Facebook launched its SMB roadshow in New York today: Facebook Fit. The company also announced that, globally, it had 30 million small business Pages (Business Pages) on the site. That’s up from 25 million just a few months ago — although that number includes SMBs with no offline presence.
I asked Facebook in San Francisco at the Street Fight event today about geographic distribution. Alas no new insight was provided. The official number of advertisers remains 1 million.
ZDNet was in the audience and offers some observations on the day. A reporter I spoke with this morning who was also in attendance in New York called it “slick” and said advertising was barely mentioned.
Apparently also in attendance were some SMB marketers who use Facebook. One mentioned in the ZDNet article is Fairway Market, a regional grocery store chain in the New York area. The company reportedly has a $12 million annual marketing budget.
While this technically might qualify as a “small business,” it’s pretty far removed from traditional SMBs, which have fewer than 10 employees. This got me thinking about Facebook’s opportunity and how it’s segmenting the SMB market.
The yellow pages industry historically saw an average annual advertiser spend of just under $6,000.
I’m wondering if Facebook’s ultimate plan involves focusing on much higher-spending SMBs that will have in-house marketing personnel and “real” marketing budgets of $100,000+. I know that at least right now the company is directing its message to SMBs broadly and not just high spenders.
But Facebook will probably have a great deal more success if it segments the market (its installed 30 million base) according to certain marketer profiles.
Facebook can probably can identify certain characteristics of SMB marketers on the site that are going to be more growth oriented and capable of taking advantage of the social networks’ marketing capabilities. It’s an interesting exercise: to see if the company can use its own tools and data to identify the best prospects from among the 30 million.
In the same way that ReachLocal’s early prospecting involved calling quarter page (and above) print yellow pages advertisers, I also wonder if Facebook will target AdWords SMBs among its 30 million SMB Page owners and go after those who aren’t already Facebook advertisers.
What’s your prediction? Will Facebook succeed where others have failed to gain direct SMB self-service enrollments? What SMB segmentation approach do you think the site should use?