Women's designer clothing brand and novelties e-tailer each launch 'Places' campaigns for Facebook users who check in. Are geo-social floodgates about to burst open?
A Betsey Johnson store in California and a novelties e-tailer will each launch Facebook Places campaigns today. The location-based efforts represent the first-ever Places initiatives, marking the beginning of what promises to be a growing trend among Facebook marketers.
Facebook Places users who check in at the Westfield Valley Fair shopping mall in Santa Clara, CA, will receive a 15 percent discount offer for the Betsey Johnson retail location there until Oct. 15. Westfield Valley Fair unveiled the coupon in the "Promotions" section of its Facebook page on Monday (see image below) and is expected to push the effort to its 22,000 "likers" on the social site today with a post.
Novelties retailer Stylin Online, based in Detroit, is set to launch a campaign that will run until the Comic Con fan convention in New York City ends Oct. 8, according to Jon Siegal, CEO of Fan Appz, which is providing the marketing platform for both efforts. Facebook users will be invited to check in at various landmarks in New York to receive a discount for purchases at the website. The exact discount offer was still being finalized at press time.
Stylin Online's 229,000 Facebook "likers" were notified of the coming promotion yesterday when the company authored the following post: "Stylin Online is asking NYC fans - which of your local landmarks best matches Stylin Online? We're working on a promotion and need a place where fans would check in with Facebook Places? Grand Central? FIT? Your favorite street dog stand?"
With the recent flurry of marketing activity on location-based platforms like Gowalla, Foursquare, Booyah, Loopt, and Whrrl, the Betsey Johnson and Stylin Online campaigns seem to indicate that this increasingly prolific marketing niche is about to get even busier as the holidays near.
Siegal from Fan Appz gave an enthusiastic, but somewhat tempered assessment of what the marketing community will see in the coming months. He noted that while location-based advertising is growing exponentially, regular e-commerce still has at least one advantage over it - no requirement to physically go to the store and check in.
"Location-based marketing is going to be huge, but it's just one part of the puzzle," Siegal said. "Businesses are always looking for new ways to attract and retain customers. Location-based marketing is another one of those opportunities. If you get really good at it, it can be a huge advantage. With Facebook enabling the Places feature, it makes check-ins a lot more of a mainstream opportunity for businesses that have customers on Facebook."
Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, suggested that Facebook's huge scale (500 million accounts) would turn an increasing number of consumers into geo-social users - and then brands will follow suit with more campaigns. "It's not surprising that smart marketers are always looking to stay on top of the latest ways they can get people engaged with their brand," he said. "As I've said before, Facebook Places gives location-based services scale. Right now, only 4 percent of Americans have even tried location-based services, let alone use them regularly, according to the latest numbers from Forrester Research. It seems there is room for growth here."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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