ILM:10: Facebook’s Emily White Details Local Efforts

Facebook sees strong potential in local advertising and will develop an aggressive local strategy, according to Facebook Local Leader Emily White, a Day 3 keynoter at ILM:10.

White, who left Google four months ago, said businesses are always being told that they have to be online. But it hasn’t really been clear what they can actually do online that relates to their customer base and actual activities. “The online marketing world has completely forgotten about the fact that local businesses are run by people,” said White. “To date, they have not been particularly well-portrayed by their static Web sites.”

But as the Web changes from an information Web to a social Web, Facebook is well-positioned to help SMBs via “liked” home pages, as well as via several featured products, White noted.

National chains are already using their pages for promotions, including various promotions that offer discounts or donations to charities for check-ins. Facebook’s new Places product also “helps close the loop between what is happening online and what is happening in people’s real life.” Another product, Facebook Deals, also has practical implications for businesses, and has attracted 22 merchant partners, including North Face, American Eagle, JC Penny, Chipotle, REI, H&M, Starbucks, Macys, Gap and McDonald’s.

Local companies are also expected to jump on board. “It is amazing how many companies at the local level get this,” said White, who added that local should be a layer across all products. But she emphasized that Facebook is mostly seeking to drive more usage at this point, rather than focusing on monetization.

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