This week, Facebook conducted a user survey to determine usage and perception of its virtual currency Facebook Credits. Hosted on SurveyMonkey and linked to by in-house ads on the Facebook home page, the survey asks questions like “Why have you used/not used Facebook Credits?” The data will help Facebook focus its marketing and informational efforts, or determine if it could rebrand Credits as a payment option for physical goods as well.
According to Inside Facebook’s own Credits survey in October (full results in our Inside Facebook Gold premium service) roughly one third of users recognized Facebook as a payment option. Yet, only about 6% chose Facebook as their preferred method for buying game-specific currency compared to almost 40% who chose credit cards.
Facebook’s plan to get all developers on the Platform exclusively using Facebook Credits by July will only help the company if it can persuade more users that is the easiest and safest way to pay.
At the Digital Life Design conference in Munich Monday, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose responded to a question of whether users could eventually buy a consumer packaged good with Credits by saying, “we can create a lot of value by expanding it across different platforms.”
The 30% tax Facebook imposes on developers who accept Credits is tenable for the sale of digital goods that have no per unit cost to the developer, but might be too high to allow for the regular sale of most physical goods and services. However, if used as a promotional loss leader to hook users on a brand, Facebook Credits could be viable payment method outside of the digital realm.
The five question survey was hosted on SurveyMonkey (whose CEO Dave Goldberg is coicidentally married to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg) If many users answer question four — “Which of the following do Facebook Credits allow you to do?” with “D. Buy goods and services on the Internet”, Facebook will either have to work to sway this perception or allow Credits to be used outside the Facebook canvas and support the belief.
According to Guy Rom, a Facebook engineering manager who works on Credits, Facebook’s currency in Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. This means that Facebook has passed an audit to see if it adequately protects user data, and could enter the traditional payments industry alongside credit card companies.
The Credits team has been rapidly developing new ways to spend the virtual currency, but Facebook may learn that it needs to focus on educating users of the basics of Credits first.
The survey included the following questions:
- Have you ever heard of Facebook Credits? Yes, no, unsure
- Have you ever used Facebook Credits? Yes, no.
- How many times have you used Facebook Credits in the last month? 0, 1-4, 5-9, 10 times or more.
- Which of the following do Facebook Credits allow you to do?
- Why have you used/not used Facebook Credits? (free response)
A. Buy virtual goods within games and applications on Facebook
B. Purchase virtual giftsts to send to friends on Facebook
C. Buy items in the Facebook Marketplace
D. Buy goods and services on the Internet
E. None of the above