Facebook Ties Offers With Ads

Product updated to allow brands to append barcodes

When Rosetta Stone bundled a recent Facebook Offers campaign with an ad buy on the social network, the language-learning company saw a better return than its paid search campaign on Google. The next time Rosetta Stone runs an Offers campaign, they won’t have any choice but to pair it with an ad buy. Facebook has now expanded Offers globally to any brand with at least 400 fans but with the requirement that brands create an ad as well to ensure users see the deals in their news feeds.

Robin Grant, global managing director of social media agency We Are Social, said in an email that the ad requirement “is not a great surprise” but also not a dealbreaker because Facebook’s “just asking for a nominal amount to be spent on ads.” That paid threshold could be enough to ensure that the new flood of brands with access to Offers think twice before spamming users with low-quality deals.

The ad requirement isn’t the only update to Offers. Brands can now append Offers with bar codes or other unique codes. Previously users had to present an email containing an Offer to redeem it at a physical location, but Facebook said the bar code addition means e-commerce sites can now run Offers. It also means merchants have an easier way to track performance since they now have something to scan.

“The introduction of unique codes finally makes Facebook's Offers a mature and usable product for retailers wanting to drive volume sales and CPG brands wanting to drive trial,” Grant said. Whether adding unique codes means a second wind for QR codes remains to be seen.