A Running Summary of Facebook’s Virtual Currency Tests

Facebook has been conducting a variety of virtual currency-related tests over the last few months – so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all. So we’ve pulled them all together into one list so you can easily find the details you’re looking for. Check out the comprehensive list below:

1. Facebook Exchanges Dollars for Credits

Late last year, Facebook first kicked off its virtual currency in the Facebook Gift Store by changing the units on prices of virtual gifts from US dollars to Facebook Credits. While Facebook initially pegged credits at USD $0.01, the company has since adjusted the exchange rate to USD $0.10 per credit.

2. Facebook Payments Merchant Program

In June, Facebook started rolling out its “Pay with Facebook” payments service for application developers, which allows developers to accept Facebook Credits as a form of payment for virtual (or physical) goods inside their applications. So far, only a few applications are live with the test, which is still in its early phases.

3. Virtual Currency Gifting in the Feed

While historically Facebook credits have only been used to purchase virtual goods from Facebook or application developers, in April Facebook began experimenting with a way for users to give credits to each other in the context of content they have shared. For example, if your friend posts a link that you like, you can either leave a comment, “like” it, or (now) give them virtual currency in response.

4. Virtual Currency Gifting with Branded Virtual Gifts

One month later, Facebook expanded its virtual currency gifting program to branded virtual gifts. In this test, branded virtual gifts are bundled with Facebook Credits, so that when users give the gift to their friend, a “+10 provided by Facebook Gifts” message appears next to the gift as well. The credit bundling text was expanded to gifts in home page engagement ads a couple of weeks later.

5. International Currency Expansion

Facebook recently enabled users to purchase Facebook Credits in 14 different world currencies. Now, Chilean users who want to buy Facebook Gifts can pay $541 Chilean pesos instead of $1 US dollar. Facebook isn’t adjusting the prices of virtual gifts for international currencies.

6. Developers in the Gift Shop

While the Facebook gift shop has traditionally only sold virtual gifts from Facebook, now developers are being added to the mix. In the case of virtual gifts, the price will usually be 10 Facebook Credits or USD $1, the same price as most virtual gifts created by Facebook. However, physical gifts – for instance, say a dozen roses – might cost up to 500 Facebook Credits, or USD $50.

7. Mobile Payments for Facebook Credits

Just recently, Facebook began testing an alternative payment method for purchasing Facebook credits for the first time with mobile payments provider Zong. Now, users can bill Facebook Credits to their cell phone bill – but credits cost twice as much when purchased via mobile than when purchased via credit card.