With two fairly major launches, it looks like Facebook Carpe Diemed all over Tuesday.
Facebook launched two initiatives in the last 24 hours with their new "Send" button and then also launching their group buying initiative with "Deals." I think both are potential game changers in regards to Facebook strategy. Let's break down the two:
The Send Button
This new button looks like a Like button, smells like a Like button but actually replaces "Email to a friend" in regards to functionality. It's almost an email button on crack. Once you click on the button, a box pops up that allows you to share an article with Facebook friends, Groups, and other email addresses that may not sit in your Facebook database. This function will help the viral potential of Facebook's social graph bust wide open. The beauty of this is that it doesn't share straight on a Facebook wall but keeps things private by using inboxes (excluding Group shares anyway). This more private style of sharing gives it a but more appeal by not junking up friends' walls with article links. It keeps things more conversational IMHO while making shares more targeted and potentially more "qualified."
One other cool feature to the new Send button is that it contributes to a page's Like total. Like numbers now are a combination of Likes, shares, comments and inboxes featuring a URL. The implications of this could alter how brands evaluate their overall digital strategy and how they plan to integrate Facebook's social graph into everything they do. I know Wildfire, an app that runs Facebook promotions, lists how they plan on integrating here on their blog.
Typically when Facebook does a cannonball into an already overcrowded pool, I'm pessimistic. When they launched Places, I didn't think it was that great of an endeavor. Nobody really uses Places and it turned out that their "Foursquare killer" actually helped other LBS companies grow even more (including Foursquare). Now Facebook wants to jump into the group buying scene and compete directly with Groupon and Living Social. However, I'm actually more optimistic about this move.
As it turns out, there's a fringe benefit to my move to Atlanta in that I now live in one of the five launch cities for this new feature. The Deals home page for Atlanta lists several deals around the city. In addition, if the company offering the deals has their own pages my friends Like, it displays that too, offering more social credibility to that deal.
You can also Like a Deal without purchasing, which obviously populates on your wall. Once on your wall, friends not only have the option to comment or Like that Like but also are provided a link to buy that particular deal straight off of your wall. Once you buy a Deal, you have the option of posting that you've bought the deal on your wall to encourage your friends to "go and do likewise." Deals can be bought with credit cards, PayPal and even Facebook credits, making this the first time Credits can be used for tangible goods.
The one thing that made group buying successful was the whole "group" aspect. Groupon was built on sharing deals in order that there was enough buy-in to unlock that particular deal. People were encouraged to share deals via email, Facebook and/or Twitter. With Facebook tapping into their own social graph, the sharing potential is absolutely huge. Each deal could have enough social validation to it that will encourage a bandwagon type of buying effect for others. Facebook also did a great job testing these waters with their "local deals" via Places check-ins.
What will be interesting to see are Facebook Pages that have already merged Places check-ins to their home page begin to add a Deals tab. Austin City Limits Live has already started using this. Functions like Deals will help further prove a direct ROI of Facebook for brands that are able to tap into this sort of feature.
What do you all think of the two new features? Which of the two stands out more in your mind?
- Facebook follows Groupon, begins testing deals service (oregonlive.com)
- Facebook Launches Its Group Buying Service (businessinsider.com)
- Facebook launches 'Send' button, replacing 'E-mail to friend' (chatootsboots.wordpress.com)