Forecasters like eMarketer may be predicting that social nets might not rake in as many ad dollars as previously thought, but Facebook is betting that deals like the one that kicked off today with Visa will help make it more attractive to advertisers. The largest distributor of credit and debit cards has created a “business network” on Facebook and has agreed to buy $2 million in ads on the site, AP reports. Visa will start actively promoting the business network, which will encompass marketers who have profiles on Facebook, in a wider campaign next month.
As part of the promotion, Visa will hand out ad credits worth $100 to the first 20,000 marketers that download its Facebook app. Right now, about 80,000 businesses have profiles on Facebook. Small businesses can be expected to greet the promotion with equal parts hope and trepidation. The promise is that, finally, there could be an easy way to connect with Facebook’s 80 million users. The fear is that potential customers could be put off by another annoying application. So for the moment, Facebook’s hoping that Visa’s marketing expertise will somehow navigate through the kinds of pitfalls it encountered with Beacon and encourage other marketers to ramp up ad efforts on their own.