5 Great Uses of Facebook Credits
posted on 9th Mar 2011
Facebook Credits is the virtual currency that’s been available on the social network since the beginning of 2010. It’s been mostly used to purchase virtual goods and for in-game activities – up until now.
It’s actually a little unfair to call it a virtual currency, it’s becoming more and more real each day. Back in September I posted about how big Facebook Credits could become – sort of global currency. A payment method accepted not only on Facebook, but also off Facebook in real world situations made possible via smart-phones. Six months later and we are beginning to see it move from games, to early adopters and later this year the use of Facebook Credits (or certainly awareness of the currency) will reach the mainstream. It may be a little obvious, but 2011 will be the real tipping point for Credits. Facebook has decided Credits will be the only accepted in game currency from this summer, however its going to be cleaver uses of Credits in marketing and promotions that will help the currency receive mainstream acceptance.
With this in mind I thought I would pull together some interesting examples of how Facebook Credits have been used and some examples of how they will be used in the not too distant future.
Mytown is a location based game similar in ways to Foursquare or Facebook Places. Last summer the service began to reward players for checking into real-world locations and completing sets of virtual lists. This is one of the first uses I could find of Credits being used outside of a Facebook game, where real world actions were rewarded by Credits. A similar service could easily be facilitated on Facebook using their Facebook Deals application which can reward one off purchases, group purchases and repeat visits. Note how Deals rewards loyalty and transactions rather than just visits.
This is an iPhone app which mixes real world shopping with rewards in the USA. By visiting shopping malls or large stores such as Best Buy and American Eagle users can earn 70 ‘Kickbucks’ (25 kickbucks = 1 Facebook Credit), further Kickbucks can be earned by visiting specific departments within stores, or by scanning the bar codes of certain products. This is a way to push up the numbers of people passing through a store, or interacting with a product in-store. While this may sound good in theory, it also sounds a little gimmicky. I mean why reward people for visiting a store, but not reward the person who just spend 100 euros on an item? However, such a promotion may work in certain circumstances where a new store opens and as a means to build awareness in the community.
Ifeelgoods is a marketing service that rewards fans with Facebook Credits for carrying out a desired action. The activities the service can reward include;
1. A fan who posts a specific message to Twitter or Facebook.
The ‘advertiser’, who is the subject and creator of the message, can also define how many credits to reward the fan for posting a message. This case study shows how fans were rewarded with 5 Credits for re-tweeting or following the Dallas Mavericks on Twitter.
2. A fan who makes a purchase online.
This case study from Shoebuy.com shows how online customers were rewarded with 50 Credits simply for making a purchase on the website.
It’s these examples of rewarding fans with Credits that will become more prominent. However it’s all about value – to the fan who can exchange Credits for something they want, not just for games, and to the business who should be getting something they value in return for rewarding the fan. Shoebuy.com could have gone further here and accepted Facebook Credits as part payment on items. Why not accept them in a Facebook shop? Using Credits to reward customers would make a obvious way to launch a Facebook shop.
4. Warner Bros
Just yesterday (March 8th) Warner Brothers have announced The Dark Knight would be available to stream on Facebook at a cost of $3. It’s only available to those in the USA from The Dark Knight Facebook page. It’s not exactly the Beatles albums being released on CD and Yahoo says the quality is poor, however it’s just an initial test on the part of Warner’s, with more films to be added in the coming months. Once the payment of 30 credits has been made the film will be available to stream on a Facebook tab for 48 hours. This is a fairly big step and as Yahoo point out the technology needs a bit of work. However, with Facebook getting a 30% cut of all Credits payments, distributing content via Facebook could position the social network as a rival to iTunes.
5. X-Factor & American Idol
Is it any surprise that the X-Factor, its US equivalent, and American Idol will make use of the huge fan numbers they have on Facebook to generate a new revenue stream? In the next season of the shows, fans will be able to vote via Facebook for the act they want to keep, paying via Facebook Credits for the service. The X Factor UK page is heading for 2.5 Million fans, (at the time of writing the X Factor USA has just over 20K, but it hasn’t even started on TV yet) and the American Idol page is a just over one hundred thousand short of 5 million fans. That’s a lot of votes, but more importantly these are massive TV shows which will bring Facebook Credits into the mainstream which is what they need to move beyond the realm of social gamers.
Have I left out any other examples of Facebook Credits?