Facebook thinks it has a solution for small businesses facing financial burdens from the social distancing measures necessitated by COVID-19: Paid online events for small businesses that want to host customers virtually.
These events, which Facebook announced during a call with reporters last week, allow business owners to create an event, set the attendance price for customers, and then promote and host the event — all within Facebook’s own Pages ecosystem. The feature is available in the US and 19 other countries.
Curious businesses can see if their Facebook Page qualifies for the paid online events feature through Facebook. Eligible businesses will need to meet Facebook’s partner monetization policies to make money off of events hosted through the social network.
“With social distancing mandates still in place, many businesses and creators are bringing their events and services online to connect with existing customers and reach new ones,” Head of Facebook App Fidji Simo Vice President wrote in a blog post. “People are also relying on live video and interactive experiences more when they canât come together physically.”
That reliance on live video can be broken down in numbers — Simo revealed that the number of live broadcasts by Pages doubled year-over-year in June.
Simo wrote that in the testing phase of paid online events businesses used the feature to host “expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes, and more.”
Because this new feature combines marketing, payment, and live video on a single platform, Simo claims it meets the “end-to-end needs” of small businesses.
Additionally, she teased that Facebook is testing paid events for Messenger Rooms. This feature aims to enable “more personal and interactive gatherings.”
Fees Waived For At Least One Year
In an effort to rejuvenate small businesses during the pandemic, Facebook won’t collect any fees through the paid events feature “for at least the next year.” To this end, businesses will receive 100% of the revenue for transactions made on the web and on Android in Facebook Pay-supported countries.
However, businesses won’t receive a 100% cut for transactions made on iOS, Simo noted in a cheeky call-out of Apple.
Simo wrote that Facebook asked Apple to reduce the 30% fee that exists for money made through apps released on the iOS App Store. According to Simo, slicing the fee would allow Facebook to “absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19.” Apple reportedly denied the request.
In a screenshot of the payment flow, Facebook highlighted how its iOS app includes a disclaimer below the payment button that says “Apple takes 30% of this purchase.” Facebook also showed off a screenshot of the payment flow for its Android app, which instead notes that “Facebook doesn’t take a fee from this purchase.”
Facebook’s little jab comes at a time when Apple is currently embattled in a bloodbath with Epic Games over the 30% App Store cut. The social network has also been running its own feud with Apple. Just last month, Facebook claimed the profitably of its targeted ads could be damaged by new user-set tracking features in Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 operating system.
Other Ways To Expand Your Business During COVID-19
Besides Facebook’s new paid online events, there are plenty of other ways for small businesses to come up with new cash streams during the pandemic.
For more inspiration, check out Merchant Maverick’s five marketing tactics small business can use during COVID-19. We’ve also highlighted how small businesses can survive social distancing requirements.
If you’re looking for more general advice regarding COVID-19, check out our coronavirus hub.
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