Millions of small businesses are using Facebook but only half are spending any marketing dollars there.
New data from Alignable shows that half of the small businesses it surveyed — among more than 1,200 of its users — spent $0 last quarter on their Facebook marketing efforts.
Rather than spend money, small businesses are more inclined to use Facebook’s free organic marketing tools to promote their companies and brands.
Of course, if half of the small businesses that Alignable surveyed don’t spend a dime on Facebook marketing, that means half do.
But they’re not spending too much.
Digging a little deeper into Alignable’s data shows that most of the companies that do spend money on Facebook marketing spend less than $50. According to the numbers, a total of 31 percent of Alignable users in the survey spent between $1-50 on Facebook marketing last quarter.
Ten percent of Alignable small business users spent between $51-150. Another five percent spent between $151-300. Two percent spent more than $500 and one percent spent between $301-500.
Alignable small business users don’t seem too keen on using their hard earned money to advertise with other popular social platforms, for that matter. For example, 94 percent say they didn’t spend that proverbial dime on Instagram, either.
Alignable’s data pool included more than 1,200 of its small business owners. They were all located in North America and included both B2B and B2C companies. All the companies included for the company’s report employ less than 50 people. Companies were asked how much they spent on Facebook marketing tools during the first quarter of 2016, among a total of six questions.
The main reason small businesses are on Facebook is for brand or company awareness. And that’s where Alignable users said they found the best success on the social site.
The same small businesses also said they were relatively successful at generating new business and increasing user engagement on Facebook.
So, what does this information tell small businesses?
First, promoting your business on Facebook doesn’t really take much money at all. And small businesses — at least those interviewed by Alignable — seem to find Facebook’s organic reach quite sufficent.
Second, 81 percent of these small businesses spend less than $50 a quarter on Facebook marketing. So if you’re not satisfied with the results you’re getting from the free tools on the site, a small investment is all that’s required to see better results.
Chart: Small Business Trends
I think that it doesn’t take much to promote on Facebook and you pretty much get targeted likes because of it. I’d say that Facebook marketing even works better than that of Google.
How would these figures compare with contextual advertising (e.g., Google AdWords)?
I would bet, Martin, that the numbers are probably very similar for any type of digital advertising. As we’re learning, there are so many small businesses without a website — or even a Google listing, for that matter — so there’s something holding small biz back from this area. I wouldn’t say it’s ignorance of the topic or a disinterest, at all. I just figure most small business owners are too bogged down with the daily grind to even research the topic, let alone spend any money on it.
There are distinct areas of business where Adwords are better suited than Facebook advertising, having said that there are huge advantages to using Facebook. Unfortunately most companies go the boosted post, or once off ad, don’t get the results they expected and move on. It’s not that simple. It takes time and effort to get your ad and audience selection right and as Joshua rightly said, most small businesses just don’t have it.
Great advice, Paul!
I’m not surprised, but I wish that more SMBs knew how little organic reach they get from their FB posts. Give those posts some targeted boosts (even is mall dollar amounts) and you can ensure people see your post and take action.
I boost to the tune of 200 a month and I get very good results as I have ran the numbers and it cost me a half a cent to send the message to each person. No it doesn’t and never will take the full load of marketing that it needs to be successful . but you will be surprised at the people talking about my store and coming in and saying how neat my stores face book page is and buying the products boosted -Grady