It is widely believed that Facebook is going to announce on Wednesday a location-based service during its scheduled press conference.
If this is the case - speculators have guessed wrong about a Facebook location offering before - it will, of course, cause significant upheaval in this nascent but popular space now typified by Foursquare, Gowalla, Whrrl and others.
Let’s assume, though, that Facebook is indeed rolling out such an offering. Besides squashing the competition with its 500 million user base, it should also offer interesting new location-based ad opportunities to marketers.
Third Party Integration
For instance, it follows that Facebook will allow third-party applications to integrate with its location feature, much as third parties integrate other products such as quizzes or games with the platform. One could envision partnerships similar to what Foursquare has forged such as with Bravo Television.
A Big Stew
Facebook, though, can be expected to extend such offerings even further, supplementing it with existing services to create a big stew of location-based social content. Quizzes, social games, coupons, and even the chance to write product reviews a la Yelp, are all possibilities.
Facebook’s mobile users can expect to receive coupons and deals from restaurants and stores to which they happen to be close.
In short, says Jonathan Kopp, partner & global director, Ketchum Digital, “Facebook’s new location-based offering could empower consumers to cut out the middleman and make Facebook a one-stop shop.”
The New Online Store
It will also serve up a whole raft of new, valuable shopper behavior information for brands, he adds. Because Facebook’s location features add places to Open Graph - which already includes people and things - it’ll create a new opportunity for marketers to engage their customers - and those customers’ friends - on location, notes Kevin Barenblat, co-founder and CEO of Context Optional. “Depending on what features Facebook launches, a consumer may be able to like a particular store location, geo-tag their status update when they’re inside or check-in to receive special offers,” he says.