Facebook Offers Are A Viral Hit: Friend-To-Friend Sharing Drives 3/4s Of Popular Coupon Redemptions

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David Fischer, Facebook’s vice president of marketing and business partnerships, just offered a new statistic on the Facebook Offers program: He said that among the 100 most popular offers on the social network, three-fourths of the claims came not from the people who had been initially targeted with an offer, but instead from someone they had shared it with.

In other words, Offers seems to be a genuinely social product, with redemptions driven by sharing — as opposed to just another deal that happens to be delivered on Facebook. It helps Facebook argue that Offers ad campaigns will get free viral exposure to a much broader audience than the initial target they paid for because they’ll spread by word-of-mouth. It also provides another reason why running ad campaigns to build a Facebook fan base is a good investment, because businesses can share Offers with their fans, and then those offers will spread among the fans’ friends.

Fischer was speaking at DMA2012, the Direct Marketing Association’s conference in Las Vegas, and he made a bigger pitch to those marketers about why they should work with Facebook. For one thing, he noted the massive reach that Facebook provides, repeating stats that the company has shared in the past, like the fact that it now has 1 billion active users and that it sees 2.5 billion pieces of content, 2.7 billion Like actions, and 300 million photos shared every day.

Fischer also highlighted some relatively recent Facebook products (i.e., launched in the past few months), which he divided into three buckets. There are products that provide better targeting — there’s the Facebook Exchange, which allows advertisers to deliver retargeted ads within Facebook, as well as Facebook Custom Audiences, where businesses can target audiences based on hashed lists of email addresses, phone numbers, or user IDs that the business provides.

On the targeting front, I actually just got off the phone with Rob Leathern, CEO of Optim.al, a social ad company that offers ad services around both Facebook Exchange and Custom Audiences. Leathern said that thanks to both of those products, it has become more broadly appealing to build a Facebook fan base through advertising. Without these tools, a financial services company, for example, might try to build a fan base, but Leathern said “it wouldn’t excite them that much,” because the value wasn’t totally clear. Now, however, businesses know they’re not just reaching random fans who may just like the logo or the messaging, but to actual customers and people who have a preexisting relationship with the company.

Going back to what Fischer was saying: He also argued that Facebook can provide better conversion, because Facebook Offers can help marketers, even small ones, reach a big audience. (That’s where Offers sharing statistic that I mentioned above came in.) Lastly, Fischer said Facebook can provide better discovery, through the Facebook Collections product, where retailers can add “want” and “collect” buttons to their posts, allowing users to save and share and products in a layout that’s reminiscent of Pinterest.

Fischer concluded by saying that he isn’t just trying to sell direct marketers on Facebook’s existing products, but also hoping to “spark some new ideas.”

“If you think about the success of this industry, it’s based in large part on the fact that there’s constant reinvention,” he said.