Facebook lets retailers offer coupons to entice shoppers to buy

August 31, 2016 11:43 AM

Facebook Inc. has rolled out a dramatic mobile-oriented revamp of its Offers program, which enables retailers to offer consumers discounts that are redeemable either online or in store.

The move is an effort to breathe new life into its Offers program, which launched in 2012, more than a year before mobile ads began accounting for the majority of the company’s advertising revenue (mobile ads accounted for 84% of the social network’s revenue in the second quarter).

“Everybody loves a great offer,” Facebook writes in a blog post. “Advertisers want to attract people with discounts and other promotions, and people want to be able to easily claim and redeem offers anytime, anywhere. That’s why we’ve reimagined and redesigned Facebook Offers for a new, streamlined mobile experience.”

There are two types of Offers—online and in-store—and retailers can share the offers in two ways, either in an Offers ad or in an organic page post. Offers ads appear in users’ news feeds on the social network. An advertiser can couple Offers with a variety of ad formats, such as carousel ads, and it can also use any of Facebook’s targeting tools, including one in which the social network aims the ad at the consumers most likely to make a purchase on the merchant’s site. The retailer can then see how many offers have been claimed in Facebook’s ad reporting tool.

In testing the revamped Offers ads, Maurices generated a 31% increase its return on ad spend using Offers ads that promoted a $15 discount online. Maurices is a women’s apparel retailer owned by Ascena Retail Group Inc., No. 76 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

Retailers can also share Offers by posting them directly on their Page through the social network’s Offer Page Composer tool. When a retailer does so, all of its posted Offers will be viewable by anyone visiting the merchant’s page. If someone missed a posted Offer, he can click on the new, dedicated Offers tab to see all Offers posted by the retailer.

When a shopper clicks a Get Offer button to claim an Offer, the coupon is saved to a new Offers bookmark. The user can then review and access his saved Offers any time by clicking on the bookmark, and then redeem them on mobile, desktop or in-store, depending on the retailer’s requirements. For Offers redeemable online, when a shopper clicks Get Offer, Facebook presents him with a Copy Code button that he can then paste on the retailer’s site.

For in-store Offers, consumers can access their Offers through the Offers bookmark and pull it up on their smartphone at the register. Businesses can use either a barcode or QR code to scan the coupon at checkout.

To prod consumers to use the Offers they’ve claimed, Facebook will provide “helpful reminders to make sure people never miss out again on Offers they’ve claimed,” the social network says. For instance, if a consumer claims an Offer on his smartphone, the social network will remind him about it when he logs into Facebook on a desktop.

While retailers initially can offer only one standard offer code or barcode for every claimed Offer provided by the merchant, over time it plans to roll out the ability for retailers to offer separate offer codes to different groups of shoppers. That way a merchant can offer a deeper discount to a certain segment of its customer basewhile, at the same time, preventing those shoppers from distributing their Offers to their friends.

Online Offer ads are available now, and Facebook says its in-store Offer ads will start rolling out in the coming weeks. 




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