Facebook offers small businesses free advertising

Social network site Facebook has announced that it is going to offer free advertising to small businesses all over Europe, in an effort to help companies reach a wider audience. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told a Munich conference that over 50,000 new firms would be offered credits to the value of $100 that they could “spend” on advertising on the popular site, which has millions of members around the world.
As well as offering the free advertising space to UK firms, Sandberg revealed that Facebook has joined forces with the British Chamber of Commerce to run a series of events aimed at educating people with their own business on the importance of social media and how to build an effective Facebook page of their own.
The announcement came just as Deloitte was announcing the results of its own research into the impact that Facebook has had on UK business and society, including the creation of over 35,000 jobs and a £2 billion boost to the economy.
Speaking at the DND conference in Munich, Sandberg welcomed Deloitte’s findings, saying that it showed that Facebook could be a valuable business tool, able to support small companies that need all the help they cam get in the current economic climate.
Facebook has recently expanded its business support network, adding features such as Sponsored Stories and Facebook Places in an effort to encourage companies of all sizes to engage with their their consumers and users through the social media site. Free to use, Facebook relies on advertising to provide the bulk of its revenues.
Small companies which have already used Facebook to advertise their products or services were generally positive about the effect that social media campaigns can have on the bottom line.
Ryan O’Rorke, who founded the online business LoveOnlineDeals.com to allow users to search for the best bargains in their area, said that Facebook advertising had been more successful for them than other internet services, such as Google Adwords, as the social media site allows them to better target customers with the deals that are available in their local area.
While he was impressed with Facebook’s offer to provide $100 of advertising credit for European start-ups, he added that once firms had seen what the social media site could offer them in terms of increased revenue, it was likely that they would end up spending more money than they had budgeted for on further online ads.
However, blogger Adam Baker, who founded the journalism site Blottr.com, said that he felt Facebook advertising was very expensive compared to other online services. Adding that considering Facebook ads had a bounce rate of 70%, the number of people who leave a page as soon as they click-through to it, they were very expensive, especially when compared to other options.
With Facebook expected to sign up its one billionth user some time during the summer, there is no doubt that $100 of advertising will help small companies from across Europe reach more customers than they could have hoped to target on their own small budgets, despite any concerns about its effectiveness in the long term.