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Facebook courts small businesses with new ad type

With Promoted Page Likes, the social network targets local merchants with smaller budgets and basic targeting needs.

Facebook is providing Page owners with a basic way to pay to garner more "likes."

Promoted Page Likes is a new ad tool attached to Pages and is meant to more conveniently serve small businesses that don't have the targeting requirements, or budgets, of bigger companies. Tuesday marks the global rollout of the tool, first introduced in the U.S. in December, a Facebook spokesperson told CNET.

Page owners can make the simplified ad buys from the admin section of their Pages and choose between showing their ads to people nearby, or in the same city, state, or country. The like campaigns run inside Facebook's desktop and mobile News Feed.

Promoted Page Likes isn't a major advertising initiative, but the new tool could help Facebook sell units to a clientele, local merchants with little budgets for instance, who may not otherwise spend on the social network. The ad play also aligns nicely with Facebook's interest in getting members and business owners to think of the social network as a local search engine.