Today I logged in to my Google Apps account on a whim to see if anything had changed a lo and behold, I was greeted with the message below.
This got my thinking about how valuable an asset it is to Google to have over 3 million businesses using Google products to power their internal operations. And why Facebook needs more small/medium business (SMB) apps if it wants to continue growing it’s share of the digital advertising pie — which is already growing quite nicely, mind you, with 1 in 5 online display ad dollars going to Facebook this year per eMarketer.
By working its way into the SMB infrastructure, Google makes itself indispensable to businesses. And with that level of penetration, cross-selling advertising products becomes much easier. Just check this box to send traffic to your domain!
I was talking to a friend the other day who works for Facebook and joking with him about why Facebook doesn’t use its own messaging system for internal corporate communication. Then the light bulb went off. Why not create an messaging app for SMBs? They gave everyone a Facebook email address. Why not let people use Facebook to manage messages to their own domains? And do it for free to trump Google App’s $50 a year.
Of course, creating business products like this would require a ton of new development around security and other protocols that are critical to servicing SMBs but, in the long run, this would really pay out for Facebook by getting businesses more active on the platform beyond managing pages. And once they’re more active on the platform, getting SMBs to fork over some ad dollars would become a much easier proposition.
Penetrating SMBs is the key to Facebook doing better than 1 in 5 display ad dollars and closer to the nearly 1 in 2 total online ad dollars that Google gets today per eMarketer. Now that would give Facebook investors something to really like!