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Small businesses exploring paid social, search

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New York—While only a quarter of small businesses currently use paid search as a part of their marketing campaigns, a majority now say they plan to invest in pay-per-click search advertising this year and explore social advertising as well, according to a new study from American Express OPEN, a supplier of small-business services.

According to the company's “Small Business Search Marketing Survey,” which was conducted online in March and drew 400 respondents, 56% of small businesses will spend some of their budgets on search or social media advertising this year. “Free” social media participation already is used by 44% of small businesses.

While word-of-mouth remains the most effective way for customers to find small businesses, cited by 86% of respondents, 66% said customers are also finding them through search engines, the survey found.

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