Facebook Local – Emily White #ILM10

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by andrewsho


Emily White, formerly of Google Local and now running Facebook Local, starting out with “it’s all about people”.

How far we come – My Facebook profile is my true identity v. my original AIM screen name 10 years ago.

If you’re not interacting online with your true identity, what are you trying to do? Probably up to something.

The web is changing from a web of information to a social web. We used to get info from an anonymous crowd. Today we get info from friends & family.

Facebook Places/Check-in’s add the where and not just the what into their profiles. This helps informs friends about what decisions to make.

Facebook Places is an attempt to help close the loop between online & real life. Businesses have been creating pages on Facebook for years. Places helps accelerate that.

Talking about crappy SMB websites and wasted investment.

If an ad on Facebook points to a FB page it converts much better than an ad that points to a static website (curious what she means by “convert” and how much better?).

Facebook Deals – the use case is you check-in to a Starbucks and you see a deal which you can claim. Gives users a reason to check-in and close the loop. Driving online to offline. Showing a number of big brands that are using the service (Gap – old logo! – McDonalds, REI, Macy’s, Chipotle, H&M, etc.). Her fave example is local movie theater – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – when moviegoers checked-in, they got a Facebook branded pint glass and a free movie ticket. Within a short time, over 1600 checkins at their 10 theaters – lots of new customers, repeat visits and viral spread of the brand.

Talking about Southwest Airlines donating $1 to charity for each check-in at terminal. (I almost did this the other day, but I got concerned about evil-doers figuring out my location for some reason).

Local websites are run by people and to date that hasn’t been the case of their websites.

We’re not that far away from opening a restaurant menu and seeing all social recommendations & info displayed (iPad menu).

We are not in the business of reaching out and helping get small businesses online – read “we are not disintermediating agencies and yellow pages publishers”.

We don’t publish how many businesses have built Facebook pages, but it’s millions and millions.

While we’ve certainly thought about monetization Places/Deals is all about perfecting the user experience.

Without ever jeopardizing the user’s privacy, you can aggregate user behavior data # check-ins, traffic, demographics, etc.) to derive business intelligence on your customers.

Matt Booth: is it true you had 100MM checkins in the first week? Emily White: No comment

Booth: One complaint I have about the experience, when I look for a business, I find multiple profiles or I can’t find the business at all. How are you going to clean this up?

White: UGC is hugely important to us but it causes noise. We have a team of engineers working on making this a cleaner experience.

People asking about resellers to help businesses do rep monitoring, etc. – Facebook hears it “once a week” about this. (Prediction: no time in the near future)

We’re doing some interesting stuff in Local in the mobile space.

Local should be a layer across all products – questions, newsfeeds, chat, messaging, etc.

FB Deals hits an existing user base for SMBs and through viral it does acquire some new users/customers. In down times, you want to reach out to a loyal customer place with a deal to get them to spend. Daily Deal players (Groupon, etc.) focus on new users, but the economics are harder.

BestBuy has embraced Facebook as a CRM platform. A Facebook newsfeed is better than an email newsletter.


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