What Do You Want to Know about Facebook’s Local Strategy?

Dan LevyDan Levy is the guy at Facebook who thinks about local and SMB advertising all day long (and perhaps all night long too). He’s also thinking about how Facebook Nearby and the new Graph Search play into the bigger local and SMB ads picture for the company.

In Q4 Facebook reported that 23% of its ad revenues were generated via mobile. That represented more than $300 million. In less than six months Facebook has become one of the biggest mobile ad platforms in the US.

Facebook’s Nearby functionality is all about local search on mobile devices. Graph Search is also biased toward the “real world,” though not exclusively about local.

Surveys consistently reveal that huge numbers of SMBs have a presence on the site (40% to 60%+), nearly 13 million as of last year. Facebook itself suggested it may have as many as 500K active SMB advertisers in one of its earlier earnings calls.

Yet Facebook faces most of the same challenges that all media companies face in acquiring and servicing SMBs. Its local strategy is much younger than Google’s. Will the company, partly run by former Googler Sheryl Sandberg, profit from Google’s long history and experience (and mistakes) in local? Or is Facebook doomed to make its own series of mistakes?

How will its local advertiser acquisition and product strategy evolve? How big a player in local will Facebook become? Is Facebook committed to Nearby and local search or are they more like Deals and Questions, two short lived experiments that were shuttered after not living up to expectations?

I’m excited to be interviewing Dan on stage at the Local Search Association conference in Las Vegas, on April 15 and 16. Let me know what questions you would ask if you were me (in the comments below). And if you want to be there in person, register for the event.

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7 Responses to “What Do You Want to Know about Facebook’s Local Strategy?”

  1. Danial Ahchow says at

    The big question I’d have for him / Facebook is how do you plan on executing?

    As someone who has managed huge Google Adwords accounts with over 90,000 target keywords across a number of different States and Territories it becomes impossible to manage unless you have amazing tools to help you out as an advertiser.

    So, what are the “amazing tools” that Facebook is creating to help big companies/agencies manage complex advertising campaigns, particularly if those campaigns now require the extra detail of very specific locations and maybe even times.

    Google has recently tried to address this with an update to “simplify” their ad management systems, however speak to SMB and its all too complex.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks. 

  3. Kim LaFleur says at

    Greg – My question is about the average consumers ability to sort / filter Friends & Likes by “local” proximity so you can address or assess them as a geographic group. Share local biz info with the people who care and ask questions of those Friends & Businesses (LIKES) who are relevant without Spamming everyone else. Yea, you can achieve that by creating groups, but unless you started actively segmenting on geo long ago, that route is cumbersome. Or what about National Business Franchises? How will FB help Franchisees keep the voice of the corporate brand but allow the local market Franchises to communicate or message locally? It seems that product architecture is not fully thought through or constructed well. Seems both activities would grow engagement and ad $$$’s if they could be addressed.

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    I suspect FB is imagining an “asynchronous” situation where Friends’ likes and reviews/ratings are simply surfaced rather than a Q&A scenario. But these are good questions. Thanks

  5. Justin Sous says at

    Greg, my question is regarding support. As a local search marketer, Facebook is constantly on the back burner for us in terms of weighing its importance and assessing its value to our customers. When Facebook does eventually become an important player in local (I think it’s inevitable, given the size of its community), what type of support will be offered to agencies and businesses engaging in their local products? Recently, Google has started offering a lot of phone/email support, which was a surprise for me and actually so far a good experience. Actually, it makes a HUGE different when you can get answers quickly from a human being, rather than getting default auto-responder emails like “We’ll look into your issue in the next 48-1000 hours).” I hope to read a follow up post that can address this question after the conference.

    Thank you!

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    Justin: I think just as it took years for Google to come to phone-based support you can probably expect that will also be true for Facebook. I’ll ask a version of your question, however. (I’ll ask about support for agencies and directly to SMBs.)

  7. Justin Sous says at

    Great, thank you! I figure they may decide to address that sooner than Google did since they’ve seen how local can be such an involved product (all 3 parties working/communicating together…customer, agency, search engine). I figured I would pose the question because it’s one aspect of local for Facebook which I haven’t seen addressed yet.

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