Facebook Places, Deals & The Gap’s Free Jean Promo

Posted by Performics in conjunction with Moxie Interactive

Facebook Places: Overview

Facebook Places launched in August 2010, allowing Facebook users to share their current location with their friends.  Facebook Places allows users to see if any of their friends are checked-in nearby, allowing them to easily connect with friends.  Additionally, when users check-in at a location, they can tag their friends in their updates as well. 

Brands are able to establish a “Places Page” which shows a map of their store location, general store info and an activity stream, which lists users who are currently checked in or who have visited the Place in the past.  In addition to the user that checks in, Places allows brands to reach new and existing customers, as it promotes the brand to the rest of the users’ Facebook network. 

Facebook has also begun slowly rolling out a Parent-Child functionality, which will allow for brands with multiple retail locations to establish a consistent and uniform presence across all their Facebook Places locations.  It also allows brands to associate the multiple retail locations with the existing brand Fan Page. 

Furthermore, Facebook has implemented “Deals” on Places.  Facebook Deals enable brands to attract customers and reward them for checking in.  Facebook currently offers four types of deals: individual, loyalty, friend/groupon and charity.

  • Individual: A Facebook user checks-in and that user receives a deal 
  • Loyalty: The more times a Facebook user checks-in to a location, the greater the deal they receive
  • Friend/Groupon: A group of Facebook users check-in to a location together and the group of users all receive the group deal
  • Charity: A Facebook user checks-in to a location and the location makes a donation to a charity

Gap Case Study: Overview

On November 5th, Gap partnered with Facebook Places to reward customers with free jeans for checking in to the 1,000+ Gap retail locations.  While more than 28,000 users signed up to attend the event on Gap’s Facebook Page, Gap was only offering 10,000 free jeans.  Lines quickly formed early that Friday morning, with free jeans out of stock almost as quickly as the doors opened—the majority of stores only offered 10 pairs of jeans.   

Customers certainly noticed the limited inventory and some of that frustration was evident on Gap’s Facebook Page, which was dotted with negative comments.  Many customers were disappointed since they anticipated free jeans and were denied.  People seemed to have issues with the overall execution of the promotion—i.e. people didn’t know how to check-in, stores had limited inventory and employees were untrained/unaware.  However, Gap combated the frustrations by offering 40% off to customers who were unable to receive free jeans. 

Gap Case Study: Online Buzz

When looking at overall conversations [Gap AND Facebook Places] online between 10/23 and 11/23, there were a total of 730 total mentions, with huge spikes pre and post campaign.  The sentiment skewed highly positive with a 9 to 1 ratio.

 Source: ScoutLabs, 10/23/10 – 11/23/10, Query: Gap AND Facebook Places

Gap Case Study: POV

Overall, most media and industry people alike considered the campaign to be a success.  It was a “first in market” type execution, positioning Gap as cutting edge.  Gap was able to generate a huge amount of buzz and press as a result of the announcement by Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook press conference, with next to no advertising or promotion investment (no ads in-store, no mention on Gap.com, no Facebook ad buy).   All stores ran out of their free jeans allotment and more importantly a mid-level clothing retailer generated lines stretching out the door and around the corner in the early hours of the morning—akin to something one typically sees for major tech product release.  Gap even got everyone to forget about their logo. 

However, the downside was that the experience was uncoordinated (nobody knew how to check-in), bumbled (employees weren’t aware) and unfulfilling (since most didn’t get free jeans).  Furthermore, the campaign was expensive:  10,000 pairs of jeans at $60 per pair = $600,000 + numerous 40% discounts.  The total cost was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million, with buzz and PR not tied directly to ROI. 

In the end the results were mixed, but if Gap had the chance, they would most likely do it again.

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