Today Context Optional released its first version of a customized Places application as part of its Social Marketing Suite subscription. Pages administrators can use the app to install a The Facebook Places Check-In Leaderboard as a tab called “Check-Ins”.
The Leaderboard allows brands to recognize which Facebook users are checking into their retail stores or restaurants, name users a “Top Fan” and consequently award them Facebook-specific promotions and offers.
Facebook users can ascend to the rewarded top spot by frequently checking in. Using the Leaderboard brands can create different categories for different types of customers and reward them with deals. For example, brands may create a “High Roller” or “Shop-A-Holic” category and award different coupons to each group.
Context Optional was one of the first Facebook Page management companies, and now offers a suite of social media marketing tools. We’ve written previously about its self-described “aggressive” Facebook development roadmap, where this Places integration seems to fit. Places launched only last month, but as we pointed out, there is lots of room for improvement both on Facebook’s platform and for developers even given the most recent updates.
Facebook left out several standard features of existing location services such as badges and a mayor-esque system, preferring to make Places purely functional and allow third parties to develop these features for the niches that want them. We’re now seeing these absent functionalities and their proven user bases snatched up by companies swift enough to get a Places integration together. Other examples: Zenbe Blacktop allows enhanced checkin sharing and PlacePop made a Places power user dashboard.
The question remains whether users and businesses accustomed to Foursquare and other existing location services will migrate to third-party Places apps for more social versions of the same features they already use.