If we thought the Internet was omnipresent in nearly every part of our digital lives, the pandemic deepened the ways in which users depend on it. In fact, per the recent Value of the Internet Survey, 70% of respondents believe that the recent and significant uptick in internet usage will be permanent. The survey, which focuses on how the internet affects one’s personal wellbeing and is a joint-effort between Facebook and the Economist Intelligence Unit, also determined that this may further exacerbate the digital divide.
Robert Pepper, Facebook’s head of global connectivity policy and planning, said:
“People around the world reported increased use of the internet for more dimensions of their lives, signifying a ‘new normal’ that will continue in the future. However, trust in the internet declined and digital skills diminished, leaving doubts about the ability to take full advantage of the benefits the internet has to offer. Because of the value of being connected online during the pandemic, the almost one-half of the world’s population not yet online are at risk of being further disadvantaged—exacerbating a growing digital divide.”
Facebook, the global leader of social media platforms, is attempting to bridge this divide by offering support to Small to Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) by waiving fees associated with Facebook Advertising. Facebook boasts incredible reach to consumers. For businesses that use Checkout on Shops, they will also not collect fees for paid online events until later in the year.
It’s important to state that Facebook still owns a large chunk of the Digital Display Ad Marketshare, thus making it a smart business decision for SMBs to use the platform to advertise to consumers and potential consumers.
To help in this effort, Facebook Ads Manager has revamped their platform to give SMB users a better and easier-to-read overview of campaign performance along with tips on campaign optimization best practices. The dashboard will also provide more information about how personalized advertisements function and how businesses can use this to their advantage.
Small and medium businesses use Facebook as a way to tell their stories, and these stories are particularly poignant now that many SMBs have closed due to the pandemic. This Facebook inivitiative, “Good Ideas Deserve to Be Found,” will help reach consumers organically.
Why is organic reach just as important to Facebook as Facebook advertising? The connection between organic usage of Facebook – which only continues to grow – and Facebook Advertising is synergistic. It’s the same reason that Google exerts so much effort in ensuring that their (free) organic search engine yield search results that are relevant and provide users with the best and most insightful information per search query. Google invests time, money, and effort in finessing their algorithms. Without this effort, they would probably not be the largest search engine in the world, the one that holds the most market share.
This strategy helps attract millions upon millions of users. Then companies can then be sold advertising to reach this incredible audience.
Likewise, by building a robust platform that allows audiences to connect with companies, brands, and each other, people will continue to be drawn to share their stories – organically and authentically – on Facebook.
Facebook is smart to have created this initiative, and while it may seem to have taken a hit by eliminating advertising fees, in the long-run, helping companies advertise on their platform will ensure sustainability and continued usage.