Small businesses making waves through the personalised economy

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – November 24, 2021


At the beginning of this year, there was cautious optimism for business and our economy to “bounce back”, but we were reminded how adapting to change has become the new normal, particularly for small businesses. The ability for businesses to stay resilient spans across the ecosystem including adapting to changes across supply chains, employee needs, and variable customer demands.

Digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram give businesses the opportunity to adapt to these changing conditions with precision. Business growth and expansion can be achieved through efficient investment in online marketing, getting customer feedback in real time, and creatively adapting business models online. Small businesses, particularly those in regional communities, are using tools like personalised advertising to expand their business reach, build a meaningful customer base and participate in the global economy.

Take Sarah Quinney and Dan O’Connell, co-owners of BoardSox in Torquay, VIC. The entrepreneurs create sustainably made, surfing accessories online and through retailers. They recently tapped into Facebook and Instagram to find customers who were sustainably conscious surfers and were blown away by the results. Since starting their campaign their sales increased by 413% and they attributed 70% of revenue coming from Facebook ads. Dan Richards and Simon Noble from D-Still Drinkware, Coombabah, QLD were also able to adapt their business model and build an entirely new customer base quicker than ever. They experienced a similar surge when they started using targeted ads on Facebook. The digital boost drove 37% more traffic to their website and gave them the confidence to increase their team and upgrade their space to a 1000sqm facility on the Gold Coast.

These stories reflect the data from our Dynamic Markets report, showing how impactful personalised ads are for small businesses around Australia to not only stay open but also grow. In the report, we found 71% of SMBs in Australia that uses personalised advertising reported that it was important for the success of their business and that 64% reported that Facebook apps were important to adapt to the changing business environment during the pandemic.

Strong and digitally-enabled businesses aren’t just beneficial for the business owner and staff, they’re also vital to support thriving communities, particularly those in regional Australia. Sue Heward the owner of Singing Magpie in Monash SA, gave up a corporate career to take over the 100-year-old family farm that needed help due to drought. Sue took over the farm and created an Instagram page to share pics of the produce, but the business accelerated when it was featured on the Buy from the Bush Instagram campaign. Since then she attracted thousands of new followers and nurtured her community through Instagram, which she attributes as the source of 80% of her total sales. The online demand for her products was so strong, that she hired 3 new staff members and is looking to grow her manufacturing capabilities so they can process more products.

These are tough times for small businesses all over Australia and we know as our economies begin to open back up, they will be key to driving our economic recovery. Meta is determined to do all we can to help them make it through. That’s why we continue to invest in products to enable commerce and find new customers. It’s also why we provide free digital skills training through our Boost with Facebook Australia Group and partner with the Government and industry on initiatives like Skill Finder.

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