In a move that surely surprises no one, Facebook this week launched ‘Offers’ in Australia, currently available in beta to a limited number of business pages and soon to be available to all pages.
Facebook Offers follows in the footsteps of FourSquare and the multitude of group buying websites that have sprung up over the past years, leveraging the power of bulk buying and word of mouth.
While FourSquare integrated with Facebook over two years ago, at the time Facebook Places replicated the technology of using the location based services facility that FourSquare offered. Facebook Places was replaced with the tagging location technology soon after.
How Does It Work?
Facebook Offers works in much the same way as FourSquare, without the check-in component – an offer is posted on the business page of a brand, such as a coffee shop and appears on the brand page and in your newsfeed. The offer might involve a buy one get one free, or a discount on a product or service, which is redeemed on the brands page. Facebook Offers differs by emailing the offer directly to the consumer, who then takes their mobile device, or a printout, to the venue to redeem their offer.
The offer can be capped, and made available for a limited time only. Facebook then tracks how many offers have been redeemed, which is displayed on the brand page, and the offer can be shared with friends in the same way other content on Facebook is shared.
Here is a bit more about Facebook Offers.
What Does this Mean for FourSquare?
FourSquare announced this week they have 20 million users worldwide, with over 2 billion check-ins, but Facebook Places had 30 million users within two months of launching in 2010. So, will brands choose FourSquare, which uses location based check ins for their offers, or Facebook, which only requires you to ‘like’?
Questions could also be raised about how to police the redemption of Facebook Offers – what is stopping a consumer from redeeming an offer on more than one occasion, especially if that offer is on a mobile device? And what about staff training and ensuring that your brand ambassadors are across all the offers published in time for them to be redeemed?
Recent evidence from Group Buying sites show discounts and freebie offers generally bring customers in the door, but getting them to come back is the area that needs work. It may be that Facebook Offers provides the key to loyalty marketing in the future, given that most people redeeming the offers will already be fans of the brand.
Will you use Facebook Offers for your business?