Facebook tries new ways to encourage users to buy Gifts for friends

Facebook is testing a new way to encourage users to buy gifts for their friends by including a call to action within the comments section of a post.

SocialFresh CEO Jason Keath shared the example below, blurred for privacy, which says “Surprise Ty with a gift.” This is a different take on the “give a gift” button that some users had been seeing in their News Feed next to posts where their friends had shared good news. Now, instead of appearing consistently, the prompt only appears after a user has Liked the post or commented on it.

Another recently added feature is the Give Gift button in the hovercard that appears when users mouse over a friend’s name.

Last month, Facebook redesigned how users buy Gifts from their friends’ Timelines. Instead of making Gifts part of the publisher to write on someone’s Timeline, it is a separate button in between “message” and “call” on the user’s cover photo.

On a person’s birthday, the Gift prompt is even more prominent with a module on the left hand side under the user’s profile picture.

In the new Facebook News Feed, “Give Gift” buttons accompany stories about friends posting birthday greetings on a friend’s wall.

Facebook is still trying to find the right user experience for Gifts, which so far hasn’t taken off among users. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Gifts and user Promoted Posts jointly generated $5 million in revenue. Facebook said Gifts were responsible for a smaller portion of that total. In its latest earnings report for the first quarter of 2013, the company did not provide any numbers on how much revenue Gifts or other non-game payments generated.

Gifts is still for the most part limited to the U.S., though since the start of April, international users have been able buy gifts for their friends in the U.S.

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