Facebook recently launched the free ‘paid online events’ for SMBs and other users. According to Facebook, the new all-in-one tool will be available free for a year. The company stated that it wants to help small businesses (SMBs) survive and pass through the ongoing COVID pandemic crisis and make business and money. A few months back, Facebook announced $100M in cash grants and ad credits for the SMBs. It later also introduced Facebook Shops to help the SMBs sell their products and services online. Recently it announced a new product to monetize classes and online events named the “paid online events.”

Events on Facebook

Facebook Shops Virtual Events

Facebook Online Events

Paid online events on Facebook are at present a free product that enables “businesses, creators, educators, and media publishers” to organize paid events or classes online and maintain the 100% revenue with them. This is an exception on iOS, where the event hosts need to pay 30% “App-Store tax.” The offer is self-contained and provides all facilities like hosting, promotion, ticket sales, and payment processing. Businesses, publishers, creators, and educators are liable to this service and can access their eligibility.  The marketers created the events, promoted to their organic followers through Facebook ads, and the payment is collected through Facebook. The event creators will also require complying with the company’s partner monetization policies and other requirements for the service.  One additional benefit of availing the product is that the marketers would be able to create custom audiences for the event or class attendees.

Events from Facebook

No fees for a year

According to Facebook, the company wouldn’t collect any potential fees “for at least next year.” A pessimist person would state this as a way for the social media giant to drive product adoption until it garners a large, installed user base. However, it is to the extent that it may help generate thousands of revenues for SMBs, and it’s valuable.

Earlier company representatives made a big deal about their request that Apple should waive the 30% App-Store revenue cut. Apple reportedly declined the same. Facebook, on its part, stated that there’s no integration with Facebook Shops as of now. Though soon, “brands and creators can tag products from their Facebook Shop or also catalog the products before going live, and those products will then be features at the bottom of the video so that people can easily tap on the product and learn more about it. We’re starting to test this feature with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll roll it out more broadly soon in the coming months.”

Positive SMB testimonials

This step by Facebook showed positive results with several SMBs that are beta-testing the platform. All SMBs provided upbeat-to-enthusiastic testimonials, with one of the SMB characterizing it as a “game-changer.” Facebook stated that the event creators have been using the feature “to organize and host expert talks, trivia events, make podcast recordings, boxing matches, organize cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets as well fitness classes, among others.” Facebook stated that paid online events would immediately be available in the U.S. and 19 other countries, including Canada and Mexico, European countries, and countries across Asia.

The paid online events can be a powerful new revenue generator tool and sales channel for the SMBs and many other marketers. It also plays an active role in Facebook’s more substantial video content and live-streaming strategies and features. Additionally, it also helps to further normalize online events and classes by the SMBs for their consumers. The paid online events are an example of “enlightened self-interest.’