Facebook is focusing heavily on small and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), even as the company plans to rebrand and change its name. On Thursday it released features to help SMBs drive performance on its platform.
Features like the ability to view a business’ product directly in its profile on WhatsApp.
Catalog collection is rolling out worldwide, allowing SMBs to organize items in their catalogs by category, so consumers no longer have to scroll through long lists of items.
A restaurant, for example, can create collections featuring appetizers, entrees and desserts, and a clothing store could add collections for men’s clothes, women’s clothes, shirts, pants and more. Once people choose what to buy, they add it to their cart and send the order to the business.
Features are being added to the Facebook Business Suite to help businesses save time, such as create Instagram-only ads on desktop and provide insights to measure ad performance including recommendations on target audience and optimization.
It also has become easier to select the correct goal when creating an ad from a Facebook Business Page by consolidating 11 goals into three: Automated Ads, Create an Ad, and Boost Existing Content -- and simplifying the ad-creation process in Ads Manager to align campaign objectives with traditional marketing goals such as awareness, site traffic, leads or sales.
Facebook also is testing more ways to let people know they are supporting a small business when they engage with a personalized ad. Some Facebook users may soon see an informational message in their feed when they 'like' or 'love' an ad from a small business.
The message explains how engaging with an ad from a small business can help the business continue to find new customers and grow.
About 72% of U.S. small businesses using personalized ads say this is important to their success.
Then there is business audio and video calling, with select small and medium-sized businesses using Business Inbox in Messenger. It allows them a way to communicate with customers in a private setting through phone, video calling, and messaging in one app.
As more businesses operate online, small businesses need more ways to connect with customers and operate their business digitally. In September, the company released the Global State of Small Business report that looks at the beginning of the recovery in 2021 following the COVID-19 pandemic.
This holiday season is crucial for small businesses, with 20% of small business owners expect to make more than half their annual revenue in the last months of the year, per the report.
The study clearly shows many challenges for SMBs, yet are there signs of a stronger recovery.
The proportion of SMBs reporting higher sales in the past 30 days compared to a year ago has increased consistently, from 16% in May 2020 to 28% in July 2021.
Some 52% continue to report lower sales. The share of SMBs reporting a reduction in employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also risen since the start of 2021, from 30% to 36%.
Women-led businesses were hit harder than men-led businesses. Approximately 20% of women-led SMBs reported being closed, compared to 16% of men-led SMBs, although both rates have fallen since the start of 2021, by 7 and 5 percentage points, respectively.