Local businesses in the U.S. can now create coupons to share on their Facebook page and to show up on others’ news feeds in Facebook. The new Facebook “Offers”, launched in early May, and allows brick-and-mortar businesses to easily run their promotions on a self-serve interface. The other appealing part of this feature, beyond its intuitive self-serve platform, is that it costs no money for these businesses. That’s right – posting a deal on Facebook is FREE. (Please note this is currently offered for U.S. businesses only and has not been rolled out globally.)
I was first intrigued by Facebook Offers when I suddenly saw a handful of friends on my news feed redeem deals from various local businesses. I remember seeing similar Offers from large brands like Kate Spade and Macy’s last month, but this was the first time I saw local ones. Below is an example of an Offer that I saw a Facebook friend redeem which caught my attention.
A local body boot camp to try out for $1 for one week? That costs less than one Starbucks Frappuccino AND this deal could help whip me into shape. The interesting part of this deal is that I’ve seen similar coupons for local boot camps come through in my email, weekly. I’m signed up to more than a handful of daily deal email services including Groupon and Living Social. However, because I only read the subject lines each morning from each daily deal service, I often delete the emails without opening because the deals displayed in the subject line do not apply to me. Although I signed up for deals that apply to my interests and hobbies – there’s just not many new nail salons, Zumba classes, and florist shops that I’m interested in trying out, even if they do give me 50% off.
This is where Facebook Offers comes in – and can correct the issue I described above. Offers helps “declutter” all the daily deals junk I see in my email every morning. Via Facebook, I can view Offers redeemed by my trusted friends and learn more about those businesses – potentially leading me to claim the same Offer. I can also find Offers through Pages I’ve Liked, and get deals directly from businesses that I’m already familiar with and interested in.
I wanted to experience the Portland Fit Body Bootcamp Offers deal by first going to their Page and seeing if anyone left comments about it. I redeemed the Offer and a notification popped up saying that they’re sending me the Offer through the email associated with my Facebook account. I checked my email and my Offer showed up. When I go to the Bootcamp, I’m able to show my redeemed coupon via email, in print or on my phone:
Well, that was easy! I found the Offer, skimmed through their Page, and then redeemed it. I also liked how I didn’t have to include my credit card information like I have to do with Groupon or Living Social.
Facebook also makes it easy for local businesses that have a Facebook Page to create and distribute an Offer by just following a few simple steps – through which Facebook guides you with a tour. The business is able to add a headline, thumbnail photo, and fine print before publishing it on their Timeline to share with their fans. This video explains all about Facebook Offers, as well as how to set up Offers if you’re a Page Admin.
Offers will help bring more foot traffic to local brick and mortar businesses, increasing their visibility and revenue. But what about ecommerce sites and online businesses? Facebook certainly didn’t forget about them. Facebook is currently testing a new version of Offers where coupons can be redeemed through online stores. According to TechCrunch, sources from Facebook have confirmed that users will see Offers in News Feed, Facebook ads, and Sponsored Stories that have a promo code or link that users can click to redeem the discount.
Facebook is currently testing Ecommerce Offers with only a few select clients. However, if successful, Ecommerce Offers could roll out to the self-serve interface, like the local business Offers did in early May. Ecommerce Offers would be ideal for businesses that have both a physical location AND an online store. One example is from designer brand Kate Spade, which provided 25% off in their physical shops, outlets, and online store with a special promo code. The company tested out Ecommerce Offers last month by emailing a promo code. This Kate Spade screen shot was taken from Inside Facebook’s Brittany Darwell and it was one of the first times I had ever seen this deal online.
I came across this brand when I saw my Facebook friend redeem it in her Timeline news feed. Since there’s a Kate Spade store in Portland, I could use that coupon at the store, or, enter the code online.
Another example of an Ecommerce Offer is from Sears, which paid to have their Offer appear in Sponsored Stories to reach friends of Facebook users who claimed the Offer. Here is a screenshot from the Sears Offer in Sponsored Stories:
I am particularly interested in Facebook Ecommerce Offers because I will be more likely to Like pages from brands that may have various offers I can redeem later. Currently with Groupon, for example, I feel only once in a while there will be a deal that applies perfectly to me. Then I have to pay for the coupon up front and once I use the coupon, I have to wait until I find a similar deal through Groupon again or through another competitor. With Facebook, if I Like a brand’s Page, I will more likely receive consistent offers from that company and do not have to keep waiting for an offer to appear in my email. I see a great deal of opportunities here overall: an increase in brand pages and valuable fan acquisition, more personalized Offers viewed through News Feed and Sponsored Stories, and no need to pay up front for a coupon you’re not sure you’ll use before the expiration date.
Small and local businesses and big brands alike have been buying Facebook ads to increase fan acquisition and drive traffic to their websites. Adding the element of Facebook Ecommerce Offers can define ROI more clearly when tying it into Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories. Businesses can pay for ads to attract more fans while displaying their Offers, and the fans will spend to redeem those Offers.
If Ecommerce Offers rolls out to all brands and online businesses – how do you think this will impact existing daily deals offers received via email such as Groupon and Living Social? Will you be more likely to Like business Pages if you see Offers come through your news feed?