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Facebook expands Place Tips, adds free beacons


Menlo Park, Calif. – Facebook is expanding the availability of its Place Tips in-store mobile promotion service, and also expanding Place Tips’ reach with free Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. Facebook initially launched a trial of Place Tips in January 2015 and is now rolling it out nationwide.

Place Tips is designed to help businesses digitally connect with their customers while they are in-store. It curate information about a business, such posts from its Facebook page, upcoming events and friends’ recommendations and check-ins, and show it at the top of News Feed to in-store visitors. However, the service is not currently open to advertisers.

Since initial pilot rollout, Facebook has recommended proprietary Facebook beacons as the best tool for delivering Place Tips to customers. Facebook is now providing free beacons to more businesses in the U.S. The company is prioritizing beacons for businesses with active Facebook pages full of content, such as photos, check-ins and status updates, from both the business and its customers. Businesses can apply for free Facebook beacons on the Facebook site.

Each person’s Place Tips are unique. Place Tips for a retail store can help customers find business hours, locate popular items and learn about upcoming events. At a restaurant, Place Tips can show the menu, reviews and frequently mentioned information like a signature cocktail or popular table.

In addition, businesses can write a customizable welcome note that appears at the top of the Place Tips feed and use it to promote items or share facts. For example, a bookstore could use the welcome note to tell visitors where a book signing is happening in the store, or a deli may share menu items that famous people have ordered.

Place Tips are shown to customers who are in store and who have given Facebook permission to access their location on their phone, as well as to people who check in to the business on Facebook. Facebook says it only shows them when there is enough content from the business and a person’s friends to offer an “enjoyable experience.”

Essentially, Place Tips allows retailers to provide the same kind of information they provide on their own branded apps within the near-ubiquitous Facebook app for customers who have opted in. Purely speculating, it is easy to imagine Facebook eventually adding functionality for ordering and purchasing in the future, as well as dividing Place Tips into a “freemium” version supported by third-party ads and a more advanced paid version.

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