An update to Facebook's Place Tips feature now offers free beacons to retailers and businesses that use its service.
Place Tips initially rolled out back in January, arriving as a way for businesses to push marketing messages to consumers who visited their physical locations. More specifically, users who check in at a given location or have their location settings enabled on their mobile device will receive advice, recommendations and other marketing content via Place Tips.
If a user opens the Facebook mobile app while walking around in a real-world store, for instance, they will see user posts and photos about the retailer or business in question, or other such information. Place Tips information appears at the top of the News Feed on Facebook. The feature initially rolled out to a few NYC businesses for testing purposes, and now Facebook is ready to expand it to all businesses across the U.S. Facebook already gave free beacons to its test partners, and now any business can request a free beacon for each of their real-world locations.
"Facebook Bluetooth® beacons are free for you to use and help people see more information about your business whenever they use Facebook during their visit," the company explains.
Place Tips information users receive on their News Feeds may include a welcome note accompanied by a relevant photo, a suggestion to like the business's Facebook page and check in at their physical location, posts from the business's Facebook page, as well as their friends' recommendations regarding that place.
"Each person's Place Tips are unique. At a restaurant, Place Tips can show the menu, reviews and frequently mentioned information about the establishment, like a signature cocktail or popular table. Place Tips for a retail store can help customers find business hours, locate popular items and learn about upcoming events," Facebook further details.
These Facebook beacons rely on Bluetooth technology to send a one-way signal to the Facebook mobile app installed on visitors' phones. To ensure privacy and security, Facebook notes that its beacons don't collect any information from visitors or their phones, nor do they change the type of location information Facebook gets. The beacons will not disrupt Wi-Fi or other equipment operation either.
Consumers, meanwhile, will have to enable location services on their phone and turn on Bluetooth in order to receive Place Tips from beacons at various businesses.