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Facebook places

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:

Facebook Favorite Places

As Facebook Places ramps (via mobile, deals, etc), Facebook has started promoting Favorite Places. It is a module that asks users which Place they prefer (this or that). The two choices seems to be either Places you have checked in or have explicitly liked:

Once you vote, two new places are presented.

You have a choice to few your favorite places - which lists all of the places you voted for in an expanded window. However, it is not accessible via a webpage, tab, etc. For this to ultimately be useful, I imagine that will change - and it will effectively create some sort of social map. This seems to be a test to gather data and determine what the output can / should be.

Lots of ideas on that:

- Better page / brand recommendations - Facebook Places overlayed on a social map - Deeper mobile integration with location and notifications - Deeper Deals integration - Way to collect / share deeper data with page-owners and advertisers

Facebook Places Promotes User Reviews, Places Categories

More Facebook Places experimentation (is it clear enough yet that Places is gaining strategic importance?): When friends check-in to Facebook Places and the newsfeed story is posted, friends are prompted to "Add a Category" for that Place. When clicked, it asks users "What Type of Place is This?" That categorization then appears on the Place's page. With Facebook's massive user base (now 750m+), this is a powerful way to crowd-source local classifications:

Facebook Places is also encouraging users to write reviews that are either public or shared only with your network... again, Facebook's scale and social graph should be a threat to local reviews:

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 Enables Photo Tagging For Pages. Some Marketing Opportunities.

Facebook quietly released an important product update for marketers and page-owners: the ability to tag images with pages (in addition to people). It's a simple update / change - but very meaningful and, in the short term, probably introduces an immediate first-mover opportunity for marketers. This is another opportunity to engage with your community and make existing content more visible / viral on Facebook (ie more traffic).

Here are a couple ideas / opportunities.

Tag products.

For instance, what is the celebrity wearing? What is the athlete using?

(related) Alter the way you think about Photos and Feed Posts.

This is a new opportunity for brands to engage via the newsfeed. Similarly, brands can feature photos from the community (yet another way to engage and reward).

Create contests.

Dunkin Donuts has run a daily contest on where fans drink their Iced Coffees. Entrants should be forced to tag the brand. That would be significantly more effective.

Combine tagging of places and pages.

Currently Facebook does not allow places to be tagged... but it should come and that will make the act of checking-in more robust. Photos from a place can be accessed via Places... but with tags, a user's friends will be able to happen upon the location from the feed and from photos.

Facebook Testing, Promoting Around Proximity

Below are two Facebook promotional units that I have seen more of:1. Friends in City, State 2. Friends' Popular Places Notably both are around location and proximity. Interestingly, one is focused on my home-town and the other on my travels: - the popular places are expectedly near my home city and regular Facebook Places check-ins. - the other unit though is showcasing friends outside of my city. I suspect that it is choosing Los Angeles because I have checked-in there multiple times over the last month.

Clearly proximity and location will play a key role in the forthcoming Facebook Deals... I imagine this is part of the piping / testing that will tie together location, Places, Deals and (of course) friends.

Starbucks Cards: Game Mechanics Done Well

Last week I wrote about the "do's and don'ts of gamification"... in other words, how to effectively add game mechanics to your site / service. Thanks to the success of leaders like Zynga and Foursquare, companies across different verticals are layering game mechanics to their product. In my last post, I wrote that the key to successful "gamification" is to make surre that game mechanics [are] natural, rewarding and straightforward.

Here is a great example from Starbucks (who generally always does a great job on the social and marketing fronts).

You'll notice a few things with the below screenshots:

1. It is Natural: Starbucks has not created a new program here... rather, they have tied it in to the Starbucks Card system that has been around for years. This is just an incentive to register and actively use your card.

2. It is Rewarding: In fact, the Starbucks Card program comes from the "Starbucks Rewards Team" and card-holders are notified of their status, their rewards and their goals.

3. It Progresses: As you progress through various levels are membership ("black, green, gold"), you earn different rewards. Starbucks clearly defines your 'status', your rewards and what is needed to reach the next 'level'. Again, the program is straightforward and rewarding.

4. It is Accessible Email, Starbucks.com & Mobile: The program has several reach / access points. The emails are well crafted and targeted to the specific user's 'status' (notice below an email sent to a green member and gold member).

5. It is Social: Below you will also see an example of sharing your purchase and rewards in Facebook. The image is specific to your status / balance and is tied to a check-in via Facebook Places.

Starbucks email sent to a Gold member:

Starbucks email sent to a Green member:

What the check-in looks like on the Facebook feed

And the custom Starbucks Rewards graphic on Facebook

McDonald's Buys Facebook Ads to Ask, "Would You Check-In?"

McDonald's is currently buying sponsored ads on Facebook to ask whether you "would check-in at a McDonald's restaurant". Considering that McDonald's does not currently provide offers for checking-in via Facebook Places, this appears to be a survey campaign. At the time of the screenshot, over 20,000 Facebook users completed the survey. ~30% of those users have already check-in to McDonald's (hard to believe?) and 43% would do so for a "good" deal.

This is not surprising: we know that people love discounts and anything with the word "free".

It is a different approach to advertising alongside Facebook Deals. Starbucks and H&M have run campaigns promoting their deals - McDonald's might well do that in the future, but for now it is more of a branded research project.

Facebook Now Advertising "Facebook Deals" to iPhone Users

Last week I wrote about how both Starbucks and H&M are beginning to advertise their Facebook Deals / Facebook Places campaigns. Now Facebook itself is advertising the Deals Platform:

"Find Deals on Facebook: Checking in on Places can get great deals nearby. Find specials wherever you see a yellow icon in the Facebook for iPhone app."

Like Starbucks and H&M, this ad is targeting consumers and aims to drive check-ins... which in turn can also be considered a promotion for the deal providers (ie Starbucks, H&M, etc). Also interesting:

1) the ad specifically targets iPhone users - I wonder if there is an Android specific campaign? 2) the ad expands into a video. Facebook has been releasing high-quality videos for each of their new products (example here)

Landing page: