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Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are planning to increase their internet advertising spending, according to a new report.

A survey conducted by advertising network firm DirectoryM found that 37 per cent of SMEs are planning to boost their online ad spend, with an average of 52 per cent of SMEs ad budgets being set aside for internet marketing.

The website is also becoming a key component of marketing, with 62 per cent of firms aiming to optimise their website for search engines. Just under half of all respondents added they are considering pay-per-click online ads.

Blair Heavey, DirectoryM’s chief executive officer, said that many firms were too busy to deal with all the aspects of online advertising themselves, and are turning to middle men to help deal with the sector.

"Because SMBs are busy running their daily operations, they are often time-strapped and may be unfamiliar with the challenges of optimising a website, monitoring the site traffic and effectively selecting online advertising venues to deliver the highest ROI," he said.

The survey looked at 128 small and medium sized firms located in the US and UK.