Facebook Loads Up Its Arsenal and Pulls the Trigger on Deals

While speculation ran rampant about what would be revealed at the Facebook mobile conference held on Wednesday, Nov. 3; the big announcement was pretty much as expected: Facebook is adding Deals to Facebook Places.

Effective immediately, says Facebook, “local businesses will be able to offer you deals when you check in to their place on Facebook. Deals will be rolling out over the next few days and will only be available in the United States at this time.” Facebook says Deals will be available in other countries in the coming months.

Facebook will offer four types of deals:

  • Individual deals – discounts, free merchandise or other rewards
  • Friend deals – makes it possible for a Places user and his or her friends to claim an offer together
  • Loyalty deals – offers made to frequent visitors of a Place
  • Charity deals – when a fan checks in to a particular business, that business might make a donation to a cause.

Users can find the deals by going to Places and checking in. Nearby Places with deals will show up with a yellow icon. When a user touches a Place that has the icon, they can view the deal and check in to claim it. The user then shows his or her phone to the cashier at the Place to get the deal, which is typically a discount or a gift.

While Facebook facilitates the deal-making, it’s the local business that controls the details of the deal, so Facebook suggests that you “check with your local stores for additional details, such as when they’re running, how many of the offers are available, and whether a deal is just for you or also for your friends.”

Facebook’s director of product marketing, Tim Kendall, explained the value of Deals from the perspective of the Facebook user who connects with a local business via Places:

“The thing that’s been missing from that interaction, from my view, is for that local business… to communicate with me. It’s been singularly one-way. And with Deals we’re going to change that.”

Kendall said that new deals will be pushed out to existing customers, and Facebook hopes to attract nearby new customers to local businesses as well. Deals launched with 22 partners and will be open to 20,000 small businesses.

To create excitement around Deals, Facebook announced some of the promotions available in upcoming weeks, including:

  • The Gap will give out a free pair of blue jeans to the first 10,000 to check in on a certain day
  • The Palms Hotel, in Las Vegas, will offer a room upgrade or a free weekend night
  • JC Penney will offer $10 off any $50 purchase
  • McDonald’s will give $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

At the mobile conference, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that two hundred million people use Facebook mobile products across all platforms – triple the number from last year. In that context, Deals is a pretty big deal for local businesses who now have the ability to attract customers pretty easily.

Unlike Twitter, who recently dumped its @earlybird deals service, Facebook seems to recognize the power of the deal. In offering deals to localized markets, Facebook could potentially be delivering a knockout punch to services such as Groupon.

And here’s another thing: It’s pretty crafty that just as Google was beefing up its localization with Place Search, Facebook enhanced Places with Deals. Obviously, the battle between these two giants has only just begun.

About Barry Silverstein

Barry Silverstein is a freelance writer/marketing consultant. In addition to writing for ReveNews, he is a contributing writer to Brandchannel.com, the world’s leading online branding forum. He is the author of three marketing books, The Breakaway Brand (co-author, McGraw-Hill, 2005), Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press, 2003) and Internet Marketing for Technology Companies (Maximum Press, 2003). Barry ran his own Internet and direct marketing agency for twenty years. You can find Barry on Twitter @bdsilv.

4 Responses to Facebook Loads Up Its Arsenal and Pulls the Trigger on Deals

  1. […] media has been turning its attention to the needs of businesses, as evidenced by Facebook’s introduction of Deals, which essentially is all about generating revenue for local businesses. Expect to see […]

  2. […] media has been turning its attention to the needs of businesses, as evidenced by Facebook’s introduction of Deals, which essentially is all about generating revenue for local businesses. Expect to see […]

  3. […] Then there is the small matter of the trump card Facebook dealt in the war over Local called Deals. […]

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