‘Offers’ on Facebook exclusive to premium advertisers for now, will be free for all pages later this year

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

After months of beta testing and an official announcement last month, Facebook still hasn’t made its offers product available to pages unless they are major advertisers.

Offers are a new free story type that allows page owners to post coupons that users can collect from News Feed or ad units. Currently, pages do not have access to the feature unless they are working with the social network as a premium advertiser. The company likely wants to discover and resolve any issues with the creation and redemption of offers before pushing the feature live to all pages, but some page owners interpret the delay as another example of Facebook favoring large brands over small businesses.

Facebook tells us offers will, in fact, be available to pages of all sizes soon.

“We are slowly rolling offers out over the course of the coming weeks, but eventually, any business with a page will be able to run an offer,” a company spokesperson says.

Judging from past Facebook statements, “coming weeks” could mean several months from now, so businesses should not count on running offer campaigns in the next quarter unless they work directly with a Facebook account manager.

Perhaps the social network is taking its time to release offers to avoid the fate of its other deals services. The company launched check-in deals in November 2010, but these never quite took off among merchants. Finding the dashboard to create them was difficult, Facebook had to approve each deal and there were few ways for users to discover deals. A spokesperson told us in February that Facebook would discontinue check-in deals in favor of the new offers functionality. The social network also tried offering prepaid deals à la Groupon, but it scrapped the idea after a few months.

The new offers have a lot of potential since they begin as page posts. Page owners will be able to create them with little trouble and they’ll get distribution among a page’s existing fan base. Claiming offers is simple — one click sends a coupon to a user’s email account — and results in prominent News Feed stories that increase awareness of the promotion. Businesses can also buy Sponsored Stories to support the offer.

How to create an offer

Facebook could tweak the design and functionality of offers when it releases the feature widely, but here is the anticipated flow for creating an offer based on the site’s help center.

The page publisher (seen below) will get a new “Offer” icon: 

Clicking the icon will bring up a dialog to describe the offer in 100 characters and set an expiry date.

Then, page owners can upload a small photo for the offer and describe the terms and conditions. After that, the offer can be published to the page.