Friday, February 04, 2011

Facebook Deals Launches in (UK)

We all know that Facebook is a master at ‘targeting’, be it by relationship, birthday or keyword and has built connection targeting tools like Fans, Applications, Groups and Events. It’s fair to say that Facebook is now set to dominate targeting by location.

I was encouraged to hear on Monday 31 January 2011 of the announcement that 'Facebook Deals' had launched in the UK, and thought to blog my opinion, as this year I will be very much focused on our 'Local Geo Targeted Search Campaigns'. I will seek to explain to you what this launch could mean for your business and why you should consider aligning Facebook Deals into your integrated marketing plans. Firstly I’ll provide a little introduction on what Facebook Deals is.

What is Facebook Deals?
Facebook deals is an App that lets local businesses interact with Facebook users using Facebook Places, to check in to their physical shop or venue. The Facebook user is rewarded with incentivised promotions, discounts, loyalty schemes and offers when they visit the retailer. As you can probably imagine, the benefits for repeat purchases, customer engagement and brand loyalty are vast.

In summary, if you (as a user) have a Facebook Profile and have allowed access to the Facebook Places Application, then you can start to find out more about Facebook Deals in your area/close to your location.

You will just need to look out for a little yellow or green icon when you check into venues using Facebook Places, then click on the deal and claim it. Simple!
The Facebook blog says:
You'll see a few different types of Deals: individual deals for a discount, free merchandise or other reward; friend deals where you and your friends claim an offer together; loyalty deals for being a frequent visitor to a place; and charity deals where businesses pledge to donate to a cause when you check in.

If you are a business, then you may be interested to know that 50% of merchants who used Facebook Deals (in the US from Nov 2010 to start of year) have decided to renew their offers, and with millions of people using the service, we can only imagine that this has generated a positive ROI.

I will share some key points below.

Facebook deals for local businesses
Facebook Deals has been developed as a marketing tool to not only lure customers but to repay them by for spreading the word about your business when they check in. As such, Facebook Deals needs to be treated like any aspect of an integrated marketing strategy. The actual time to physically create the deal has been nicely simplified by the clever developers at Facebook.

Other Geo Location Targeted Apps
There are already other competitors in this geolocation market, most notably FourSquare which makes a shopping experience in to a reward-based mobile game. It’s all about rewarding the customer and building a stronger brand loyalty. Naturally, not all Facebook users will take up these offers but as our experience of the internet is increasingly defined by what our friends are logging, sharing and posting, then Facebook will be able to translate that experience into the real world.

Progressive move from places to deals

Last year, we wrote about Facebook introducing Facebook Places a Facebook mobile application, which allows ‘out and about Facebook users’, with their smartphone, to let their network of friends know, in real time, about the locations they are visiting, and check their friends into those locations too. For businesses and brands that have a physical location it makes sense to target Facebook users that have a Facebook Place and offer them a deal if they come into the shop and participate in a promotion.

Once geolocation service; Facebook Places, was established, it was a logical progression to then start offering deals. These deals will become increasingly more personalised and competitive, especially when small, local businesses recognise the benefits of being found more easily, locally online and encouraging their customers to share information about themselves, in exchange for deals.

This is the real strength behind Facebook Deals; where a brand is able to really get to the core of what their customers are looking for in terms of service, interaction with the brand via social networks, relevant offers and preferred technologies. At the same time, customers that check in to the retailer have already allowed the brand full access to a wealth of personal information, directly from their Facebook profile i.e. gender, age, aspects of their social graph and shared information, which under other circumstances shoppers can be reluctant to divulge.

Facebook Deals allows retailers to get friendlier with their customers and allows the customers to share not just the pleasure of the purchased product but the whole shopping experience and with more than just the person sitting next to them. Geolocation targeting is here to stay!

Once the retailers have got their customer relations teams crunching the data on visits, successful campaigns, analytics and demographics you can be sure that the customers will be ‘rewarded’ with yet more tempting and targeted deals. Customers can expect much more than just a free cup of coffee. How about 20% off a Mazda MX for starters. Whatever the deal, retailers will now be very carefully considering Facebook Deals as part of their Integrated Marketing Plans and Mobile Strategy.

Some retailers ‘in’ on the launch include Argos, Benetton and Debenhams. Both Argos and Benetton are offering charity donations in return for checkins by customers”

There is some great advice here on how deals work for business:

Find out more about Facebook Places
For additional options: a few articles that we have bookmarked on 'Facebook Deals launching in the UK' are listed below, we particularly like the comments made by Andrew Grill from London Calling, where he talks about 'Foursquare Fatique' and what it means for the just launched Facebook Deals service in the UK.

You can also read more about Facebook Deals on the Wall Blog What does Facebook Deals mean for brands?

Facebook deals Goes Live in Europe blog from Mashable;

Facebook Deals – adding the ‘what’ to the where and who on InternetRetailing.

The Flashlight Team would be very happy to talk to you further about how you can integrate Facebook into your marketing plans, we look forward to hearing from you.

Author: Fiona Anderson


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