators and agencies are struggling to successfully engage consumers in digital channels, says a new study by digitalArbor. As a result, there is strong shift to outsourcing in digital production. Specific findings include:

• 79% of survey respondents admitted to outsourcing digital projects in 2010; 75% plan to outsource in 2011.

• This majority included a 5% increase in outsourcing by external agencies.

• 77% plan to outsource domestically.

• 23% plan to use resources outside of the U.S. in 2011.

• The most commonly outsourced projects: Web site development, at 77%; display ad and rich media development, at 63%; and e-mail marketing, at 44%.

Source: digitalArbor

â–¶ Midterm Elections Get Passing Online Grade: Some 21% of online adults used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace in the months leading up to the November 2010 elections to connect with a campaign or the election itself, and 2% of online adults did so using Twitter—says a study by Pew Research Center. This works out to a total of 23% of adult Internet users who engaged with a political campaign on Twitter or social networking sites. Additional findings include:

• 11% of online adults discovered on a social networking site who their friends voted for in the November elections.

• 9% of online adults received candidate or campaign information on social networking sites or Twitter.

• 8% of online adults posted political content on Twitter or a social networking site.

• 7% of online adults friended a candidate or political group on a social networking site or followed them on Twitter.

• 7% of online adults started or joined a political group on a social networking site.

• Among social networking site users, 40% of Republican voters and 38% of Democratic voters used these sites to get involved politically. PRN

Source: Pew Research Center