Facebook has announced a new feature, Place Tips, to help guide mobile users to nearby locations, using cellular networks, Wi-Fi and GPS.
Place Tips will appear directly in users news feeds. The information displayed will come from a cross-section of nearby locations, friends’ recommendations, and the users interests. People using the Facebook for iPhone app will see the place tips when they are out in public. Tapping on the Place Tips will display a series of info cards about their current location. If they then chose “view” they will see posts from friends about the location and any photos from the location they have shared. This is also where the user can view more information about the place, such as their Facebook page or upcoming events.
How Will Place Tips Benefit Businesses?
What this feature essentially does is provide businesses with highly targeted, location-specific advertisements. Retail brands already advertise on Facebook, but a digital ad doesn’t compare to seeing an item in person. Dressing rooms to try things on, or the ability to try a a piece of technology out are lacking in online shopping. So getting shoppers into nearby retail locations is an important goal even for online ads. Imagine scrolling through Facebook on your phone and seeing a coupon from the retail store across the street. You have now been introduced to a brand, but they aren’t just asking you to trust them based on an image. You can actually go touch, feel and see their product. Plus, you won’t have to worry about paying for shipping.
How about going onto Facebook around lunch time and seeing menu items from a restaurant around the corner highlighted. You’re interested, but not yet convinced. Then you see a status from a friend saying how great the food is there. Do you need more convincing? Probably not, because even though it wasn’t intended that way, your friends status just served as an unpaid endorsement from a real person you know.
Will Consumers Use Place Tips?
According to Facebook, more than eight out of 10 of their users access Facebook through a mobile device. Using Place Tips will require no additional action from users since it is built into the Facebook app.
Over the next few weeks Facebook is testing Place Tips in New York City. They are also doing a small pilot integrating them with Bluetooth beacons, to improve location tips. Users can opt out of Place Tips by turning this feature off in their settings.