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Extra SME support as five million businesses now advertise on Facebook

Five million businesses now actively advertise on Facebook, prompting the social network to mark the milestone with additional support for SMEs.
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Companies large and small are among those that advertise on Facebook, though Real Business is told that SMEs account for the majority – but the social network refused to divulge a specific breakdown as it celebrates the milestone.

While five million businesses advertise on Facebook, 65m companies have Pages to engage with customers and promote goods. The news comes just weeks after Instagram revealed it had reached one million advertisers, with eight million companies using business profiles.

To support the companies that already advertise on Facebook and Instagram, and in a bid to grow business users, the social network has introduced a handful of new SME-friendly updates. It stated the goal is “helping small businesses become large and local businesses become global in a mobilised economy”.

Speaking with Facebook’s Olly Sewell, senior manager of SMB, EMEA about how much businesses should look to spend to achieve such growth, he told Real Business that it’s about experimenting to see what works.

“For any company, it’s about ROI. We don’t say ‘you should make returns on X to grow’. Start small and start getting results, once you see that, then you can start expanding budget,” he said.

“The beauty is we’re seeing large and small firms see success. Huit Denim is a company set up by a husband and wife and they’ve gone from setting up to 16 employees and customers across UK, US and Europe.”

With the new support for SMEs to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, the Ads Manager App has had navigation enhanced so that ad performance can be reviewed side by side to speed up the process for business owners. Ads can also be extended for a longer run in just one click for an additional one, three or seven days.

The introduction of a Mobile Studio, meanwhile, will provide tools to enhance advertising content.

“We hear that small businesses want faster, easier and creative ways to create content. Mobile Studio is a new way to show businesses how easy it is to create ad content – a resource to help SMBs without breaking the bank,” Sewell continued.

“Facebook is a community of people and business, connecting for more than 13 years. “We want to help build and empower business. We’ve invested in simple solutions to help small businesses grow.”

Facebook’s free online Blueprint learning scheme also boasts one million users, 50 per cent of which are SMEs, and 2.5m course completions as people study in over 150 countries to learn best practices.

Elsewhere, harnessing its ideal of community, business owners can connect with peers through the Facebook Small Business Council. An official site has been launched in the US, with councils also found in India, Brazil and Germany while more are set to follow.

Businesses seeking to grow overseas customers can also benefit from a feature called International Lookalikes, a targeting function that lets companies find relevant consumers internationally.

Sewell added: “We looked at ways to help businesses connect with new customers and build great creative for Facebook and Instagram that creates the best ROI.

“Developments have been in the pipeline for a while. Facebook is constantly trying to innovate and help businesses be successful, and success for us is helping companies get results and grow.”

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

Real Business