Clarity is the last thing Facebook offered when they initiated Deals on Facebook (known by many as Facebook Deals) and Facebook Check-in Deals. They are two different things, built on two different models. The first (Facebook Deals) was Facebook’s version of Groupon, and it was being tested in select markets. Facebook Check-in Deals mimics Foursquare, and went national almost right away. Check out my guide if you are interested in the Check-In Deals. Very recently, Facebook has quietly announced the end Facebook Deals or Deals on Facebook as the program wasn’t successful in the cities they tested it out in. But Check-In deals will continue, and although it isn’t particularly potent, it does no harm and you don’t pay Facebook.
Let’s go over what happened when Facebook got into the small business promotion world. In a poor marketing move, Facebook announced them at the same time, playing catch up to Foursquare and Groupon. As you may expect, the confusion was bad enough amongst the media; restaurant owners didn’t have a chance. Even I, in past articles, used them interchangeably. Besides, Facebook Deals (the Groupon-like one) never went national.
It’s for the best. Facebook is closer to Foursquare than Groupon, and their business model is built on advertising. A dive in online discounting doesn’t produce results overnight. It involves a sales staff and building a membership. Facebook went with the assumption that Facebook users would just migrate over to Facebook Deals. Nothing of the sort happened. So I wouldn’t chalk it up to a success of Groupon, but a failure by Facebook to understand the marketing and business realities.
But Facebook is also pulling up the stakes to Facebook Places. If Facebook Check-In Deals is to survive, it will probably be incorporated in some larger plan that has not been introduced. Although the Check-In promotion part has fallen way behind the Foursquare equivalent, restaurants should see Facebook Check-Ins as optional. People just don’t use it enough to make the updates make their friend’s news feed. Still, restaurant owners need to know what is still around and what has left, and to not believe the hype.