Facebook Biz Strategy Hits 2M Advertisers

Facebook’s small- and medium-sized business strategy appears to have achieved critical mass. In fact, the social giant says it has officially surpassed 2 million active advertisers -- most of which are SMBs.

In a note on Tuesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg singled out several small business partners for their enterprising work, while the executive duo described each of Facebook’s ad partners as “inspiring stories.”

The milestone follows aggressive efforts by Facebook to get SMBs spending more on its platform.

Last summer, the company launched a five-city tour led by Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business, to sell small businesses on the power of paid social. As part of that effort, Levy emphasized Facebook’s ability to reach consumers on mobile devices, where Facebook users spend most of their time.

More recently, Facebook developed a “Local Awareness” ad unit that can target potential patrons within a certain radius of a business’ address.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, Facebook debuted an app for advertisers to manage their ad campaigns on the go. With the app, partners can track ad performance, edit existing ads, edit ad budgets and schedules, receive push notifications, and even create new ads.

The app was designed to complement an Ads Manager mobile site, which Facebook launched last summer, and which is presently being used by some 800,000 advertisers each month.

Analysts say small business spending should be a key driver of growth for Facebook this year.

Among other factors, “Facebook can point to a wide range of factors that will sustain growth through 2015 and beyond [including] increasing share of spending from small businesses and large brands alike,” Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research Group, explained in a recent note to investors.

And there is plenty of room for growth among SMBs. Last year, Sandberg said Facebook had more than 30 million active small business pages -- all of whom are potential ad partners.

Industrywide, more SMBs are using social media to augment their ad efforts, and their search campaigns in particular.

SMBs that spend more than $25,000 annually on advertising and promotion plan to allocate 17.4% of their marketing budgets to social media in the next 12 months, according to recent findings from BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor service.

Beyond the note from Zuckerberg and Sandberg, on Tuesday Facebook declined to elaborate on its small business strategy.

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