Facebook Deals launched April 25 and analysts for BIA/Kelsey like the service's chances against Groupon, LivingSocial and the other fledgling deals service, Google Offers.
Facebook Deals, the social network's riff on Groupon's
local deals service, may have only launched as a test in five markets, but it's
bursting with potential.
Deals on Facebook
April 25, letting local businesses pitch deals to Facebook users
living in Atlanta. Austin, Texas, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco.
Facebook Deals come via e-mail and a Deals tab for
Facebook homepages, but they also surface in News Feeds to show users want their friends are buying. Like Groupon, LivingSocial,
Google Offers and others in the mix, Facebook lets businesses offer 50 percent
off or more off of goods and services.
While Groupon and LivingSocial have nailed the single
consumer segment for teeth whitening, Facebook is focusing on discounting
concerts, wine tastings and other socially-oriented events where the hook is
groups of people rather than individuals.
This distinction stood out to Peter Krasilovsky, vice
president and program director for marketplaces at BIA/Kelsey.
"The launch of a socially-driven deals site stands
in contrast to some of the newer deal sites, which play down the social
elements of deals, as massive e-mail lists and deal exchanges dwarf the role
that viral leads have played," Krasilovsky wrote in a blog post
April 26. "But
nobody else quite has the clout of Facebook for social."
It's hard to argue with the analyst on that score.
Facebook has more than 600 million users, some of whom spend 20 to 30 minutes
each day on the Website. If one envisions Deals as another feature to check
daily, such as the News Feed, friends' status updates or events tabs, the
service will be seen early and often by most users.
One of the things that helps Groupon excel is its bid to
target users' preferences. If Facebook can target its users with deals tailored
to their tastes, Groupon will have a hard time keeping up.
Another potential home run for Facebook: rumor has it
that Facebook isn't collecting commissions for its deals services. Rather,
Krasilovsky said Facebook is letting businesses advertise sponsored units. This
could certainly draw businesses tired of paying Groupon half of their cut from
Which leads to the other deals startup, Google Offers
, which soft launched in
Portland, New York City, Oakland/East Bay, Calif., and San Francisco.
Google's biggest challenge is that it doesn't have a
social network to leverage, no repository of users. Google Places, for example,
is loaded with millions of local businesses, but there's no big social tie to
keep users from treating it like a network instead of another search feature users
use and leave.