Survey: Facebook ads reign supreme among merchants

MerchantCircle's quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey was released on Thursday, providing insight on the way local businesses utilize Facebook for marketing purposes.

Of the 5,000 local business owners surveyed, 66 percent reported that they use Facebook to market their business. The use of Facebook Ads revealed a 94 percent awareness rate among local owners, with 65 percent of respondents reporting that they would use the service more than once.

"Facebook and other social networks have already established themselves as important marketing channels for local businesses, and the company is effectively parlaying this popularity into local ad sales," said Darren Waddell, vice president of marketing at MerchantCircle.

Facebook's popularity has come at the expense of traditional marketing methods. The use of print advertising has dropped from 27 to 24 percent over the last three months, while the use of Yellow Pages declined from 37 to 29 percent. In addition, Facebook's own location-based marketing product for local search, Facebook Places, has also seen a decline during that time period, from 32 percent to 22 percent.

Despite the attention that mobile marketing has received, it has yet to be embraced by businesses. Only 18 percent of respondents reported a using a mobile campaign, with lack of understanding cited as the most significant barrier.