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Facebook Deals

Facebook Gifts, Reminiscent of Facebook Offers

Three things to note about Facebook Gifts: 1. Fascinating - and yet powerful - that the only promotion of Facebook Gifts is within the birthday alerts. It's the definition of "in the river" marketing and promotion. 2. This was the first time I noticed that the gift icon showcases friends who have sent gifts (when available). So not only is it in the river, it is socially relevant ... and therefor has some social pressure!

3. That aspect looks a lot like Facebook Deals.

Amazon Local Deals, Now Promoted Within Amazon Deals

It's old news that big players like Google, Facebook and Amazon have (and continue to...) tried their hand at the local / deals space. To be successful, each has to figure out how to make the crowded space and somewhat commoditized consumer experience work within their brand. Facebook, for instance, has turned Facebook Deals into their new Facebook Offers product.... which is effectively an extension of their Sponsored Story ad products. It's a smart play by Facebook because it distinguishes the platform and the ad product to both consumers and advertisers. What's Amazon's angle? I visited Amazon Deals and, among some heavily discounted movies and toys, I noticed a two-night Vegas stay for over 50% off. Seems out of place... except for the fact that:

1. Amazon is all about great prices and great inventory, and 2. Amazon has become much, much more than movies, books and games

For those reasons, it is not so awkward to place local deals beside product deals.

And perhaps more importantly: purchasing can be as simple as a single click. Like Apple, Amazon has personal and purchase information for most online consumers, and that gives them a significant boost in a space defined by scale and conversion metrics.

Facebook Offers In The River Promotion

Two trends within Facebook that I have written frequently about: - Facebook Offers: which has morphed from a Groupon-like platform to an extension of their sponsored ad format - In the River Marketing: which is particularly important for large products / platforms like Facebook (examples here: New Facebook Photos and Facebook Places)

Combine those and you have the following series of screenshots: Facebook's In the River promotion of their new Facebook Offers product. When you visit your Facebook page, you are prompted with a takeover atop the status box:

"Welcome to Facebook Offers: Drive people to your busienss with an offer that people can share with their friends." Various examples are cycled through - starting with Red Robin in this case ($5 off).

You can then "take the tour" and Facebook walks you through the various components and how to set up a campaign. Notably, its placed in-line next to the Status and Photo box.... that is prime real estate.

The walkthrough itself is not exactly noteworthy (write a strong headline! Choose a great thumbnail!) - however, the presentation of the tour and the location of the product is important. Furthermore, the final step of the tour is very interesting because it demonstrates the friction of online to offline content and commerce:

"Prepare your staff: Let your staff know about the offer so they're ready to accept it from people who show it from a mobile phone, or in printer form." Easier said than done as this is a far bigger problem than a one-line reminder to tell your staff about the coupon.

Facebook Deals Brings Friends Into Emails

I write a lot about Facebook Deals and I start each post with something along the lines of: I am not sure what Facebook Deals will become, but I give Facebook a lot of credit for the rate of innovation and their UI / UE treatments. Facebook Deals continues to test new visual treatments (examples here and here)... and here is yet another clever, compelling one.

Facebook's stance with Deals has been to overlay your social graph with your geography and your Facebook Places activity. They have done a good job merging those in the web experience... and here they do it via email. The first thing you see in the email is *not* the deal or the deal provider. It is the list of your friends (and their Facebook profile pictures) who have either liked the deal or the deal provider. Eventually it could of course be the friends who have visited the location, purchased the deal, etc (as we have seen in their online units

As your inbox gets more crowded -and marketers / brands fight for your time - this is a powerful way to capture your attention, improve conversion and tell a unique, differentiated story:

Amex + Facebook Likes + Social Graph

This is powerful. And it happens to showcase my favorite brand, Dunkin Donuts... so of course I had to share it:

From American Express:

"You and your friends like and share many things on Facebook. Now, American Express has deals and experiences for you based on those likes and interests. And once you sign up and choose your deals, all you have to do is use your American Express® Card and statement credits will be sent directly to your Card account.

No coupons. No hassles. Just a credit on your statement, and savings in your pocket."

Facebook Deals Continues to Get Interesting.

I have written a fair amount about Facebook Deals and why it is interesting & worth keeping an eye on.... and it's timely as Groupon nears its IPO and Google & Amazon begin to enter the space more aggressively. On a side note: I continue to believe that Google be a leader in the space. Android + NFC + merchant / buyer market share give them several leverage points. Facebook Deals is clearly a work in progress - and it's not clear what kind of priority it is internally. However, there are signs that it could be interesting and powerful. Here is yet another reason to believe so:

1. I received the following deal via email. Remember that deals are all about email... and Facebook has the largest, most engaged email list on the web.

2. The deal directs me to the merchant's Facebook Page. This is really important. I am not being directed to Facebook.com/deals.... in fact, there is no link to get there. The integration between Pages & Deals takes advantage of:

A. the vast collection of merchants already on Facebook

B. further extends the importance of operating a Facebook Page

C. further extends the importance of driving Fans and rewarding engagement

D. connects Deals to Facebook Ads. Advertising on Facebook is more effective when it keeps users ON Facebook. This is yet another model for advertisers & merchants to make conversions work on Facebook.

Facebook Deals New Treatment: Overlaying Friends & Places.

While it is a relatively minor update, I love the new UI / treatment being used on Facebook Deals. Facebook is now overlaying your friend's names / images atop deals they have either purchased or liked. It is similar to the super-effective Facebook Facepiles. The treatment is simple, good looking and effective... after all, it adds familiarity and some urgency to the deals.

Equally important, Facebook is including the Page or Location offering the deal. You can see an example of this in the lower deal (Iron Horse Vineyards).

This is important because I believe that Facebook Deals will (or should) ultimately be a uniting force between Places, Deals, Events, Groups, and Local Ads. This is a small, small step.

Facebook Deals: An Ad Unit with the Buy Button Integrated.

I am still unsure about Facebook Deals: - just how fully baked the idea / effort is. - how Deals are suggested to me and dispersed throughout the Facebook experience / flow. - what Facebook Deals becomes? Is it an extension of Facebook Places + Pages? Is it effectively a new Facebook Ad Format? (by the way - this is my strong feeling of what it should be) And although many Facebook users share my ambivalence / confusion / lack of passion about the Deals product... it is profoundly important for the reason mentioned above: this is effectively a new ad format and a new way to buy.

Think about it: there are ads are appearing on Facebook where the only action item is to purchase... and that purchases occurs in-line because Facebook can tie your account and Credits together. That is powerful. The fact that it is a "Deal" is really irrelevant - it is an ad with familiar, compelling copy (ie 10% off or Free Shipping).

And for advertisers, it is one more reason why advertising on Facebook is powerful: there are ad units that support traffic, media consumption, fan acquisition, sampling distribution and now purchasing. It now represents the entire funnel: acquisition, conversion and engagement / retention.

Three Reasons Why Facebook Deals is Important.

Three visual reason why Facebook Deals shouldn't be overlooked... despite being a day old and despite the large lead of Groupon and LivingSocial. 1. Facebook already has the distribution of consumers AND advertisers to kick-start the product. Raising awareness and driving adoption can be encouraged via promotion, feed virality, etc:

2. Advertisers are already on Facebook. And Facebook users are already used to interacting with brands and ads. In simplest terms, Deals is really just a different ad format... but rather than asking users to click or like, they can "buy" in-line. That's powerful. It has worked well for "liking" - which is both an in-line action and a social behavior... why shouldn't it work for purchases?

3. Facebook is the most used and downloaded mobile application. Mobile represents two important things for Deals: A) the ability to use location / proximity to deliver targeted deals B) a huge viral hook through push notifications and SMS (my phone buzzed all day as friends liked / bought related deals)