If your Facebook newsfeed is suddenly cluttered with a new type of status update -- friends seemingly bragging about coupons they scored at local or national businesses -- then you already know about Facebook Offers. But what are these discounts all about, and should you get in on the action?
How it works: According to research, 58 percent of users expect to get access to coupons or sales when they Like a business's page -- so Facebook Offers is good news for consumers and businesses alike. Major brands like Sears, Chili's, and Burger King are already jumping on the Offers bandwagon, along with many smaller, local businesses. While some Offers don't provide exceptional savings (e.g. an offer that merely publicizes a sale that's going on anyway), others offer discounts as great as buy one, get one, or 25 percent off.
When you Like a brand or local business's page, you'll see their "offers" in your newsfeed just like any other update (unless the offer is promoted ... we'll get to that in a minute), according to Facebook. All you need to do is click "Get Offer" and the coupon will be sent to the email account associated with your Facebook page. Present the coupon in printed form or right on your phone at the business and you'll get the discount. Once you opt-in to a particular offer, this will also appear as an action on your own timeline and in friends' newsfeeds.
What's in it for Facebook? Wary consumers and business-owners are quick to ask where Facebook's pay-off is in all this. Offers cost brands $5 to run and there is also the option for a business to promote an offer. Paid promotion within Facebook Offers uses the same targeting system as Facebook Ads, which presents businesses' ads to consumers based on information in their profile.
While consumers are generally a-okay with receiving coupons from brick-and-mortar stores based on their shopping history, surveys show they're not as open to being targeted based on online activity. While more than 80 percent of adults are fine with a grocery store using their previous purchases to provide them relevant coupons, only one-third were comfortable with Facebook using their personal information in order to show them the most relevant offers. Another study showed 45 percent of Facebook users don't want to like a company page, because they don't want to give that company access to their profile information.
Should you get in on it? Critics of Facebook's previous Deals system are quick to note that Facebook Offers does not require users to check in at the business or share with the web where they physically are, says ABCNews. Moreover, unlike other daily deal sites, you don't have to subscribe to an entire city's deals, and you won't have to interact with any other websites at all. You don't even need to tell anyone that you claimed an offer if you don't want. On Facebook, when you claim an offer, simply change the visibility settings of that post to "Only Me."
In fact, there's already a way to find these deals without even using Facebook. The site Foibly allows you to view all national offers on one page. You do still have to have a Facebook account in order to have the deal emailed to you, but you don't have to follow a slew of brands to see their offers. Unfortunately, there is not yet a way to find local Offers on Foibly.
It seems like Facebook deals offers very little risk for the user with the possibility of relatively high reward -- have at it, though be aware, your personal info is being used by Facebook and the businesses