Facebook campaign pushes benefits of targeted ads for small businesses

The activation features small business owners who have stayed connected to customers on Facebook during the pandemic, as well as new product updates for SMBs.

As the battle over internet privacy rages on, Facebook wants to remind people how personalized ads can help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic.

The platform rolled out a campaign on Thursday called “Good Ideas Deserve to be Found,” which aims to explain in an upbeat, digestible way how personalized ads help even the most niche businesses thrive by connecting them to the right audiences.

The creative features real small business owners who have used Facebook’s apps as a lifeline during the pandemic, including Melissa Hughes, owner of Tallahassee-based Goat House Farm, which hosts goat yoga classes; Annette Njau, founder of House of Takura, a lifestyle brand in Houston that aims to blend African tradition with Western style; and Tony Wang, founder of general manager of The Cat Café in San Diego, where people can play with and adopt a furry friend.

The campaign, which includes a 60 and 30-second spot set to an original song with a funky House music beat, will air on TV, radio and digital platforms.

The goal of the campaign is to highlight the “diversity, quirkiness and creativity” of small businesses on Facebook, some of which “wouldn't exist without the benefit of our tools,” said Andrew Stirk, head of Facebook company brand marketing, in a press briefing on Thursday.

“We're trying to bring to life our personalized ads and level the playing field,” he said. “We’re a platform for people to discover ideas that are tailored to their interests.”

Facebook also launched new tools for small businesses, including a simpler interface for its Ad Manager buying to help optimize performance. The platform is also waiving fees for businesses using its payment system on Shops through June, and is not requiring small businesses to pay for online events through at least August.

“We've doubled down on free tools for businesses,” said Helen Ma, head of Facebook business products, adding that the platform is trying to enable “simple ways to get online and sustain business on the platform.”

Facebook is adding new features specifically for restaurants, hit especially hard by the pandemic, to upload their menus to their Facebook Pages and specify what kind of dining experience they can offer, from outdoor to curbside pick-up.

To spread the word, Facebook also updated its business resource hub as well as the professional dashboard on Instagram with more information on how personalized ads work, and is encouraging use of a custom “Deserve to be Found” sticker on Instagram, as well as the hashtag #DeserveToBeFound on Facebook.

The campaign follows a heated back and forth between Facebook and Apple, which is threatening the future of personalized advertising as it plans to remove its IDFA identifier for ad targeting from its iOS 14 operating system on mobile phones.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have publicly sparred over internet privacy, with the former positioning itself as the champion of small businesses, and the latter of consumer privacy. Last year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Apple took out billboards on the Las Vegas strip calling attention to its pro-privacy stance.

The campaign, however, is not a direct shot at Apple but rather a “larger effort that extends far beyond personalized advertising” to help small businesses during the pandemic, Stirk said.

Facebook created a $100 million grant program for small businesses last year along with other products to help them transact online, and plans to continue simplifying the experience for small businesses on its platform.

“This isn't a one-off campaign,” Stirk added. “We've got real commitment from a brand and product perspective. There is a degree of urgency because small businesses are hurting right now.”

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