ISA 2011: Facebook Announces Buy With Friends and Frictionless Micropayments

Today at our Inside Social Apps InFocus 2011 conference, Deb Liu of Facebook Commerce Product Marketing announced that the company would soon roll out two new ways to use its virtual currency Facebook Credits — Buy With Friends and Frictionless Credits Micropayments.

Buy With Friends will allow users to share that they’ve made an in-app purchase to their stream. Friends can then make the same purchase using Credits, sometimes at a discount, in-line from the news feed. Developers will be able to set the discount level and which items trigger the sharing feature.

Over the last few months, it has been testing these systems with the aim of making spending virtual currency a social, seamless part of the Facebook experience.

For instance, if a user bought monster food for a certain number of Credits, their friends who play the game would be given the option to buy the same monster food at 40% off. When prompted to Buy With Friends, 50% of users chose to share the news of their in-app purchase with friends.

The Frictionless Credits micro-payments system will allow users to make purchases of up to 20 or 30 Credits without having to go through an approval and success step. This allows them to spend currency without interrupting the game. Without the approval or success step, spending Credits is much faster and less distracting, and users are more likely to convert.

Frictionless micropayments will be especially helpful when users are just a few Credits short of making a larger purchase, and might decide not to buy if they had to stop the game action to go through the traditional Credits purchase flow.

Liu says these new features will continue being tested over the next few weeks. Frictionless micropayments is already live in OMGPOP’s Draw My Thing.