Last week Facebook proudly launched ‘Facebook Places Deals’. With several mega-brands jumping on-board like Starbucks, Chipotle, The Gap and North Face; one could only assume the new feature would be a HUGE success. After attempting to create my own deal, I’m not convinced.

There are several factors that businesses need to take into account before deciding whether or not to offer a Facebook Places Deal. Here’s the skinny.

Types of Deals

Currently there are four types of ‘Deals’. To be clear, these deals show up on any Facebook mobile phone application when a user attempts to check in to a physical location (see screenshot below). They include: Individual Deals, Loyalty Deals, Friend Deals and Charity Deals. By far, the charity deals seem to be the most popular among the large brands currently using Facebook Places Deals. I have seen North Face and Starbucks offer a donation with every check-in. Here are the details of each type of deal:

  • Individual Deals – A one-time deal, gift with purchase, discounts, buy 1 get 1, etc.
  • Loyalty Deals – Rewarding your most loyal customers, deal may be claimed after a certain number of check ins. For example, 5 check ins and you get a free appetizer. Facebook keeps track of the check ins with a handy punch card graphic.
  • Friend Deals – Deals that are offered to groups that check in together.
  • Charity Deals – Makes a donation to a specified charity each time someone checks in and claims the deal. It’s up to the business owner to manage the donation process.

Facebook highlights the businesses offering a ‘deal’ with a small, yellow badge, shown above. The actual details of the special offer are shown once a customer clicks on the place to check in.

Creating Your Deal

One of the hardest parts of creating a deal is claiming your Facebook Places page. First you need to confirm a Places page actually exists for your business. If there isn’t one showing when you search for your business name on Facebook, then you’ll need to check-in via Facebook’s mobile application. A places page is created the first time someone checks in at your business location.

Once the page has been created, you can claim it via a link at the bottom of the page, ‘Is this your business?’. Facebook will ask you to verify that you are the owner of the page via a phone verification process, similar to Google Places. Once you own the page you can create page deals. Facebook Places pages can have more than one admin, similar to Facebook Business Pages.

To Merge or Not to Merge, That is the Question

During the places page claiming process, Facebook will ask whether or not you would like to ‘merge’ your places page with your business page. Don’t rush into this decision as once merged you can’t ‘un-merge’. The merged page doesn’t support a tab structure and is frankly pretty ugly, see the screenshot below. Merging pages isn’t required. You can read all the ins and outs of merging your Facebook Place to your Facebook Page here:

Merged Page Screenshot – Tab structure moved to the left sidebar.

Regular Places Page – No tab structure.

Regular Business Page – Tabs across top of page.

Review Process

Facebook is reviewing each places deal for what they call ‘high value deals’. They recommend that advertisers and business owners follow their ‘best practices’ (listed below) as well as their ‘formatting guidelines’.

I have seen several deals offered by big brands but have yet to see one offered by a small, local business. I have tried to submit several deals for one of my local clients but each time Facebook has rejected the deal. I have studied their best practices and have no way of knowing WHY the deals were rejected. If Facebook wants small business owners to create ‘high value deals’ like giving away 10,000 pairs of FREE jeans, small businesses might be better served working with Foursquare. It would seem that a location-based app, created under the umbrella category of ‘Facebook Local’ would appeal to and work for LOCAL, small businesses. That just isn’t the case thus far.

Foursquare Not Dead Yet

Targeting consumers within close proximity to your business becomes a bit more difficult with Facebook Places Deals. Foursquare has managed to add a call-out on the check in page of ALL locations within physical proximity to the deals origin. Facebook simply puts a small badge on the main check-in page. Frequently users have to manually search for locations and then go directly to that check-in page, any deal nearby would be missed by that user.

Facebook Deals Best Practices – Duh

You can read the complete list of fairly obvious tips in this PDF, but here are the key points:

  • Offer your customers a lot of value
  • Simple copy is more engaging, be sure to use short, simple language to explain your deal
  • Be mindful of deal fatigue and the number of deals you run

Facebook is great at stating the obvious and neglecting to provide any real insight to business owners or advertisers looking to utilize Facebook ‘Deals’. Having high hopes that they had finally created ‘THE’ geo-location app for small businesses, I’m left sorely disappointed. Please feel free to share you insights and offer up additional tips on how to make the most of Facebook Places Deals.


Introducing Deals Facebook Blog Post

Facebook Places Deals Video Tutorial

Facebook Deals Guide for Businesses