Facebook Deals, its about Time

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan off all group-buying, flash deals sites that can introduce us to local offers at a fraction of the cost, deals that will entertain, pamper, primp and fill our bellies. But there’s one thing that sites such as  Groupon and Living Social fail at, and that is to tap into our “Likes” and serve us with customized and targeted deals. I’ve yet to get a survey from Groupon or LivingSocial to weigh in on my preferred deals or to be crowd sourced for ideas of where I’d spend more money.

Facebook, however, has been capturing our likes, loves and habits for years, this data is gold to marketers. Tapping into this goldmine and launching Facebook Deals will benefit small businesses and consumers alike in addition to creating a very lucrative revenue stream for Facebook. Which is why we need to ask… Facebook what has taken you so long? Who wouldn’t love the idea of saving money on discounted deals for products and services they already “Like”? And, sharing these deals with our friends is a no-brainer.

Emily White, director of local at Facebook, writes “While many Deals on Facebook offer discounts, it’s more important to us that you find interesting experiences around you to do with friends.  We’ve worked with partners and local businesses to help deliver the best social activities in your area.  And once you’ve found a deal you like, having the deal on Facebook makes it easy to share, buy and plan with your friends.”

Facebook is piloting Facebook Deals in 5 cities including San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas and Austin, Texas.  If you’ve listed one of these test cities as your “current city”, upon signing in to Facebook you will see the deals logo at the bottom of your page. Clicking on the dashboard brings up a list of currently available deals. You can then purchase a deal as well as “Like” the deal to recommend it to others and/or share the offer with friends. Purchasing or sharing the deal will show up in your friends’ news feed announcing your latest action. Words of caution to our significant others and friends, forget about surprise purchases of spa days or romantic dinners and getaways, we’ll be watching and hoping they’re for us.

Facebook has partnered with 11 companies already in the “Deals” business such as OpenTable for restaurant deals and Viagogo for events.

So, does Facebook Deals seem like a competitive threat to Groupon and LivingSocial? Absolutely, but Facebook may also lose two of their biggest advertisers in Groupon and LivingSocial who spend loads of money every month teasing us with promises of up to 90% off deals. In full launch, Facebook will serve more than 600 million users while Groupon has 70 million members and LivingSocial has 28 million.

Small caveat; Facebook Deals must be purchased using Facebook credits, their proprietary currency, a smart move for Facebook in their attempt to position themselves in the consumer payments market but that’s an additional step that may stand between the impulse buyer and the deal.

Do you think, as a consumer, you will be tempted and score a Facebook Deal or two? As a business owner, will you consider Deals as a viable promotional tool?  We’d love to know.


About Lisa McKenzie

Lisa McKenzie is a social media and joint venture strategist at Red Carpet Strategies where she designs customized cross platform integrated communications and marketing strategies for brands led by women or marketed to women. She is also a faculty trainer at Social Media Academy for Women where she shares her expertise in building communities of fans and evangelists, creating profitable joint ventures and using video to enhance brand visibility.

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