Facebook now has more than 50 million business pages listed with them, so it is no surprise that they are trying hard to lure more small businesses into buying advertising on their site.

Using their ‘Lookalike’ tool, small businesses are able to reach potential customers in different countries who are similar to their existing target customer base. According to their analysis, Facebook says that more than 1 billion users are connected to at least one business that is based overseas. The Lookalike tool will allow more small business owners to take their business global by creating target audiences abroad to sell to.

What Facebook hope to do is to give small businesses the chance to completely run their business through their platform, which of course will turn more business owners into customers for Facebook.

We all know that most small businesses operate on pretty tight budgets, so having the ability to target international customers for a relatively low price is a very enticing offer for a small business owner, and a great way for Facebook to draw in more revenue through advertising.

lookalike-audienceTurning active businesses into advertisers

Although there are more than 50 million active businesses operating pages on Facebook across the world, there are only three million active advertisers actually using Facebook ads. This means there is a huge untapped market for them to target. Not that this is a bad thing because the company is actively looking for creative ways that small businesses can drive more value from their Facebook page.

With their attention turning more towards targeting small businesses, financial forecasters are now predicting that their international advertising revenue will increase rapidly and may hit nearly $40 billion by the end of 2023.

It is thought that the emerging markets will become a prominent driver of advertising revenue over the long term with SME’s being at the forefront of this growth. As many small businesses already use Facebook to conduct their business activities, Facebook is now developing more features to help optimise business pages further, such as new communication tools, free page insights, statistical and analytical tools, and call to action buttons.

Those small and micro businesses who may not have the available budget to invest in an e-commerce website will have a viable alternative in Facebook and will find these free tools extremely useful.

Social media is crucial for business success

Most small and medium size businesses rely heavily on Facebook for reaching out and communicating with their customers. These customer connections will be the key drivers to tempt more small businesses over to become Facebook advertisers.

As Facebook developers create better targeting tools for business pages, such as the Lookalike tool, more small businesses will be able to develop links in other countries and eventually convert these new audiences into paying customers. The opportunity to take your business global without it costing the earth is an obvious winner.

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What are Custom and Lookalike Audiences?

You can use the Facebook lookalike tool to reach out to people who are likely to be interested in your business product or service and would be more likely to buy from you. The lookalike audience generated will be very similar to your existing customers and established target audience.

You can use a variety of sources to create your custom audience. For example, your existing customer base that like your page or your email subscriber list etc. Facebook will take your information and cross-reference it with their database to create a custom audience of people who use the same email address to sign up for Facebook. You can then target your adverts to this group and know they will have an interest in your business.

Your lookalike audience will be made up of people that match with the profile data of your custom audience. They will share the same or similar interests and have the same demographics as your target audience. The lookalike tool will only target one country at a time, so you will have to decide which country you want to target first and then enter your choice into the programme.

This makes a great shortcut for busy small business owners who don’t have a lot of available time.

For more information about how to create a lookalike audience see here.