Facebook’s ‘Were Here’ Feature Exposes Mobile Buzz

Facebook has rolled out a new “were here” feature on pages that represents how many check-ins and mobile device “location shares” a brand has accrued. The development is of particular interest to retailers, restaurants and other businesses with a physicial location, since the statistic offers a proxy for foot traffic – and hence popularity (think “billions and billions served”).

An early snapshot of what’s out there: McDonald’s currently has 1.3 million check-ins/location shares and Starbucks tallies 2.9 million. But Taco Bell has only 4.

were-hereAre the patrons of Taco Bell – with its 7.5 million Facebook “likes” – really that untouched by the whole idea of geo-social? Are the brand’s marketers asleep at the wheel? The answer to both questions is no. The quick-serve chain simply has yet to reach out to its Facebook accounts rep to sync up its thousands of restaurants so their check-ins/location shares all get tallied in the same place. The 4 check-ins/location shares now seen on Taco Bell’s Facebook page only represent the activity at its Irvine, CA headquarters.

In an email yesterday, a Facebook spokesperson informed ClickZ News that McDonald’s can group locations together “because they are working directly with a Facebook account rep, so this is a feature that is available to big brands.”

Another thing Facebook has explained about “were here” in the last 24 hours: Only companies that include an address on their pages see the feature. For instance, it doesn’t currently show for Burger King or Target.

From a branding standpoint, one could easily argue that no “were here” at all is better than what’s currently rendering on Taco Bell’s page.

So what should smaller retailers without an official Facebook rep do? Create pages for each location? Or just include the address of the busiest one to show the brand in the best light?

For the time being, that’s a decision the small fries will have to cook up themselves.

This story was originally published on January 1, 2012, and comes in at No. 6 on our countdown of the 10 most popular ClickZ news stories of 2012. As ClickZ looks back over the past year, we’re celebrating the best of 2012, as determined by our readers. Enjoy!