While more than a billion people worldwide are now using Facebook, the number of small businesses on the site has grown far more slowly. However, the social network says it recently reached a milestone in this regard, and that many independent companies in the U.S. are now on the site.
At a recent tech conference in San Francisco, Calif., Facebook announced that it recently surpassed 25 million active small business pages, up from just 20 million a few months ago, according to a report from Marketing Land. However, the change was due to the way in which the network categorized companies as being small businesses. Originally, it was only counting businesses with brick and mortar locations, through which Facebook could determine where their local markets are. However, the site recently broadened that definition to include online companies and mobile app developers. It's believed that there is relatively little overlap between independent enterprises that exist solely in the real world and those that engage in e-commerce.
While the 25 million figure includes all small businesses around the world, it's believed that most are located in either North America or Europe, the report said. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that there are only about 27 million companies across the country, of which about nine in 10 are designated as small businesses.
The reason behind the push
It should be noted, though, that for Facebook, getting most small businesses in the U.S. to simply sign up for the site isn't the endgame, the report said. Instead, Facebook developers would like to see if it can parlay companies' use of the site and its small business services into advertising dollars. As such, many owners may see an increase in attempts to get them to buy ads through the site as a means of drawing in new people in their markets. While experts say this can certainly be beneficial – because owners are able to specify the exact kinds of people they want their ads to appear for – the cost of doing so might be out of some companies' budgets.
Owners who want to shore up their businesses' financial prospects as a means of giving themselves a little more of an advertising budget to work with may want to consider taking the time to find more affordable small business insurance. Cutting costs for workers' compensation or general liability insurance, for instance, can save enterprises thousands of dollars per year.