Facebook Beats Google for Local Business Advertising

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Local marketing has adapted well to the digital era, learning how to optimize for search engines, social sites, and even mobile apps. But while we knew that the worlds of local and online were colliding, we didn’t have a clear sense of what online services were winning – until now. Social networks, and especially Facebook, are trumping Google when it comes to marketing local businesses on the web.

The study was conducted by Merchant Circle, and involved the 4,942 survey completions from small business owners. The majority of the businesses involved were categorized as “very small” (one to four employees). Questions examined the expectations of the business owners, their projections for growth, their confidence in the economy, and their advertising practices.

Here are some highlights from the web-oriented section of the study:

  • The single most popular advertising method for local businesses was creating a free profile on a social network. 40.9% of business owners selected this answer as very important, compared to only 37.1% for email marketing, 25.9% for local review sites, and 21.7% for print newspapers.
  • 65.7% of businesses used Facebook to create a free page for their business.
  • 53% of businesses used Google to advertise for their business.
  • 22% of businesses used Facebook advertising, and nearly two-thirds (64.9%) would do it again.

It’s of note that much of what’s being discussed with “Facebook marketing” here is the creation of a free page, not Facebook advertising. However, Google also has free page creation options (such as in Maps and Places) that compete directly with this element of Facebook’s model. Slice it whatever way you’d like: Facebook is trouncing Google in the local business category.

[via Search Engine Land]


Rob D Young
Rob has been insatiably obsessed with Google, search engine technology, and the trends of the web-based world since he began life as a webmaster in... Read Full Bio
Rob D Young

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  • RebeccaCaroe

    Yes Rob, it’s clear that if it is free it’s hardly “advertising”.  Though that’s how the Yellow Pages roped us all in years ago… a free profile, go on.  [then there was the bold, super bold and star trek uber-super-duper bold option on top!]

    • Rob Young

      Well, I disagree with that definition. Business owners often invest in advertising that requires $0.00, but plenty of time. Since time and money translate into the same thing, in the end, the cost doesn’t impact whether or not something qualifies for the term.

      That said, it’s an important factor to take into account when reviewing statistics. It’s far more accurate to compare free services to free services.

  • Mahendra Sharma

    Facebook has the right model to take a piece of pie from Google on local advertisement. They are improving their platform drastically, there might be a day when they have internal search engine that searches everything and anything within. (They have it one but not efficient. ). Why should advertisers advertise on Facebook? Because they are reaching directly to their target consumer. We can set our age group, gender, geography and more parameters to filter our ads specific to our product market. That’s wonderful. My wishes are with FB to further improve their platform and give a run for their money to Google 🙂

  • Vogaz

    I think Facebook only beat google in local advert but not in conversion..
    The way facebook use for advertising is very odd..
    even i saw that some of the advertising related to Negative activity (india)..