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Study says small-business search spend growth slows

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Irvine, Calif.—Small businesses continue to spend more on search advertising than they did last year, but the triple-digit growth numbers from previous quarters have leveled off, according to the latest quarterly report from local online advertising company WebVisible.

The study's sample size of more than 12,000 WebVisible small-business customers reveals average search spend of $2,327 in the third quarter of this year, an increase of 43% over the $1,627 spent on average in the year-earlier period. While this is robust growth, this year's second quarter experienced 159% growth year over year, with 91% growth occurring in the first three months of 2010 and 111% growth in 2009's final quarter.

WebVisible said the slower growth rate could indicate that small-business search advertisers are closing in on an optimum level of spending, and that service providers are getting better at determining efficient spend amounts for their advertiser clients.

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