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Future of Business Survey Global Launch

Research - Trends and Insights


OECD, World Bank, Facebook

  • In 2014, the UN Secretary General called for a data revolution to help achieve the sustainable development goals.
  • One year ago, The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data launched, and Facebook became part of that mission.
  • Facebook, OECD, World Bank are committed to helping provide new sources of data that will help inform policy makers decisions, to help economies grow.
  • In partnership, on September 28, 2016, we launched the Future of Business Survey in Europe.
  • The monthly survey – which kicked off in February 2016 – is a partnership between the OECD, World Bank, and Facebook.
  • Given that it polls Facebook business Page owners (both newer and long-standing companies), the Future of Business Survey provides a unique window into the new digital and mobile economy.
  • The aggregated data provides unique insights into businesses' outlooks, challenges, tactics, and demographics.
  • As a result, the survey provides a pulse on the current and future economic environments in which businesses operate, with the goal of informing decision-making at all levels and delivering insights that can help businesses grow.
  • The collaboration demonstrates the value of private-public partnership in producing timely, policy-relevant aggregated data that can inform decision-making at all levels.
NEW: Research Expansion Updates:

As the World Economic Forum kicks off, the OECD, World Bank, and Facebook are releasing on January 17th an update to the Future of Business survey [see below for key findings]


This update sees:
  • Greater scale: We started with 17 countries. Now, only 4 months later, we've increased the scale of the survey to include 33 countries (including South Africa) around the world (a 50% increase in countries in 3 months).

  • Bigger reach: To date, nearly 140,000 Facebook business Page owners, from both newer and long-standing companies, have taken the monthly survey - a 40% increase since September 2016.

  • Adaptive: The format is flexible, meaning we are able to revise it to include new questions. For example, we heard during the initial launch that people were interested in how small businesses were trading internationally, so we added a module to help them understand this important issue, as well as a new module around Gender Management.
NEW: Global Research Highlights:
  • Across all 33 countries, on a global level and across all survey months, 42% of SMEs are positive about the current state and 60% about the future.
    • South Africa: 50% of SMEs are positive about the current state and 73% about the future.

  • On a global level and across all survey months, 18% of SMEs state that they did create jobs in the past 6 months and 39% that they want to create jobs in the next 6 months.
    • South Africa: 23% of SMEs state that they did create jobs in the past 6 months and 47% that they want to create jobs in the next 6 months.

  • The most common challenges for businesses are attracting customers (77%), increasing revenue (59%), and maintaining profitability (49%)
    • South Africa: The most common challenges for businesses in South Africa are attracting customers (71%), maintaining profitability (53%), and increasing revenue (53%).

  • The most common uses of online tools, were showing to advertise to potential new customers (75%), show products/services (75%) and providing information (65%)
    • Confident businesses generally use online tools for more purposes
    • 75% of respondents use online tools or platforms for at least 5 out of 6 purposes listed.
    • South Africa: 82% of SMEs use online tools to advertise to potential new customers, 76% to show products/services, and 71% to provide information.
NEW REPORT: How SMEs are trading internationally

From its launch in September, policymakers, researchers, academics expressed interest in how small businesses were trading internationally. The teams added in a new module around this and found:
  • 17% of small businesses surveyed engage in international trade.
    • This is high, considering that 85% of these businesses have fewer than 10 employees and are not large multinationals.
    • OECD states less engage in international trade.
    • South Africa: 15% of SMEs engage in international trade

  • Small businesses engaged in international trade are more confident than non-traders.

  • Small businesses that are trading internationally use online tools at a higher rate than non-traders.

  • The most commonly reported challenges for small businesses engaging in international trade are:
    • Finding Business Partners (60%,) Market Access Limitations (44%) and Different regulations in other countries (36%.)

  • Small businesses (45%) that are engaging in international trade are more likely to increase jobs in the next 6 months, than non-traders (37%).

  • There are now more than 60 million small businesses on Facebook, and more than 35% of their fans are cross-border, which is up from 30% in 2015. Approximately 65% of people in the Future of Business countries are connected to at least one SME in a foreign country.
    • South Africa: 56% of people on Facebook in South Africa is connected to at least one SME in a foreign country.
    • South Africa: 64% of people on Facebook in South Africa is connected to at least one SME in South Africa.
NEW REPORT: How Gender Management affects small business confidence
The Future of Business survey helps us fill the gender data gap: We can understand how women-run firms perceive their environment compared to male-run firmed. The survey found:
  • Women-run businesses are as confident about their current and near-term outlooks of their business and report facing the same challenges as male-run businesses.
    • Previous research shows that women face higher barriers to entry than men.
    • For example, in the 2016 Women in the Workplace survey women in corporate America are hitting the glass ceiling much earlier than people think.
    • Importantly, we find very little difference in confidence between women and male-run firms when asked about the present and near-term outlooks of their businesses. They also report facing the exact same challenges.
    • Lean In: Confidence from a LeanIn perspective is much more at an individual level. The Future of Business survey looks at confidence in the state of the business, not the individual manager and their own skills.

  • Women run business are more likely to leverage online tools to make their businesses succeed.

  • Women-run businesses use digital tools for 5 of the 6 purposes included in the Future of Business survey more than male-run businesses.
    • Women are 7 percentage points more likely to use online tools to show products and services, and 6 percentage points more likely to use online tools to provide information (such as opening hours and contact information).
    • Typically, women are not seen as the main consumers of technology, but in fact, they are using digital more than men to run their businesses.
    • As women around the world are increasingly becoming the providers for their families, digital provides a viable path for them to engage with the broader economy.
    • Digital helps equalize the playing field, since businesses can reach out to customers all over the world without investing significant resources or confronting binding cultural norms.
NEW: Update to Facebook blueprint

About the Facebook Blueprint:

  • Facebook Blueprint offers small businesses tools and training they need to learn how Facebook can help grow their businesses, and to practice on their own.
  • From free, 15-minute online courses to the chance to work hands-on with experts, Blueprint makes it easy to learn and master the best practices of Facebook marketing.
  • Find out more about Blueprint at www.facebook.com/blueprint
Update to the Blueprint & The Future of Business Survey Tool (17th January):
  • In an effort to support the continued success of small businesses, in early H1 2017, Blueprint will launch an innovative new eLearning course.

  • It aims to teach businesses, policy makers, media professionals, and academics how to get the most out of The Future of Business Survey tool.

  • The Blueprint eLearning course curriculum will include:
    • An overview of the Future of Business survey (including purpose and reach)
    • How-to's for accessing the Future of Business website and downloading a custom report, an overview of available statistics and indicators (like gender, industry and company size)
    • Inspiring success stories featuring businesses that have leveraged the Future of Business survey tool for their own growth.
    • In addition to building a custom Blueprint course to highlight how to get the most out of the Future of Business survey tool, these insights will also be incorporated in existing eLearning course content curated for the Small Businesses, Policy, Media and Academic audiences, including those interested in cross-border business and emerging markets.

  • At launch, the content will be available in 9 languages: English, Simplified Chinese, German, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, French and Indonesian, with other languages to follow.

Future of Business Survey - Infographics December, South Africa


Itumeleng Morule
Itu@ideaengineers.co.za

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