Visa has announced it will be paying online
social networking giant Facebook $2 million to advertise its small
business service on the website. Visa Business Network has been
designed to give small business owners tools and tips with which to
attract new customers, reduce expenditure and boost overall
revenue. Visa will also be giving away $100 advertising credits to
the first 20,000 US start-up companies that download its service
via Facebook. Around 80,000 small businesses already have profiles
set up on the website.
“With more than 80 million active users
worldwide, Facebook gives small businesses a great opportunity to
connect with customers and other business owners,” said Dan Rose,
vice-president of business development at Facebook. “We are proud
to work with Visa to bring more tools to small businesses.”
Some of these tools include products from
Google such as online maps and calendars to help promote
efficiency. The service will also include Q&A forums and advice
columns from a variety of content partners, while Visa will be
providing exclusive access for small business owners to relevant
news feeds, blogs, video streams and editorial commentary that will
cover issues such as cash flow management, new ways to attract
customers and cost management.
Visa Business Network will be one of over
24,000 software applications that have been looking to tap into
Facebook’s rapidly expanding online audience. However, the majority
of these applications are based on social activities such as online
gaming, music and sharing images as opposed to business – few of
these programmes actually generate any significant revenue for the
website. While the demographic information the website has
accumulated about its users should help advertisers target their
intended audience more effectively, Facebook has yet to be proven
to be an effective forum for online advertising.
Back in 2006, Chase Bank’s credit card services
unit inked an exclusive one-year deal with the then fledgling
website to market its new ‘+1’ product at college students. The
bank’s research has shown “substantial lifts” in the awareness of
Chase and in “the credibility of the institution” among