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In Italy Web equals Facebook, and now focus on SMEs, says GM Colombo

by Corrado Poggi

“Our penetration among the population connected to the web in Italy ranks among the highest in the world. Out of 30 million Italians surfing the net, about 28 million of them access Facebook at least once a month. Our goal and our hope is that the number of Web users in this country will grow further in the coming years because it remains clearly at lower levels than in other European countries.” Luca Colombo, CEO of Facebook Italy spoke in an interview with ItalyEurope24 of the plans for the future of his company.

“We had a chance to meet with our founder Mark Zuckerberg during his staying in Rome a couple of weeks ago – Colombo said – during which he spent time both with university students and young entrepreneurs. The message he left us upon his return to the US was to contribute as much as possible to spreading the digital culture in Italy and I am confident that things will get better in the future thanks also to the new investments the government seemed determined to put on the table through its Industry 4.0” program, also for what concerns the digital agenda.

In the meantime Facebook Italy has just introduced new functionalities that are custom tailored for SMEs looking to reach new markets for their exports. “In particolare – Colombo added - we have introduced for our members a series of corporate instruments grouped under a program we call Lookalike Audience which we believe can have, as they have already done in other countries, an important impact in terms of revenue growth.”
These functionalities, Colombo said, “allow advertisers to target Facebook users who are similar to their customers away from Facebook. Advertisers could ask Facebook to find the top 1% (optimize for similarity) or 5% (optimize for greater reach) of users in a specific country who were similar to their customers”.

“This is great for expanding the net - explained the CEO - since small customer lists of 1,000 people could often be turned into Lookalike Audience targeting capabilities exceeding 1 million users. First, you can find users similar to any visitor to your website. If you don't get much traffic, this will allow you to target relevant users while expanding the net from what was otherwise a very small group of people.”

Facebook is looking at the world of SMEs with particular attention as it has a big potential yet to unlock. “In the world there are about 60 million SMEs which have at least one corporate page on Facebook and out of this number, 3 million companies, after getting an idea of the many opportunities offered by the Web, have begun to invest in online advertising. We want to help a growing number of Italian SMEs understand that, while remaining local, they can also be global in their reach as thanks to the new technologies they can now reach anyone in the world in a split second.”

“In the next several months –Colombo concluded – we will keep adding to our offer of fucntionalities for corporate clients and we will also keep doing digital education as we have done last July when, together with Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs, we organized the Forum of digital economy which by all means was a clear success in the terms of companies in attendance.”


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