REPORT: 32 Percent Of Small Merchants Use Facebook Places

Facebook Places appears to be doing well given its relative youth: 32 percent of the 8,456 businesses surveyed by MerchantCircle currently promote themselves through the service, and an additional 12 percent plan to use it in the next few months.

Facebook places appears to be doing well given its relative youth: 32 percent of the 8,456 businesses surveyed by MerchantCircle currently promote themselves through the service, and an additional 12 percent plan to use it in the next few months. Not bad for something that only launched this past summer.

And Facebook places appears to be taking business away from the competition: use of location-based services has remained at nine percent over the past two quarters, according to MerchantCircle‘s own writeup of the survey that’s now in its fifth year.

Here’s an interesting data point from MerchantCircle’s report: 55 percent of merchants who’ve offered a daily deal through a group buying service don’t plan to do so again. The report suggests that merchants prefer to use free marketing methods via social media, rather than pay premiums, and that the businesses prefer to use proven promotions rather than new ones.

Most of the small, local businesses surveyed by MerchantCircle devote minimal resources to promotions: 37 percent say they don’t have enough time and other resources for it. More than half spend less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60 percent have no plans to raise their budgets this year. About 26 percent of them think promoting online is too expensive.

About 70 percent of the merchants use Facebook to promote their businesses, up from 50 percent last year.And this is the first year that promotions via the social network surpass Google, which is used by 66 percent. However,. 37 percent rate Facebook one of their most effective tools for marketing.

How do you think Facebook should go about upselling Deals to more small, local businesses?