The growth in Facebook Pages continues to accelerate, as the social network revealed today that it has passed the 15 million milestone.

Update: A spokesperson for Facebook has clarified that the 15 million figure is specifically for local businesses.

That figure, announced by Facebook’s Director of Small Business, Dan Levy, at the Borrell Associates’ Local Online Advertising Conference in New York, is up from 13 million in December.

That’s an impressive increase and should further cement the company’s line that it offers a service that benefits not just everyday users, but brands, products and businesses too.

The increase in Facebook Pages, originally reported by AllFacebook and later confirmed by a company spokesperson, should come as no surprise given that there are practically no costs involved with setting one up. As with many other social networks, businesses perceive Facebook as a free way of interacting with their loyal customers and hopefully attracting new ones in the process. Aside from the time involved with maintaining a presence on Facebook, there are very few disadvantages to setting one up.

Facebook will also be pleased by the new milestone as it increases the chance of businesses paying for a promoted post or advertising campaign. Promoted posts can be bought for as little as $5 to $10, so it’s important for Facebook to try to build a critical mass of regular, paying Page owners.

It’s unclear exactly how many brands and businesses are taking advantage of this feature at the moment, but the social network will be desperate to prove that it has a reliable monetization strategy. A steady growth in Facebook Pages – to an outsider anyway – suggests there is at least some continued interest and support for the platform.

Levy also used the conference today to announce that the Facebook Pages Manager app has attracted more than eight million users since it first launched on iOS last May. The app was only released on Android in January, so it’s safe to assume that most of the product’s growth has come from Apple device owners.

The new figures follow the reopening of the Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program, which allows Facebook to award badges to developers who are exceptional at social marketing, as well as a new Timeline design being trialled for users in New Zealand.

Image Credit: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images