Facebook is trying to make its coupon product, Offers, a bigger deal

Facebook will now show offer codes while on a brand’s site and save them to a new Offers tab.

When Facebook introduced Offers in February 2012 for brands to distribute coupons on the social network, it was more or less a me-too product. Now Facebook is trying to make it more of a Facebook product.

Facebook is updating its four-year-old Offers product to make it easier for people to see, save and use these coupons, especially when on their phones, and give brands more control over who those people are.

For years brands have been able to use Offers to distribute online or in-store coupons on Facebook as ads or organic Page posts by linking to a brand’s site and emailing people a copy of the coupon to people who clicked on the ad or post. At its core that’s still how the product works; it’s just less of a hassle.

People can still click on offer-carrying ads or Page posts to visit the advertiser’s site to redeem it through their phone or receive an emailed version to redeem it in store. But now the offer will also be saved to a new Offers bookmark tab attached to their Facebook account.

When someone wants to redeem an in-store offer, they’ll be able to pull up the Offers tab in Facebook’s mobile app, and the cashier will be able to scan the corresponding barcode from their phone. If it’s an online offer, clicking on the ad will open up the advertiser’s site so that someone could redeem it immediately. In that case the coupon code will now be displayed at the bottom of the screen while navigating the site. A person can click on the code bar to see details about the offer like its terms and conditions or to copy the offer to their device’s clipboard in order to paste it while checking out.

To make it more likely that people will end up using an offer, Facebook has come up with new ways of prodding people to redeem them. In addition to letting people bookmark an offer, Facebook will alert people with push notifications when their saved offers are about to expire. And if someone claims an offer while browsing Facebook on their phone, Facebook will remind them about the offer the next time they log into Facebook’s desktop site.

In addition to coming across offers in the news feed, people can now visit a brand’s Page to see and claim offers that a brand has organically posted to Facebook within a new Offers tab. Since brands can set an expiration date on their offers, people will only be able to see available offers. Brands can also highlight these offers within a scrollable gallery displayed on their Page’s main tab.

While organic offers are available to anyone, brands can pick-and-choose who can see an offer ad by using Facebook’s ad-targeting options, like aiming the offers at people in their customer databases or people who share similar characteristics as those customers. And for ads promoting online offers — but not for ads promoting in-store offers — brands can target the offer to people that Facebook considers most likely to purchase something from the advertiser’s site.

Facebook is also working on a way for brands to limit who can redeem an offer by creating offer codes that are specific to each individual claiming it. That prevents people from reusing an offer code or posting it to coupon sites, potentially leading to way more people redeeming an offer than the advertiser had in mind. And it would give the advertiser more control on how many people can access an offer.

For example, an advertiser could opt to only make it available to people in its loyalty program, in which case those people wouldn’t be able to share that offer with friends on Facebook. If an advertiser allows people to share an offer with friends, then each friend that clicks to claim an offer would receive their own unique offer code.

But those are just hypotheticals for now as Facebook develops these unique codes. Facebook product manager Dan Barak wouldn’t say exactly when the unique codes would become available though.

Advertisers can pay for offer ads based on how many people click on the ad to claim an offer. Or if a brand has placed Facebook’s tracking pixel on its site, they can ask Facebook to show the ad to people most likely click to visit their site and perform an advertiser-defined action, like buy a product, in which case the brand would pay for the number of times Facebook served the ad to people.

While advertisers will be able to see how many offers have been claimed within their Facebook ad dashboard, brands are largely reliant on their own systems to track their coupons’ performance, such as how many people redeemed an offer that was posted organically to the brand’s Page. If an advertiser includes Facebook’s tracking pixel on their sites to track purchases made from Facebook ads, then the brand would be able to see the number of offers redeemed as well as offers claimed within their Facebook ad dashboard.

About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.