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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month

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Meta Announces Participants in New Training Program for Black-Owned SMBs, New Support Events Throughout Black History Month


Throughout the pandemic, Black-owned businesses in the US have been significantly impacted, with closure and revenue rates far worse than non-minority organizations in most regions.

According to Meta’s ‘State of Small Business Report’, more than half of minority-led businesses have reported a drop in sales within the period, which is 6 percentage points higher than other SMBs, while almost two-thirds of Black-led businesses, specifically, have reported a drop in sales of more than 50%.

With these sobering stats in mind, Meta has been working to provide more support for Black-owned brands, in order to lift their performance, where possible, and eliminate ongoing social inequality as a result of this shift.

Meta’s latest effort on this front is a new series of events to provide insights for Black-owned businesses, while it’s also announced the participants in a new training and support program for impacted SMBs.

As explained by Meta:

“Throughout Black History Month, Meta Elevate will be kicking off weekly events with industry experts, small business owners and influencers to inspire and educate Black-owned small businesses with a new theme “Black365.” These events, which will start during Black History Month, will continue beyond February to support this community and provide new ways to help their businesses thrive.”

As noted, the events are the latest in Meta’s efforts to provide more support and training for Black-owned SMBs, with both Facebook and Instagram running a range of initiatives over the last year to highlight and support these brands.

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In addition to this, Meta has also announced a group of 10 Black-owned businesses that have been chosen to take part in a new training program, as nominated by singer and philanthropist Ciara.

These business owners will take part in a 6-week marketing mentorship, facilitated by Meta Elevate, while Meta will also provide $100,000 in ad credits and creative support so that each business can put their learnings into action following the mentorship.

This is a key area of focus for Meta, in allocating business support where it’s needed most, and lessening the compounding impacts of social inequality. Meta, through Facebook and Instagram, has made a strong commitment to providing more support for minority-owned businesses, and this latest initiative is another step in working to address rising concerns, and empower all business owners to maximize their opportunities equally.

Meta’s ‘Black365’ events will be held throughout February.



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Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

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Instagram Tests Out New Ad Options, Including Explore Placement and Interactive AR Displays

As we head into the holiday shopping push, Instagram has announced that it’s testing out some new ad options, in the hopes of maximizing its revenue intake, while also providing new opportunities for brands.

Though I can’t imagine that these will be entirely popular additions with users.

First off, Instagram’s adding new ads into Explore, with the first page of Explore now set to feature a new ad unit in the content feed.

As you can see in this example, that’s a pretty big ad. Instagram hasn’t clarified if all of these new Explore ads will be featured as prominently as this, but the option will provide another means to reach IG users ‘in the earliest stages of discovering new content they care about’.

It could be a good consideration, with a chance to get your products featured in the main discovery feed in the app.

Instagram’s also testing ads in profile feed – ‘which is the feed experience that people can scroll through after visiting another account’s profile and tapping on a post’.

So now, if you check out someone’s profile, and tap on a post, you’ll also be eligible to be served ads in that dedicated stream of their content, essentially inserting ads into another surface in the app.

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Instagram’s also looking into whether this option could also be used as a monetization opportunity for creators, as that activity will be tied back to an individual profile and content.

Instagram’s also testing what it’s calling ‘Multi-Advertiser Ads’, which will display more promotions from similar businesses to users after they’ve engaged with an ad.

Instagram ad updates

As per Instagram:

“When a person expresses commercial intent by engaging with an ad, we deliver more ads from other businesses that may be of interest, powered by machine learning.”

So Instagram’s looking to push even more related businesses at you, stacking ads upon ads. I don’t know how effective that will be, but in theory, it could get your brand in front of interested users based on previous ad engagement.

Finally, Instagram’s also launched an open beta of its AR Ads, which will be available in both feed and Stories in the app.

Instagram ads update

As you can see here, Instagram’s AR ads, built in its Spark AR platform, will invite users to interact with their ad content, which could also include positioning virtual furniture in their home, or test driving a car in the app.

Which Meta also says will help brands align with future engagement shifts:

“By giving businesses tools to create more personalized and immersive experiences today we’ll help them drive performance and prepare for the metaverse.”

I mean, AR and the metaverse, which is largely VR-based (going on the examples we’ve seen thus far) are not the same thing, but the creation of 3D objects will play a part in that next stage, and could help to advance your thinking on ad approaches.

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These are some interesting ad considerations, but they’ll also see a lot more promotions being squeezed into your Instagram feeds, which, as noted, likely won’t be welcomed by users.

But with parent company Meta under rising pressure, Instagram has to do its part. And while leaning into further Reels, and forcing in more ads, may not be a great play, long-term, the usage and engagement data will ultimately tell the tale.



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