Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business, just said that the company has 30 million small businesses with active Pages on the social network.
That’s up from 25 million from last November, when Facebook first started using its current definition to counting SMBs using its current definition (previously, it didn’t count e-commerce businesses that don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, so we can’t make an apples-to-apples comparison).
Levy shared the number during the press Q&A session at Facebook Fit, a small business-focused event. (The event will tour five cities, starting today with New York.) He added that in recent months, Facebook has been “really trying to pivot to be more proactive” — initially, the small business team really just existed to review and approve ads, but “it’s been an evolution” to working more closely with SMBs to make sure they have information they need, including through events like this one.
Levy was also asked a couple of times about Facebook’s decline in organic reach, i.e. the fact that you now reach fewer people with your posts if you don’t pay for advertising. Facebook has attributed that decline to the increasing number of connections and updates (so there’s just more content competing for users’ attention), and Levy offered a similar explanation today.
But if the pattern continues, will we eventually hit the point where the only way for a business to reach their Facebook fans is with ads? Levy said it’s hard to predict the future, but he suggested that the company will also follow the two principles — it will always try to do “what’s right for the people on Facebook,” and things will keep changing, so Facebook is “going to make the changes to keep things engaging for people.”
And yes, he also touted Facebook ads as the way that businesses can get “the predictable reach that they want.” (The company didn’t offer an updated number on the total of small businesses advertising on Facebook, which was 1 million in November.)
Looking ahead, Levy said his team’s focus will be on building more mobile tools for businesses. In fact, he said that 19 million of those small businesses with Pages are already active on mobile.
During his earlier keynote speech, Levy noted that many small businesses are wondering how they need to adapt to mobile, but he argued, “If you have a mobile phone and you have a Facebook Page, you have a mobile marketing strategy.”
Levy also shared an anecdote which may or may convince you of the efficacy of Facebook ads: He said he and his wife actually became first-time homeowners after seeing an ad on Facebook for the Palo Alto house that they would eventually buy.