Facebook Product Management Director Deb Liu speaks at Facebook's F8 developer conference in San Francisco on April 30, 2014.
Facebook will be pounding the pavement this summer in an attempt to teach its largest group of advertisers — small and medium-sized businesses — how to utilize the company's ad offerings.
Facebook, along with partners like Square, Intuit QuickBooks, and LegalZoom, is planning a five-stop event tour the company calls Facebook Fit, a series of "boot camp-style events designed to help SMBs achieve business success," Facebook wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
Facebook has stops planned in five major U.S. markets, and expects 500 to 700 attendees at each event, according to Dan Levy, Facebook's director of small business. The events are intended for both existing and potential advertisers, and Levy tellsMashable that the specific content may be determined by which companies sign up.
The idea for a boot camp came as a result of Facebook's Small Business Council. a collection of a dozen advertisers who met at the company's Menlo Park, California, headquarters a few months back. Facebook found that many of the council members were sharing advertising insights with other SMBs, and Facebook wasn't supporting them in the process.
Facebook found that advertisers are still asking simple questions like, "How many users see my ad?" Businesses want to drive growth, and Facebook can do a better job of helping its advertisers determine exactly how much money their ads are generating, Levy explains. Facebook uses other statistics like Likes, fans and comments to help advertisers determine their ad success, but those aren't always clear.
"Those are things that help your business, but that's not what makes the cash register ring at the end of the day," Levy told Mashable. "You want to drive sales and you want to drive new customers, and we need to be helping businesses understand how they drive that, not just how they make a post go viral."
Facebook has more than one million advertisers, the majority of which are small businesses. Despite the high number of advertisers, however, there is still a lot of room for growth. Facebook has more than 25 million SMBs with active Facebook pages, meaning roughly 4% are actually advertising. That's a lot of untapped revenue potential.
It's logical to imagine marketers will advertise more aggressively with Facebook if they understand how the platform works, so a five city tour is a small price to pay if it puts a portion of Facebook's advertising community at ease.
Industry analyst Brian Blau believes that engagement metrics like fans, Likes, and comments are still important for SMBs, but is also watching Facebook's new video ads as a potential draw down the road. Facebook is still testing its video ad offerings with a select number of advertisers, but its unlikely SMBs will be able to afford them right now. The ads, which were expected to cost as much as $2 million, are being sold for closer to $600,000.
Still, Blau believes video might be a way for Facebook to lure more SMBs in the future. "Video is a really important medium going forward," he says. "Maybe bringing those kinds of [video] tools would be helpful for SMBs, too."
The Facebook Fit tour kicks off in New York City on June 3. The full schedule is below, and interested SMBs can sign up here.
- New York – June 3
- Miami – June 19
- Chicago – July 10
- Austin – July 24
- Menlo Park – August 5
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