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For years now Google has encouraged advertisers to spend money on Google AdWords by giving away $50 credit to new advertisers. In many cases, if you set up a new Web hosting account, you got this credit from your host. Google is still doing this.

Now, Facebook has joined the party.

Starting next year, Facebook will give away $10 million in free advertising to small business owners.

There’s more to the story than Facebook merely wanting to steal your business from Google. That would be nice for Facebook, but they really want you to start advertising on their platform – even if you continue using Google AdWords.

Most small business owners haven’t figure out how to use social media as a marketing tool. But they understand advertising. With 800 million + users, Facebook has a huge opportunity for small businesses to tap into the company’s user base and that’s why they are willing to give you $50 in free advertising to get you to at least try it.

I think the opportunity is a great opportunity for small businesses. Google AdWords has proved to be a very effective marketing channel for businesses that have tried it. Facebook’s advertising platform is a different animal, but it’s an animal worth riding nonetheless. Pay per click is no longer a search engine advertising tool; it’s gone social.

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