Dan 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.