Skip to main content

Facebook Deals Just Ate Foursquare's Lunch

Facebook announced yesterday that they're rolling out Deals, a location-based couponing and fund raising system. There are two types of Deals that can be had via their Places feature: coupons and charity. Basically, if consumers check in they unlock a deal or are helping to raise money for a cause. Sound familiar? It should, except this has real potential to take off in a big way.

If you read my last blog post you know that one of my criticisms of the existing LBS platforms is their weak business development units. Specifically, offering goofy badges that meant nothing and not signing big brands on board meant the service, while a competitive novelty at first, ultimately they provide zero benefit. In one fail swoop, Facebook just trumped Foursquare, Gowalla and everything on the market in addition to SMS testing programs to take social mobile marketing into the mainstream. Is this drastically different than what we were doing before? No, because the folks at Facebook worked around difficult carrier restrictions, SMS code fees and other nonsense that made mobile marketing cost and common sense prohibitive.

There are several reasons why Deals will work, the first being that this is your community. One of the few false promises that Foursquare really created was that because you're doing stuff around people doing the same stuff, well, by default you should hang out and be friends. And while I can stalk and be stalked on Foursquare, the app never really made sense. Call it a push vs. a pull model: I can go where my friends are or I can make an entirely new set of friends based on stopping in a my local coffee shop for a morning latte on the way to work. It doesn't add up.

Another reason Deals can explode is because it connects the online and offline worlds. Yes, you and your real life friends can shop together, save together, check in together, etc. Novel concept.

The third reason I believe Deals will succeed is because of the word of mouth aspect of Facebook. I've yet to see how it plays out in real life, but I can only imagine you would tell your friends about the free jeans Deal over at the Gap or 20% off at H&M.  In fact, if you look at the brands/offers/causes from major players on board at launch we're talking about some big brands that can affect a lot of people in a short amount of time: Gap, H&M, Starbucks, 24 Hour Fitness, Harrah's, The Palms, the San Francisco 49ers and Texas Tech University.

One last "reason to believe" is that they have major department store and chain partners on board at launch. Unlike Foursquare, who may wind up playing Indie label to Facebook's recording industry giant, they targeted businesses with high traffic rates to create a program that scales quickly. Can local businesses offer Deals too? Absolutely, but going after big players put pressure on like-minded, large competitors to at least experiment, and with a user base so large it's difficult for businesses - both large and small - to ignore it.

My final thought is that I can't help but wonder what this does for Facebook brand pages. If you're managing a community on Facebook I'd love to get your input as to how you see it changing your brand's page. It seems to me that brands offering coupons on their pages have struggled with an expectation of MORE coupons from fans (sorry, calling people Likers is just weird). One of the nice things about using third party companies to deliver coupons currently is the ability to capture data, so it'll be interesting to see how Facebook's Insights and analytics platform accommodates this need.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Rick Roll Someone

I've noticed a lot of traffic to my blog from a post I did on Rick Roll. In particular, people are looking for how to do it. So, without further adieu, here's a quick 1, 2, 3 on "How to Rick Roll Someone."

Pick your target. This should be someone not suspecting a peculiar link, email or heads up. Works great if you're the guy/girl in the office known for sending YouTube links via IM
Grab the URL. The YouTube video is probably the easiest to snag, because the URL isn't a dead giveaway. Sites that truncate URLs like SnipURL and TinyURL are handy if you want to send folks to
Pick your delivery method and send! IM, email, blog (wink!), what-have-you.

Please, feel free to get creative. Our programmers used a "Can someone test this site?" email to the office to Rick Roll the entire staff. Or better yet - send the URL along to unsuspecting family members as "Our newest family pictures!".

Another fun way is via conference or phon…

My first Facebook spam!

Well, that didn't take long. I was spammed twice today via my Facebook profile by someone named Andrea Rowe, saying that she likes my profile picture (flattery is my weak spot) and wanted to chat. She's promoting a site through one of the TinyURL-esque sites and let me know that her username is "foxy_hotty". Here's her follow up message:

hi there David, how's it going? i wanted to chat with you, but they don't have that here, whatever. if you'd like to, you can check out my other profile at my username's foxy_hotty. we can chat there, just dont mind the bad pics, lol. soooo, ya, see you i hope.

Yes, I edited the SnipURL ending because I refuse to give spammers free promotion or even worse, the click through. For those unaware, sites like SnipURL and TinyURL allow you to send truncated versions of URLs, which is particularly handy when you're posting URLs to your blog (formatting) or SMS-based tools like Jaiku and Twitte…

Fake Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers -- And the Implications for Brands

This post originally appeared on the Large Media blog.

There's been a lot of talk about Twitter followers lately, including both presidential candidates, celebrities, musicians and the like utilizing services to game their numbers. Specifically, a lot of the "Top 10" have been found to have a substantial amount of fake followers, in some case to the point where 70% of their following is either bots or inactive profiles. Most articles and infographics on the subject are telling, however with a little digging you can find out that there are also social media "experts" utilizing the service to give the appearance of bloated numbers. Intrigued, and given our rare propensity to tweet as an agency, we wanted to see what the fuss was about.

So we gave it a try.


In August we saw some ads on a third party Twitter "profile checker" site  saying they can send a thousand followers your way for $9. The process is pretty simple: select how many followers yo…