Facebook logoThere’s a tug-of-war going on between location-based technology advocates and, well, the rest of the online population. Just 4% of online Americans are actually using location-based services, according to new data from Pew Internet. That paltry adoption hasn’t stopped startups like Foursquare and Gowalla from trying to entice advertisers to offer deals on their location-based platforms.

Now Facebook has entered the fray with its new “Deals” offering, which gives users exclusive deals when they check in at stores. Is it premature?

Brands don’t seem to think so. As of the launch of Deals, there were already dozens of companies with location-based offers, including Macy’s, Gap, Chipotle, and even The Palms.  Why so much confidence?

Places is popular

There have already been over 100 million user check-ins via Facebook Places, making the Deals option an "ideal platform" for building direct relationships with a brand's target market according to Leslie Hall, president of ICED Media. ICED is the social media marketing agency that represents The Palms and encouraged the resort-casino brand to issue an offer via Facebook Places.

That may seem small compared to Foursquare, which has boasted upwards of 1 million check-ins per week. But remember that Foursquare launched over a year ago. Facebook Places launched just three months ago.

Adding deals can help sustain Places' popularity as it gives users a tangible reward for checking in. This keeps users from getting bored and abandoning checking in to Places altogether.

A plethora of ad options

Companies can offer different kinds of deals, and make them available to individuals -- or require that users check-in as a group to redeem. Current option include:

  • Discounts
  • Upgrages
  • Free merchandise
  • Charitable donations
  • Unique experiences and rewards

Easy-to-use, self-serve platform

Facebook has made creating Deals through Places a very simple process. Marketers familiar with its self-serve ad creation platform will have no problem using it. Even companies that only have Fan pages will be able to create a simple deal if they have physical locations listed.

(The image below is not a video. Click here to visit the Facebook's tutorial).

Facebook Deals ad platform

Are you using Facebook Places, or location-based apps in general? If so, what kinds of offers would you like to see? If you're a marketer, are you thinking about Facebook Places and Deals as part of your social advertising budget? And do you think Deals will help Facebook crack into the lucrative local online ad market, particularly with small and medium-sized businesses?  

Tameka Kee

Published 4 November, 2010 by Tameka Kee

Tameka Kee has been covering digital media with a focus on online advertising, social media and gaming since 2007. Find her at tamekakee.com or follow her on Twitter

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Comments (4)



I think that if brands are going to really maximise the potential of Facebook places and the other check in platforms they should do it sooner rather than later so it is a unique approach rather than a 'let's jump on the bandwagon'. I agree with Rainn- look at how far twitter has come since the early days.. It is a really interesting approach to marketing, and has a great deal of scope!

over 7 years ago


Aaron beashel

While encouraging people to check-in in order to get a discount, prize,etc is good for ensuring some viral exposure on facebook, I think the potential of this for small businesses and marketers lies in the social proof aspect of a checkin. When a friend checks in at a local coffee shop it tells you that your friend, someone that you share common interests with, likes this place and that you might too. So looking above and beyond simple exposure, a checkin increases purchase intent amongst the checkin-ers social graph which for businesses is huge. Moral of the story - anything you can do to encourage a checkin you should do....

over 7 years ago


Richard Hamer

At the moment location-based technology is not that accurate. I can actually check into various places near my home without actually leaving my house, therefore I can just check in each day from my arm chair then go and collect my reward.

over 7 years ago



yes it might be for people enterprising to local people

over 7 years ago

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