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Facebook gives small businesses new advertising and engagement tools

Facebook is rolling out a series of new tools aimed at small and mid-sized businesses on Tuesday, three days into Small Business Week: an Automated Ads platform, video editing features and appointment booking capabilities.

“With over 90 million small businesses on Facebook, we’re proud to play a role in helping business of all sizes grow and create jobs,” said Facebook.

Automated Ads. Small businesses now have a tool that will automatically create up to six different versions of an ad that can run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network. The tool will lead advertisers through a series of questions about their business and the goals of the ad, and then suggest call-to-action buttons, text and creative details based on the business’ Facebook Page.

Facebook will also offer ad targeting recommendations and budget suggestions based on the goal of the ad. (If an advertiser sets their own budget, Facebook will provide estimated results.) The Automated Ads platform will then optimize the ad campaign once it’s live to deliver the best performing ad.

Advertisers using Automated Ads receive performance reports on their campaigns that include recommendations to enhance results.

Video editing tools. Facebook’s Ads Manager platform is getting three new video editing tools: automatic cropping, video trimming and image and text overlays. The features open up new possibilities for marketers and SMBs with limited advertising budgets, making it easy to create a video ad without the resources or budget often needed to pull together creative assets for video.

Appointment booking. Businesses on Facebook and Instagram now have access to appointment management tools that allow customers to book services on the platforms. Customers can schedule an appointment and once the business accepts it, the online system will send reminders to the customers through Messenger or via a text.

Facebook is also making it possible for businesses to manage appointments on their Pages as well: “You can customize your business’ menu of services, display availability and accept and manage all appointments directly from your business page.”

Facebook launched appointment booking capabilities via Messenger during the F8 Developer Conference last week.

Why we should care. All of these features are designed to help businesses lacking the advertising budgets and technology resources of major brands. Koala Clip, an SMB that was given access to Facebook’s Automated Ads, said the ROI on the ads it ran surpassed the company’s financial expectations.

Along with the latest ad, video and booking features, Facebook is introducing new Blueprint courses and said it plans to host more than 200 SMB training events this year. Facebook says its online and in-person educational events are part of the company’s goal to train a million workers and entrepreneurs on the digital skills needed in today’s economy.

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