Facebook Launches Opt-In Local Place Tips
Tips show content from Facebook Pages and network friends' recommendations.
The value is obvious. As with Foursquare Tips, Facebook Place Tips offer advice and information from the location’s Facebook Page and from people in your network who’ve been there before. At a high level, there appear to be two main differences between Foursquare Tips and Place Tips.
Foursquare Tips are from the public generally, while Place Tips are from your network (and the entity). The content provided by Place Tips is also broader and more varied. Below is a Facebook-provided screenshot showing the kinds of content Place Tips offers:
Place Tips appear as a notification at the top of the News Feed. Tap the notification and you’ll open images, events, menu items, reviews and friends’ comments and posts. Users can also hide Place Tips for particular locations.
As mentioned, information about the business or location will also come from that entity’s Facebook Page. This will further encourage posting and enhancement of locally oriented Facebook Pages. Brands and multi-location businesses will need to pay attention or more attention to location-based content and local Pages accordingly.
Place Tips is opt-in; you need to give Facebook permission to access location. Location is determined through cell tower and WiFi triangulation and GPS location. Place Tips can also be about outdoor spaces, monuments and attractions — not just businesses.
With location turned on, Place Tips is enabled in the News Feed. The default setting will deliver Place Tips but it can be easily turned off. As an aside, if you enable location Facebook will see that, which could help later on with the company’s efforts to measure the offline impact of its ads.
In New York exclusively, Facebook is also testing the use of beacons in selected locations. Those are: Dominique Ansel Bakery, Strand Book Store, The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Brooklyn Bowl, Pianos, the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Veselka and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I asked Facebook about whether there was any offers/ads tie-in. A company spokesperson said that there was not. Facebook first wants to “get the experience right” for users. However over time I suspect there will be an advertising or official promotional opportunity. As I’ve speculated above, I think this could also be valuable for offline ads tracking.
There is already an “organic” promotional angle, however. Given that Places Tips content will be coming from official Facebook Pages, business owners will be able to post content that could influence consumers in their locations. For example, “free dessert with purchase of special entry today.”
Place Tips is part of a larger movement by Facebook recognizing online-to-offline consumer behavior. It recently revamped its Places Directory, updated Graph Search (though without doing much for location) and expanded the availability of offline conversion tracking. There’s lots of interesting activity at Facebook around offline location.
Despite all this, I keep waiting however for a stand-alone Places app — or better local search within Facebook itself. Perhaps someday.