Facebook has just announced the full release of Facebook Offers, a feature that allows brand pages to offer discounts and promotions to fans. Businesses will have to pay at least $5 to run Offers, but they will be free for users to claim them.
In order to run Facebook Offers, businesses must spend at least $5 on Facebook advertising to promote their offer to their target fans and their Facebook friends, turning the previously free feature into a new source of revenue for the site. Cost of advertising for Offers will vary based on the size of each page.
Facebook has been testing the feature with a select group of advertisers for the past few months, where local businesses could extend offers to their fans for free. When a fan claimed an offer, it would show up on their news feed, helping that business to potentially reach even more Facebook users and fans.
During the test period, only local merchants with physical locations had the ability to extend offers to their fans, but now the Offers feature is available to online-only businesses as well. Businesses that use Offers can also use barcodes so that customers can easily redeem their vouchers and businesses can better track them.
Fans who purchase Offers receive vouchers that they can redeem in stores for discounts or similar promotions. This service could be useful for small businesses looking to expand their reach on the social networking site, since it can increase visibility among friends of fans when users claim offers. But it can also be useful in turning those who like a page into actual loyal customers, instead of just fans.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried to offer this sort of option to pages. It just shut down Facebook Deals in August. But Facebook Offers is a bit different, as it allows businesses to target individuals, instead of aiming for large groups of customers similar to services like Groupon.