Facebook will give away ad money to small businesses

Facebook announced that small business will receive $10 million worth of free advertising on Facebook. The Facebook Small Business Boost program will give $50 worth of free advertising on Facebook to 200,000 small businesses. The program begins in January 2012.

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The program is a joint project of Facebook, the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. According to the Facebook announcement, it’s more than just the money – a good thing, because frankly, I don’t see how a mere $50 would be very tempting. The program also involves access to free resources and information on how to use Facebook to grow a business, live webinars, and a traveling roadshow to connect with small businesses.

According to ReadWriteWeb,

This signals a push by Facebook to steer small businesses towards using social as their main advertising category. It also indicates that Facebook is ready to use changes to how Facebook operates to bulk up advertising inventory and its revenue streams.

Sarah Perez at TechCrunch put it in similar terms. She said,

Of course, Facebook is clearly helping itself here, too, hoping to incentivize business owners to move more of their advertising dollars away from search engines like Google and into Facebook’s own network. That said, with Facebook’s now 800 million active users, it’s not exactly a bad move for small business owners to become more educated on how to use the network’s tools to connect with their customers.

At Work at Home Blog, omris writes,

While the benefits of small businesses are pretty obvious, you might ask yourself what is it for Facebook?

First, by providing free ad credits Facebook intend to allure small business owners to allocate more marketing funds to its own advertising platform. Second, by releasing online resources so small businesses will optimize their Facebook pages and such, it serves both parties. Third, cross-country roadshows is a great marketing and advertising concept for Facebook itself.

Facebook urges business owners to get started by creating a free Facebook Page for their business. However the new ad giveaway program will provide display ads rather than interaction with customers via a business’ page.

If you already have a Page for your business, you may have noted that recent changes to Pages mean that people no longer have to Like your page to leave a comment on it. Not having to Like a page, means that the steam from your page isn’t appearing on the wall of people who may want to interact with your brand. Facebook’s solution is for you to use display ads to reach out.

As of yet, there’s no information on where and how to apply to qualify for the free advertising dollars. Keep an eye on Facebook Marketing Solutions for announcements.

I’m wondering how many small business owners will find it worth their time to go through the application process for a potential $50 worth of ads. Access to the resources and information provided in the roadshow might be more worth the effort. Are you a small business owner? Are you interested?


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