The Gong

The mostly official blog of the Hodges Partnership.

Places, Deals and Geos, oh my!!!

November 04, 2010 | by Jon Newman

Lots of news on the geolocation front over the last couple of days.

First, Facebook adds "Deals" to its up-to-this-point not extremely popular "Places" functionality.  (Here's a great guide from AllFacebook)

Now, word from the folks at Pew, those counters of all things social and digital, that only eight percent of adults and four percent of all users check-in using geolocation platforms like "Places," Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, etc.

Those number might change since the study was being done just as Facebook launched "Places," but it does point out that across-the-board adoption of these services are sort of slow, perhaps because not everyone wants to tell everyone else where they are and what they are doing.

That being said, the introduction of Facebook "Deals" might the incentive needed for both mobile devices users and businesses to check out what all the checking in is all about.

Instead of businesses having to go directly to Foursquare to cut deals for things like ads and badges, on the surface Facebook's new "Deals" seems much more user-friendly.

Once a business owner claims their page (we did this for THP and it's really pretty easy), they will be able to manage all their offers themselves pretty easily through Facebook (see the video at this link).  The other interesting advantages are:

  • The built-in viral nature of the offers:  Once someone checks in and "claims" the offer, a notice goes up on their wall and encourages others to do the same.
  • A Groupon-like offer that encourages others to check-in at the same place so the entire group can take advantage.
  • A loyalty offer that rewards for repeated check-ins
  • A charity offer through which organizations can donate money to a cause each time a person checks in at the certain location.

There are still many hurdles to adoption, but since Facebook does have that mammoth built-in audience and since businesses are always demanding to see the return on investment of social media, this latest offering seems to get a closer to a direct cause and effect between check-ins and direct business.

Of course, since the mobile phone itself becomes the coupon, it is important for the retailer to educate the clerk behind the counter about the offer or ugliness can occur.

Will this be the tipping point for check-ins, or will people continue to check out?  What do you think?

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Jon Newman

Jon worked on-air and in management at a number of radio and TV news organizations in New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia before joining The Martin Agency. He parlayed his media background into national media placements for countless clients, and that media relations focus is still a core competency at The Hodges Partnership. As the media landscape has changed, Jon’s focus now also includes social and digital media. Read all posts by Jon Newman »

Posted in: Social Media


Picture of Shonali Burke

By Shonali Burke on November 04, 2010

Jon, I was also thinking about the Facebook Deals offering today. It will be interesting to see how this takes off, since the common plague to both Facebook and geo-location services is the issue of privacy.

It’s one thing to get a deal via Groupon, which you can sign up for via email; it’s completely another to reveal your preferences to marketers/all and sundry both via Facebook Places AND the deal you sign up for.

How it will play out… I really don’t know. We live in exciting times, don’t we?

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