With the launch of Facebook’s new privacy features came the somewhat surprising announcement that the Facebook Places icon will no longer be visible on its mobile app. Facebook Places will evolve from a check-in on mobile devices to broader location sharing (or location everywhere) on Facebook, allowing users to tag their location to wherever they are and to whatever they are doing on any device (laptop or mobile). Facebook’s location-sharing feature adds a social location layer to each user’s post activity and users can share present, past, and future location information.
On Friday, Facebook announced that the Facebook Deals product was being axed after four months of running as a pilot in a couple of cities. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to ClickZ News, “We think there is a lot of power in a social approach to driving people into local businesses. We remain committed to building products to help local businesses connect with people.”
Though the Facebook Places icon and the Facebook Deals are disappearing, this change should not be confused with Facebook Check-in Deals, which is not going away anytime soon. Facebook location sharing has great potential for social commerce as users can share location activities such as their favorite restaurant, the store they are shopping at, or the event they are attending.
What Does This Mean to F-Commerce?
In early July, Facebook began testing a management structure for businesses with multiple locations using a new page tab called Location. Retailers, food chains, financial institutions – to name a few – are setting up Places for each of their brick-and-mortar locations that link back to a main parent brand page in a “parent/child” relationship. This feature supports specific local marketing activities and facilitates local check-ins. The new API features will also allow vendors to build tools to help create and manage Check-in Deals at scale. Importantly, Facebook also recently added Zip code targeting to ads, including Sponsored Story campaigns.
Several companies are in beta with this new Location tab. In the example below, users can find Applebee’s locations across the country. All check-ins across local “child” Places are aggregated onto the parent page. Each “child” Place maintains a unique check-in count for that specific brick-and-mortar location.
Facebook Check-in Deals will benefit from Facebook user location sharing, as well as companies with parent/child Places. Here is how it will likely work: you are out shopping at the local mall; you tag a post with a specific location, such as the shoe store you are shopping at. If the shoe store location you just shared in the status update is offering a Check-in Deal, the deal will appear below the news feed story under your status update. You can then click on the deal in the news feed and follow the instructions to claim your deal. Check-in Deals can only be claimed after checking in on your mobile phone.
It’s Not Just Your Location – Where You Sit Counts, too
Ticketmaster this week launched an interactive seat map that shows all the promise of using social technology to enhance the event and social commerce experiences. Ticketmaster has already seen revenue enhancement associated with Facebook; each time a person shares information via Facebook about a concert ticket she bought, it generates an average of $5 in incremental sales.
Events and concerts have always been social. Now with Ticketmaster’s launch of its new Facebook integrated interactive seat map, the online ticketing buying experience becomes more of a social experience. When a user connects with Facebook on the Ticketmaster website while buying concert tickets, they can now see which of their Facebook friends are going to the concert and where they are sitting. If available, they can then choose to buy tickets to sit near them.
The Facebook Location-Sharing Ecosphere
The Facebook location-sharing ecosphere allows consumers to share any location, anytime, anywhere. Businesses through the parent/child Places management structure can register all their brick-and-mortar locations. Businesses can now offer Check-in Deals (via mobile) to consumers who shared the local businesses location in their news feed. If that is not enough, Facebook has enabled advertising targeted by Zip code to drive traffic to local marketing activities including awareness of a location-specific Check-in Deal.
Location sharing and Facebook Check-in Deals allow businesses to find and better serve their most valuable customers, the ones in-store and ready to purchase. Whether you agree or not with the new Facebook approach to location sharing, we certainly are seeing that your location – even where you sit – counts when it comes to social commerce and F-commerce.