Facebook is announcing today at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco that it now has 25 million active small business (SMB) Pages. This number comes on the heels of a third-quarter earnings call announcement of 20 million SMBs on the site.
Facebook’s Director of Small Business Dan Levy told me earlier this week that the change in the number of small business Pages was not a function of adding five million more SMBs in the last couple of weeks. Rather, he said that it was a function of changing the definition of SMB Pages to include a broader array of business types.
The 20 million figure was associated with SMBs that had a physical address or local storefront. By including e-commerce businesses and mobile developers who qualify as SMBs but aren’t “local” the number increases to 25 million. Some of the 20 million offline SMBs also engage in e-commerce, so there’s a kind of Venn diagram with an overlapping population. The degree of overlap is probably small, however.
All 25 million technically qualify as small businesses.
I asked Levy if any of the 25 million were using personal accounts. He said no. These are all business Pages. He also said that all of them are posting content and/or on their analytics dashboards at least on a monthly basis; they are actively managed accounts.
The 25 million figure is global. And try as I might, I cannot get Facebook to tell me anything more about the geographic distribution of these SMBs. One can assume that a substantial number are in North American and Europe, however.
The US Census Bureau says there are roughly 27 million “firms” in the US. Well over 90 percent qualify as SMBs by headcount, with the majority being very small: under four employees. The “addressable market” of US SMBs, from a digital marketing perspective, is quite a bit smaller than the 27 million figure suggests — probably half or less than half.
Facebook’s challenge is to help migrate more of its active SMB users into the advertiser column. That’s no small task. However, the company has been trying a range of tactics, from in-person seminars to “do-it-for-me” set-up assistance to get started with Facebook advertising.
The company says that it has roughly one million advertisers, a substantial number of which are SMBs. But even if 90 percent of the one million advertisers were SMBs that would still leave more than 24 million in the non-advertiser category.
There’s obviously a massive opportunity here, but Facebook will have to move heaven and earth to realize it.