This is not the same as having 1.5 million advertisers, and the SMBs are there in large part because pages are free. However, to put this in perspective, Facebook now has more SMB Pages than AT&T has SMB advertisers. Google has more than a million SMBs (though no specific number is available) that have claimed listings or added content at the LBC.
Most impressively, this number is roughly double what was previously reported (700k) only a few months ago. The implications of this are fairly clear:
- Facebook has a “captive” audience of SMBs to sell stuff to
- It will probably be only a year or so before Facebook has an equal number of SMBs on its platform (with pages) as the US YP industry has advertisers (3 or so million)
(Intuit claims 6 million “SMB relationships” and Amex says it has 8 million SMB cardholders.)
SMBs don’t know how to “work” social media for the most part or how to measure ROI. How often are these pages updated or news feeds used for example? In other words, they have a presence but that presence may not be a particularly effective marketing vehicle for them — just as a static website without more doesn’t do much for an SMB these days. However these SMBs are showing up (again because it’s free) and have a general sense that it’s important for them to be on Facebook.
Facebook, if it introduces some compelling products for SMB advertisers (beyond Facebook Ads), could become a threat to companies like Yelp (not consumer usage but advertiser acquisition).
Believe you me Facebook understands these trends and their potential implications. Now let’s see what happens.
Update: Another way to look at this the following: 1.5M represents roughly 15% of what might be considered the addressable SMB market (10M). I’ve previously asserted that self-service would work for 10% to maybe 20% of the market if the products were compelling and/or simple enough.