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Facebook wins Places in the geo-localised marketing race

Author: Brice Le Blévennec

Facebook has officially announced the launch of its localisation service, called Places.

The launch was more than just the launch of a simple feature: it is also a way to move the geo-localised social functionalities out of its early adopter status and moving them into the mass market segment.
Facebook has been smart and has set up a partnership with the main geo-localised social players (foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah) allowing them to use Facebook Places within their application.

As a result, Facebook has made the competitive features of Places easier: the current players are now competing for badges, points and other rankings and they can focus on their core business: to offer an additional service to companies in order to better sell them advertising.

Even though it is not (yet?) possible to retarget a user who has checked into a store, the gathering of user knowledge has indeed begun. It is possible to link a physical place (Place) to a public page (Page).
The page administrators will rapidly be able to access the data of their physical visitors.

The possibility to export these data is not yet available but we can already imagine the commercial animation that may follow, on top of qualified traffic knowledge:

  • Relaunch fans of a restaurant chain who haven’t visited for a number of months.
  • Offer reductions or special offers to people present in the store.
  • Offer reductions to groups of friends who are present in a store.

For the moment, the fields offered by Places are just informative: they don’t allow for the crossing of data in the style of ‘Your friends who like these groups go to this kind of places’, nor can the data be published on external sites (Open Graph) but that won’t take long.

This will for instance allow users to connect with friends who have gone to a particular city to ask for their advice when buying a plane ticket or booking a hotel (some kind of enhanced TripAdvisor Trip Friends).

This is not yet available in Europe but we will follow its adoption (or lack thereof) in the States and the first experiments done by different brands.

by Olivier Legris

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