Survey: Only 26% of SMBs are using AI for marketing
While AI can save SMBs time and money, most SMB owners and decision-makers don't understand how to use AI in marketing.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been slow to adopt AI technology. While 74% of SMBs are not using AI, 44% of those hope to start using it within the next year, a survey has found.
Why we care. Marketers have felt overwhelmed by AI and all the changes we’ve seen in the past year. SMBs that can unearth the potential of AI tools and harness its power can reap the benefits (e.g., saving time and money). But it’s a steep learning curve and SMBs typically are time-strapped.
By the numbers. Larger SMBs (with over 50 employees) are more likely to be using AI, according to a report from Constant Contact:
- 40% of SMBs with 50+ employees use AI.
- 30% of SMBs with 10-49 employees use AI.
- 12% of SMBs with 1-9 employees use AI.
How SMBs use AI. So how are those 26% of SMBs that have adopted AI using it most in marketing?
- 52% for social media.
- 44% for content creation (writing and images).
- 41% for email campaigns.
Benefits for SMBs using AI. Ninety-one percent of SMBs that use AI said it has helped their business be more successful, according to the survey.
- 72% of marketers said using AI helped them save more than 25 minutes per week.
SMBs also expect to save money as a result of using AI for marketing, with 72% saying it will save them up to $5,000 per year:
Barriers to entry. Many surveys have shown the biggest barrier to implementing AI is a lack of training and education. This is also true among SMBs:
- 80% of SMBs have a beginner- or intermediate-level understanding of using AI for marketing.
The biggest concerns preventing SMBs from using AI include data security, costs and the time needed to learn how to use and implement it.
About the survey. Ascend2 collected this data in partnership with Constant Contact, surveying 486 small business owners and decision makers who work at U.S. organizations operating in both B2B and B2C.
Read the report. An AI Awakening (PDF).