Facebook is tweaking the way it counts up the small and medium businesses that have a presence on the social network.
Why the change? Well, it increases the count. Dan Levy, who leads Facebook’s small and medium business team, told me there are now 25 million Facebook Pages for SMBs, and 1 million of those businesses are active advertisers.
This may seem like an arcane tweak, and, well, it kind of is, but it’s worth noting as we track this side of Facebook advertising, since it could potentially become a big part of the company’s bottom line. In addition, Facebook likes to frame a lot of its ad-related changes in terms of how they might help small businesses (and not just giant advertisers), so it’s good to be reminded that those businesses really do exist and really are active on the site.
Back in April, Facebook said there were 15 million SMBs with Pages, but that was under the old definition. According to Levy, the company only counted businesses that had a physical location, whereas now it’s including e-commerce companies that may not have a brick-and-mortar store but aren’t big brand advertisers either.
Facebook is counting SMBs based on three criteria, he added — they must have a Page that’s been active in the past 28 days, it must be a business Page (rather than personal one), and they can’t be one of Facebook’s “managed clients” (those clients are the company’s big advertisers).
Facebook has been working to simplify its ad products this year, for example by launching “objective-based” ad-buying, and Levy said that’s already beginning to pay off with more SMB advertisers, but he added that the company has just “started that journey.”
“We continue to hear feedback from small businesses and incorproate it, and we still have a lot of potential left,” he said.
As for the mobile ads that account for 49 percent of Facebook’s revenue, Levy argued that Facebook is a great way for SMBs to establish a presence on smartphones — by creating a Facebook page and advertising on Facebook, they automatically have “a mobile marketing presence” and “a mobile advertising strategy” without doing any extra work.
Levy will also be discussing Facebook’s small business strategy at a session this afternoon at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.