What can the Facebook ad platform do for small businesses?

DanLevyFBfit650

Facebook has been going around the country, speaking with small business owners about ways to grow through the social network at Facebook Fit events. One of the most important figures, in terms of advertising for small businesses, is Facebook’s Director of Small Business — Dan Levy.

Levy talked with the 350-plus people on hand about what Facebook has to offer as not only an advertising channel, but a direct response option. Last year, Levy talked with Inside Facebook about how the small business segment is rapidly growing. Now that there are 30 million active small businesses with a page on Facebook, we caught up with Levy again to explore what’s next for advertisers.

Inside Facebook: Can you talk about how you feel the Facebook Fit events have gone so far?

Dan Levy: It’s been wonderful. We’ve always worked with lots of clients and small business owners, but to be able to put real human faces behind the numbers and human stories has been really helpful for us and really helpful for the business owners as well — to see that there’s real people at Facebook who care about their business and want them to succeed.

IF: Is this something Facebook wants to do more of in the future — getting that one-on-one interaction?

DL: We think business owners really want stuff to work. That’s the most important thing. We’re always going to make the core of what we do making the product as easy and as powerful as possible. We think if we’re going to reach all the businesses that we want to reach, it’s going to take a little bit more than that. This is a start in figuring that out. Whether it means more of these kinds of events, whether it means better support, or whether it means creating communities where they can help each other — we’re going to look at everything.

IF: Can you talk about the way that the small business ecosystem has grown over the past year?

DL: The growth is really exciting. There’s more than 30 million active small businesses on Facebook. More than 19 million are on mobile devices — we think mobile has been a big enabler. It’s easy to use. It’s really powerful. If you’ve got a mobile phone and a page, you’ve got a marketing strategy now. We think that, combined with the results that we can help deliver for businesses, has really accelerated the ecosystem for small businesses.

IF: It seems like you’ve been trying to target more of the novice advertisers. People who are on Facebook, but they haven’t advertised much, if at all. Is that where the strategy is going?

DL: We want to help all businesses and we want to deliver whatever they need. We’ve been moving more toward objectives to help them. If they’re an in-store business, how do we help them drive traffic in store? If they’re an online business, how do we help them drive conversions and track sales? If they’re a mobile app, how do we get them installs or engagement?

We do spend a lot of our time working with businesses that may just have a page, and maybe they’re going to move into advertising or maybe they’re just on Facebook as a user, but they haven’t created a page for their business. We’ve been making big investments in all of those things.

IF: What are some verticals that are really doing well now, with Facebook advertising?

DL: We’ve seen everything. Obviously, the direct response and e-commerce businesses are doing quite well. We think we have a really good, full, complete solution there. The mobile app install business is going really well. We’re seeing momentum in everything, and I think we’ll continue to see that as we continue to release solutions to help not just solve social marketing problems, but real marketing problems.

IF: What has been the response you’ve heard from small business owners at Facebook Fit?

DL: We’ve heard everything. I’d say the response has generally been very positive. You can search the hashtag #FacebookFit and get a really good sample of what people are posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We generally hear feedback, “Oh, I didn’t know about Custom Audiences, why isn’t everyone using this?” It’s this concept at a high level of it’s great to see that we care and it’s great to know about something I haven’t learned about yet, or a business that was an inspiration.

IF: When we talk next year, what do you think is going to be the big trend with small businesses?

DL: I think we’re going to be talking a lot about mobile. The same transition we saw in 2012 on the people side of the business is going to happen. Business owners are going to be using mobile tools more and more, and we want to be the place where they’re doing that.

IF: I know you’ve got Pages Manager and Ads Manager (within the main Facebook app). Do you think there could be another app or feature rolled out to help business owners?

DL: I think we’ll see. We’re excited about the Pages Manager app. There’s 10 million-plus people on it. We’re excited that the mobile Ads Manager has launched. That’s been out, what, a week? Clearly, they’re going to keep investing in it.

Readers: How often do you manage your page via mobile?

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