Social video ads skyrocket in Q1

Small businesses are using more than local search marketing to drive visits from new customers - they are increasingly leveraging other communication channels, such as social media, as well. A new study from Visible Measures suggests social media video ads are gaining particular traction, with views jumping substantially in the first quarter of 2012.

More than 1.33 billion social video ads were served to prospective customers during the first three months of the year, a 78 percent increase compared to the previous quarter and nearly double year-over-year. Citing the research, eMarketer notes that Q1 is typically a busy time of the year for video social ads, with many companies making Super Bowl commercials and encouraging their fans to share them with others.

"But this year's Q1 results were also 72 percent better than the same period in 2011, indicating a real rise in social video ad viewership," eMarketer explains.

For many businesses, social media sites such as Facebook offer a new way of reaching a huge audience. Facebook, for example, has upward of 800 million members.