Facebook Offers' Test Over, Merchants to Pay
Looks like it’s time for Facebook to finally try to make itself even more profitable.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced the test launch of Facebook Offers, a service that allows businesses to send promotions directly to users via their news feeds. In return, fans can redeem special vouchers for discounts. But that test period is coming to an end, and now all Facebook Pages, with more than 400 fans, can send discounts and promotions through their networks. (There is an exception for pages operated out of Japan, but they will be eligible next week.)
However, while users can still claim these promotions for free, it will now cost merchants a minimum of five dollars to run an Offer on a related ad product and promote it to a specifically targeted audience. In addition, they can now include bar codes and unique promotional numbers in their Offers, making it easier to track and claim at in-store checkouts or on third-party sites.
Since the service's inception, Facebook has worked with a group of local business pages to test and optimize Facebook Offers, allowing merchants to share their offers with their fans free of charge. Not only did this help extend a merchant’s reach through Facebook’s ad products, but also every time a user claimed an Offer, it would then appear in his/her news feed and appear organically to their friends.
With Facebook Offers, local merchants are granted another opportunity to advertise their deals and promotions online beyond just Groupon, Foursquare and Google Offers, and unlike those avenues, Facebook Offers comes complete with access to the social network’s 900 million-plus users.
Thus far, Facebook seems optimistic about the service's potential, despite having shut down its similar predecessor, Facebook Deals. The optimism stems largely from Offers' ability to provide an individually targeted approach to sharing promotions on the social network.
Now, we’ll just have to sit back and see how many merchants will open their wallets to promote their deals on the social media site.