Facebook isn't just having an impact on the job market in the U.S. Across the EU and Switzerland, Facebook enabled an economic impact of €15.3 billion ($19.86 billion) in 2011, supporting 232,000 jobs, according to a new study. More specifically, increased businesses participation through advertising, customer referrals, and enhanced brand value is worth around €7.3 billion, while the Facebook App Economy is worth €1.9 billion and supports around 29,000 jobs.
In addition to all these great numbers, Facebook today announced partnerships with a range of governments, educational establishments, non-profit organisations, employment agencies, and skills providers in Europe. The company says it is doing so to help even more people find jobs, and encourage businesses to grow further. To start off, Facebook is offering €100 of free advertising to 50,000 small and medium enterprises in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Now back to the study. The numbers might seem a bit overestimated, since the social networking giant paid for it. Facebook commissioned the research firm Deloitte to assess its economic contribution across the EU27 with a focus on United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Ireland. The 47-page study, titled "Measuring Facebook's economic impact in Europe" (PDF), was conducted between November 2011 and January 2012.
The report examines Facebook's influence in four key areas:
- Narrow impact: Facebook employs staff across Europe. That means money spent on wages, buildings, equipment and with suppliers.
- Business participation: Companies are increasing their revenue and building their brands thanks to Facebook advertising, fan pages, ‘likes’ and by communicating directly with customers.
- Platform impacts: European businesses that build apps for Facebook employ thousands of people. Also, social events planned online mean money spent on venues, food, drink and other expenses.
- Technology sales impacts: For many people, Facebook is the deciding factor when considering a new smartphone or tablet computer. Accessing the site or app also drives consumption of mobile and fixed-line broadband.
Here are some of the highlights from the report:
- Facebook supports €1.37 billion in 'business participation effects' in the UK as businesses use Facebook's pages to promote their brand, raise awareness, advertise and generate new business. In particular, small businesses benefit from such a developed customer relations management system at no cost. 'Business participation' enabled by Facebook supports 18,400 jobs in the UK.
- When widened to the whole of the EU, Facebook enables €7.3 billion of broad economic impacts through Business Participation supporting 111,000 jobs.
- Through 'Platform effects', notably the app economy servicing the Facebook platform and social activities, Facebook has enabled €561m of economic activity. Facebook generates value by giving software developers a platform to develop apps for users, generating revenue, and stimulating innovation. It also creates value by making it easier for users to organise events and invite larger numbers of attendees, which in turn can lead to greater expenditure than would not have been the case otherwise. This activity generates 7,500 jobs in the UK. When widened to the whole of the EU, Facebook enables €2.2billion of broad economic impacts through Platform effects supporting 33,000 jobs.
- Facebook has supported increased technology sales through increased demand for devices and broadband connections, supporting €659 million in technology sales and 8,800 jobs in the UK. Across the whole of the EU, Facebook enables €5.5billion in technology sales, with 85,300 associated jobs.
"Today's report shows that Facebook is about a lot more than sharing pictures or keeping up with friends; increasingly social media means growth and jobs," Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement. "As the Deloitte study highlights, social media is proving particularly valuable for small and medium sized businesses, which form the backbone of the European economy. The impact of social media is a bright spot in challenging times, but growth won't happen on its own. We need to make sure that we invest in the right education, training, technology and networks so that social media can continue to drive innovation and economic growth."
"Facebook embodies a new generation of social media organisations that have significant global impact and create economic value through enabling ecosystems of businesses to flourish," Chris Williams, Deloitte Economic Consulting partner, said in a statement. "Traditional narrow measures of economic impact are limited and it is critical to consider the broader impact of Facebook in allowing other parties to create value across the economy."
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