Three years ago we started warning our local media clients about the potential power of Facebook, and suggesting strategies to compete with the new local ad phenomenon.

The only thing we underestimated was how quickly Facebook local advertising would become a force to be reckoned with in terms of LOCAL market share.  Not surprising in retrospect, since Facebook rolled out a product that:

- Is effective

- Is easy to buy and manage

- Is precisely targeted to the advertiser's best prospects

- Does not require a long term commitment

- Provides easy to understand dynamic reporting to track ROI

Borrell Associates' latest Facebook research is putting some numbers on the hurt.  You can read Gordon Borrell's comments in this LinkedIn article.

The highlights are all about adoption rate and satisfaction.  

In one year, the percentage of SMB's who have tried Facebook advertising has skyrocketed from 33% to 60%.  Even more stunning, the satisfaction rate of those who have tried local Facebook advertising is a whopping 80%.  That means these business owners and managers are coming back for more, and they are telling their friends.  

Gordon lists the top five places where SMB's are cutting ad dollars to fund Facebook campaigns, and newspapers top the list.  

Publishers, it's time to drop your stupid assumptions that:

- Facebook is not local

- Facebook will never be a threat because they do not have feet on the street

- We should ignore Facebook because they are a competitor

We say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em AND fight 'em.  Specifically:

- Start offering the management of local Facebook ad campaigns as a service to advertisers.  You at least have a fighting chance at the 40% of SMB's who have not yet tried Facebook advertising.  Do not ever claim your local media company is "full service digital" until you can offer to manage any advertiser's ad campaign on any social media platform.

- Train your ad sales team to be Facebook advertising experts.  Once they learn the basics, give them a budget of $100 they can use to place Facebook campaigns for a client or two, giving them hands on experience with the buying and reporting.  

- Audit all your processes and procedures related to buying and monitoring the digital ad products you offer, and make sure your products:

- Are effective

- Are easy to buy and manage

- Are precisely targeted to the advertiser's best prospects

- Do not require a long term commitment

- Provide easy to understand dynamic reporting to track ROI

Now that is a VERY tall order, and some of you simply may not have it in you to become more competitive...but the Borrell data suggest the clock is ticking loudly.

If you want help honing your Facebook expertise and taking your digital products to market, we know a company that does that.





Twitter @Bobkellagher