With Facebook Places shifting from mobile-only to a cross-device location-tagging feature, what exactly is the deal with the social giant's Check-In Deals? Same as it ever was, the Palo Alto, CA-based firm said.
"We're committed to check-in deals," Annie Ta, Facebook spokesperson, told ClickZ on Wednesday.
Facebook blogged a privacy announcement on Tuesday that mentioned changes to the way users mark their locations. Since then, some pundits have wrongly speculated that the social giant was quitting the location-based services game – including the shuttering of Check-In Deals.
That is not the case; though there is a tweak that should affect local businesses. Purely on the location level, whether on their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or home computers, users of the social platform can inform their friends of their location by tagging where they are. For instance, they can tag a city, a park, a pizza parlor, or a Starbucks.
In the case of the latter, when users tag a Starbucks location while on their mobile phones, they can be served a check-in deal. Ta said, "You'll then be able to click on the deal title and will then be taken to the claim flow."
Aaron Shapiro, CEO of the digital agency Huge, spoke about how Facebook is looking to increase its footprint in the location-based space. "They're removing location as a standalone service - something that was not getting much traction within Facebook anyway," he said. "They're replacing it with something that can be far more powerful - location services that are fully integrated into the core Facebook experience."
Lawrence Mak, product marketing manager at Efficient Frontier, commented, "The in-stream check-in aims to make location tagging as ubiquitous as people tagging in photos and posts."
Whether Facebook users will refer to tagging their location as a "check-in" remains to be seen. The social media giant seems to be leaving its options open when it comes to the terminology coined by Foursquare, stating in an email sent to ClickZ that "Check-in Deals will continue to be called Check-in Deals for the time being."
David Berkowitz, VP of emerging media for 360i, lauded Facebook for diversifying the way it allows users to declare their whereabouts.
"Consider how many updates you see from your friends saying where they are and what they're doing," Berkowitz said. "Relatively few of those posts used check-ins, but there are constant location-based posts. Each weekend, my feed is full of people saying where they are, often posting pictures to capture the moment, and if it's easy to tag a location within those posts, a significant share of users will likely do it."
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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.
March 19, 2014