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The Fine Print on Facebook’s Free Beacons

iPhone_SocialMedia_82015_v1a Earlier this year, Facebook introduced a new feature called Place Tips and many businesses in New York including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dominique Ansel Bakery, and Brooklyn Bowl have been testing the feature since the announcement. Place Tips is an opt-in feature that shows Facebook users information about the place they are at, such as posts and photos their friends have shared about that place, posts from the place’s Page, upcoming events and popular menu items. A user’s location is determined using Wi-Fi, GPS, cell network and Facebook Bluetooth beacons where available.

In June, Facebook announced Place Tips would move out of testing phase and businesses can request free Facebook Bluetooth beacons. To experience Facebook’s Place Tips with beacons, users must opt-in, have location services enabled and have Bluetooth on to receive Place Tips from a business. And just like all other beacons, Facebook’s beacons do not collect any information from users or their phones and do not change location information.

Facebook knows more about its users than anyone else – researches at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University even developed a computer model that can judge someone’s personality more accurately than their own friends and family, using nothing but the person’s Facebook activity. So then, why is Facebook giving away free beacons if they already know so much about their users? It is so Facebook can capture data it never had before, but Google has – intention data, or in other words, indications of what people are shopping for. And as AdAge reports, this will give Facebook the ability to drive more sales for direct marketers.

Facebook’s free beacons do come at a price – Facebook will own all the data it receives through Place Tips. This means brands, retailers and other advertisers will only have access to the data by buying it back through targeting. In contrast, clients utilizing Mobiquity Networks beacon network own all the data and are given access to IDFAs which enable targeting and retargeting consumers. As importantly, clients of the Mobiquity Network control their own campaign content, and can deliver local campaign notifications, even when the mobile app is off or running in the background – all features that are not available via Facebook’s Place Tips. Contact us today to learn more about Mobiquity Networks leading national location-based mobile advertising and app engagement network.

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