Facebook is offering up to $10 million in free advertising to small businesses in the middle of slight changes to how the social networking site allows brands and consumers to interact on its Pages.
The social networking site will give at least $50 to up to 200,000 small business in a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.
This signals a push by Facebook to steer small businesses towards using social as their main advertising category. It also indicates that Facebook is ready to use changes to how Facebook operates to bulk up advertising inventory and its revenue streams.
Facebook already makes an estimated $4.05 billion in global advertising revenue.
Facebook will start the advertising push with a roadshow and a series of webinars that teach small business owners how to use the site and social media. Facebook has set up a page for more information.
Currently, brands and business are not be able to operate like a person when the Timeline feature rolls out on Thursday. But the site is making changes to how businesses represent themselves.
Contextual advertising on the site has been increasing in quality. It used to be spotty, but the amount of social sharing going on is making it easier for people to pinpoint how to deliver ads,improving conversion rates.
This trend may have moved Facebook to change how it allows consumers to interact with brands. Right before the launch, Facebook took away the "Like" requirement for brands. Fans no longer had to "Like" a brand page in order to comment on it. This news came in the wake of an infographic that showed over 40% of fans don't care about the page or interacting with the brand, if they are not given a reason to do so.
As social sharing becomes more prevalent, it's likely that display advertising will continue to be the most efficient source of revenue for the company.