Possibly one of the biggest issues that marketers have with social media is that there isn’t necessarily a way that businesses can put a monetary value on social media. Certainly, it drives interest in brands, and businesses with huge engagement rates on their brand pages therefore receive more impressions, which ultimately drives brand awareness, but converting those impressions, likes and other forms of Facebook interactivity has always been difficult.
But Facebook Offers is looking to change that. Essentially, Facebook Offers allows people to receive discounts on products from particular businesses. For example, if a local auto maintenance shop wants to offer its fans (and friends of those fans) a free oil change, they can now do that. And the best part is that unlike Facebook Deals, users don’t necessarily have to check-in using Facebook Places. Instead, fans must simply claim an offer, print it out, and hand it in at the respective location. Simple, really.
And So It Begins
With the introduction of Facebook Offers — which Facebook started rolling out roughly 4 days ago — Facebook has taken another step towards quantifying how much revenue its social media service can bring in. Although Facebook itself can only keep track of redemptions and, for now, it is the business and the business owner’s responsibility to keep track of the number of people that actually redeem their coupons, this is certainly a step in the right direction. Now, Facebook, with the help of business owners, can quantify the number of heads it drives into businesses.
Second Time’s The Charm
Of course, we can’t forget Facebook’s first effort at getting into the deals and coupon market. Facebook Deals was something that was initially tied into Facebook Places. Essentially, it tasked Facebook Mobile users to check-in to local businesses. When they checked in, they would be offered a deal, ala Foursquare, that would allow them to get a discount on a product.
But, for the most part, it crashed and burned. Thought it still exists — users can still check-in to places using Facebook Mobile applications — it wasn’t nearly the runaway success that Facebook had hoped for.
With Facebook Offers, they are hoping that they might have a runaway success on their hands, and that businesses – because Facebook, as of now, gains nothing from the offers themselves – will be more inclined to spend their advertising budgets on Facebook, thus increasing likes for themselves and revenue for Facebook. Additionally, Facebook is hoping that its users will turn to Facebook to advertise deals instead of other deals services like Groupon or LivingSocial.
Connecting Directly With Users
The best (or most annoying part) about Facebook Offers is that it is integrated directly into the Facebook newsfeed – the place where users spend a lot, if not most, of their time.
What this means is that businesses will probably also have significantly higher engagement rates with their individual deals. Will this annoy users? Yes, probably. Fortunately, though, they can turn off deals individually (but not as a whole). And Facebook handles deals through their Edgerank system, so if something isn’t necessarily relevant to a user, that user most likely won’t see the deal. Will this prevent people from getting annoyed at Facebook? Probably not, but users have become increasingly cognizant of the fact that with Facebook’s freeness, they must be willing to sit through what are essentially ads.
With Facebook now granting businesses a direct way to drive traffic from Facebook and into their business locations, they can now quantify the true value of their Facebook marketing efforts. For Facebook, this should work not only to attract more of its users towards businesses, but also to drive revenue expenditures.
Certainly, this is just the beginning of a long stretch of huge changes that Facebook is planning on making in an effort to stimulate significant revenue growth in light of their IPO.
Though Offers doesn’t necessarily translate directly to sales, per say, it’s a step in the right direction for Facebook.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.