It has been a couple of weeks since news broke about Facebook’s new Place Tips feature. It is a hugely exciting development, and one we’re surprised that hasn’t generated more buzz around the industry.
In case you missed it, it’s a new program that delivers information about a business or location in real-time to a mobile user while he or she is physically there. If that sounds a lot like beacon marketing, that’s because it is. However, it’s more than just that.
Let’s illustrate how this can work.
A user walks into a luxury retailer’s store, which is participating in Place Tips. That user’s phone, because she has Bluetooth turned on, will send a signal to the beacon located in the store. That user then, upon opening her Facebook app while in the store, will see information about that store, coming from that store’s Facebook page.
Note: While the program currently does not include advertising, you can bet your bottom dollar it will, and soon.
In addition to Bluetooth and beacons, though, Facebook also plans to use GPS, cellular networks and Wi-Fi to determine a user’s location in locations like New York’s Central Park or other outdoor venues where placing and maintaining a beacon might be a challenge.
Why are we so excited about this? Simply put, this goes a long way towards closing the attribution loop when it comes to online driving to offline. Other solutions exist to tie those together, but given the reach of Facebook, and the growing reliance on its properties in advertisers’ media plans, this will significantly move forward conversations ROI from beacons, as well as mobile marketing overall.
As a marketer, what should you do to plan?
- First, read up on beacon marketing. It’s been growing significantly, and some of the challenges typical to a full rollout (app on user’s phone, Bluetooth, beacons) are mitigated greatly by this program.
- Revisit your Facebook page. Imagine you’re the consumer who has just walked into your store – is the content on that page what you’d want to see? If not, then figure out how to surface the right type of information to drive action in-store.
- Think about how you can best leverage this opportunity. Remember, you’re not limited to just locations with beacons within, but can also target customers in other ways. Also, think about the messaging you’ll want to test in what will inevitably because the advertising roll-out of the program.
This may seem daunting, but this is actually a good thing. As programs like this launch and get better, the better we’ll be able to focus our spend on what truly works and eliminate advertising waste.