Facebook is rolling out its Offers marketing platform to local businesses in the United States, the digital giant announced today. Before, Offers - which competes with Google's platform by the same name, Groupon, and LivingSocial - had been available to a limited number of test partners in the U.S. during the last four months. They included Macy's, Walgreens, Old Navy, and others.
A Facebook rep said any U.S. business on Facebook could now run an Offer free of charge on the self-service platform. Unlike Groupon, LivingSocial, and Google Offers, Facebook won't take a sales cut for redeemed vouchers. The deals will be distributed to an advertiser's likes/fans in the news feed on the social site. When a Facebook user claims an Offer, his or her friends will see an ad in their news feed. The action will also post to a user's Timeline.
Businesses have to pay to create greater distribution via Facebook Marketplace Ads or Sponsored Stories, according to the Menlo Park, CA-based firm. It says the program is still in beta mode.
Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company started allowing marketers in Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Singapore to test the deals-based product.
The Offers rollout for merchants, along with the company's recent purchase of local marketing platform TagTile, demonstrates that pre-IPO Facebook is extremely focused not only on global expansion but also the local front.
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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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