Simplicity breeds adoption, especially when it comes to online advertising and marketing.
"In an ideal world complexity wouldn't exist; a product would be so simple every small business could use it," said Dan Levy, the social network's lead for small business, at the BIA/Kelsey interactive conference. "Until that day comes, we think there's a lot of third-party service providers that can help companies use Facebook with tools and services."
Levy said it's important for Facebook to understand what these companies provide, and how the social network can make it easier for small companies to connect with their customers. Levy also said Facebook will look into supporting third-party companies that offer services, extending its network beyond the preferred marketing developer program it offers today for large and small businesses.
It all comes down to helping smaller companies create a Facebook page, with a lot of attention given to mobile, advertising and real-time location.
About one-third of the 100,000 small businesses that have published Offers are new Facebook advertisers, and about 30% are claimed on mobile devices. Levy said about 2.5 million posts have been promoted since the product launched in June, and that 75% of daily Promoted Posts are purchased by repeat customers.
Facebook supports more than 13 million small and local business pages. Active Pages grew about 40% this year, and the number of Pages owners -- businesses self-identified as local -- who bought advertising nearly doubled. About 150 million people visit Pages daily, and nearly half of those visitors come from mobile, which now contributes 14% to Facebook's global revenue.
The recently launched Promoted Posts aims to provide a simplified way for businesses to reach consumers without using Facebook's more complex ad system. About 300,000 pages have used the solution to write a status update and prompt it. About one-quarter are new advertisers on the site.
The local-mobile model plays nicely into Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg's description of a recommendation engine for the social site. In the past, he has described the ultimate Facebook search engine as a cross between a recommendation and Q&A tool. "Friends ask friends for recommendations, so if you follow the theme we hear about listening to customers, there's clearly opportunities," Levy said.
"Small Businesses from Shutterstock"