Facebook is ramping up its move to manage ad spend from millions of small and mid-size businesses with a new tool


facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Facebook is equipping small businesses with more tools to help edit videos, crank out ads and book appointments.
  • The rollout comes a week after Facebook’s F8 developer conference where the company encouraged brands to ramp up ad spend across all of the company’s apps.
  • Mike Mothner, CEO of digital agency Wpromote, said he has seen success with Facebook’s automation tools for big brands and expects to see the same with smaller ones.
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Small and mid-size businesses are the backbone to Facebook’s ad business but they don’t all have the same digital prowess as big brands.

As part of its goal to train one million US small-business owners and people on digital skills by 2020, Facebook is rolling out changes to its ad platform and business tools for small businesses, including an advertising tool that helps small businesses optimize their campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

Facebook has been pitching big brands on its automatic placement tool for a while as it gets harder to target and more expensive to advertise in the news feed. And as Facebook focuses more on privacy and encryption, it’s pitching advertisers more on running ads across all of its platforms.

Read more: Facebook is doubling down on Messenger, and it means advertisers will have to spend more time and energy to reach potential customers

Small businesses first select six photos from Facebook and Instagram for their ads, type in their budget and answer a few questions about their business within Facebook’s Ad Manager to use the automation feature. Facebook’s technology then creates different versions of ads and a media plan that monitors performance of campaigns to automatically tweak them.

“It takes the necessity of expertise out of the process,” said Nikila Srinivasan, director of product management at Facebook.

Mike Mothner, CEO of Wpromote, a digital agency that primarily works with direct-response advertisers, said that his firm has successfully used the automation tool for big brands over the past year. He expects it to do the same for small and mid-size advertisers.

“It replaces some lever and button pushing and it means that we get to spend more time doing more human-centric activities than changing bids — we get to think about creative and what the business goals are,” he said. “There’s less twiddling the knobs.”

Facebook also wants businesses to crank out more video

Small businesses don’t often have access to the same production tools that big brands’ agencies use, and new video-editing tools help small businesses crank out short videos for Facebook by cropping the dimension and length of videos for Facebook formats like vertical video. The video-editing tool also lets advertisers place graphics and text over videos.

Another tool lets consumers book appointments through a button on small businesses’ Facebook and Instagram Pages. Once a customer creates an appointment, businesses can send out reminder messages through Messenger or text messages.

Facebook is doing more with small businesses overall, including setting up 200 events around the world this year. An event this week in Washington, DC, for example, includes panels on how to get foot traffic to stores through Facebook and run sophisticated ad targeting.

Mothner said while small and mid-size businesses have smaller budgets, they have better expertise at collecting and using first-party data, which helps in understanding all of the ads and apps within the Facebook ecosystem.

“They have fewer roadblocks around data collection,” he said. “In some ways, you can move faster.”

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