Facebook Ads, ‘Beacon’ and Local

Facebook introduced its much-anticipated Ads program yesterday. I did a brief write-up (from 3k miles away) at SEL. While I think it’s clever, I’m critical of the program because Facebook in my view is turning into a spam generator. Most of the stuff that I’m getting (from my network) is just noise. And the bigger your network the noisier it is.

But one aspect of the “Beacon” dimension of Facebook Ads is very interesting to me. I’ll illustrate with Yelp, one of the partners (and not the only local-oriented partner). The Beacon program is designed to send your actions/endorsements from third party sites back to your Facebook newsfeeds and profile. It extends Facebook’s reach into the broader Internet and allows the partners to reach the Facebook audience, tapping its much-celebrated viral marketing capabilities.

Make sense?

Here’s how the Beacon works in the context of Yelp (as a stand-in for other local sites):

  1. I have to be signed in to Facebook first
  2. I write a review on Yelp
  3. At the lower right of the screen when I post the review I see this:


If I do nothing it goes to my Facebook profile/newsfeeds. If I opt out it doesn’t appear.

Here’s what appears at the top of your Facebook profile:


Once again I have the option to opt out and eliminate the appearance of these reviews. If I do nothing, however, they’ll go to my newsfeeds and presumably everyone in my network will see that I reviewed these businesses on Yelp.

It’s smart for Yelp to do this and it’s a boon to the local businesses that may get viral exposure on Facebook: It syndicates Yelps reviews with the added layer of “trust” that I provide to my network. Of course for those people outside my immediate geographic area it doesn’t mean much (not sure if Facebook controls or filters for geography in this case).

This is the general idea: I become a trusted recommender or endorser of brands/businesses/products. In the case of Coca-Cola it doesn’t work so well because people already know Coke and have their own impressions/ideas of the company. But in a local business context it works very well indeed.

Superpages has a Facebook application and it probably makes sense for the site to participate in this program as well for the same reasons that Yelp is.


Here’s the Facebook blog on the various aspects of the Facebook Ads program.


4 Responses to “Facebook Ads, ‘Beacon’ and Local”

  1. Dan Entin Says:

    Greg –

    Good job breaking down the specifics of Beacon, I haven’t seen this done elsewhere yet by Facebook or anyone covering the story.

    The other piece that impacts local is the concept of Facebook Pages. Local businesses, including restaurants, can now create Facebook Pages as a way to interact with Facebook members. Zagat and others have simultaneously launched applications for Facebook Pages intended for use by these businesses. For more see here:


  2. Using Facebook to Advertise Your Local Business « ShowMeLocal.com Says:

    […] If you want to read some more about it, you can see what Sebastien Provencher from Praized Blog had to say at Facebook Pages: Facebook Pages: The Return of the One-Page Microsites. and at Greg Sterling’s post Facebook Ads, ‘Beacon’ and Local. […]

  3. Yelp Adds Sharing on Facebook and Twitter « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Yelp Adds Sharing on Facebook and Twitter By Greg Sterling Yelp is adding a capability that allows users to easily and automatically share their reviews on Facebook and Twitter. How far we’ve come since Facebook’s Beacon caused such an uproar for doing essentially the same thing. […]

  4. Strange Tributes Says:

    ohhh, scandelous. He apoligized, right?

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