Facebook on Target

Discussion
Sep 02, 2010

By George Anderson

One of the reasons that a gazillion people are on Facebook is its cost – it’s free.

While free is always a big draw and a big reason behind the growth of a dizzying array of social games on the site, many Facebook users are spending real money on applications needed to play the games. Enter Facebook Credits gift cards and, starting this Sunday, the first store where consumers can buy them is at Target.

"Facebook Credits gift cards provide an easy and convenient option for Target guests to purchase virtual goods," Mark Schindele, Target Corp.’s senior vice president of merchandising, said in a press release.

The cards, which sell for $15, $25 and $50, are accepted by games including City of Wonder, FarmVille, Happy Aquarium and Mafia Wars. Facebook is helping to push the new venture by including a Target store finder on its Credits page (http://storelocator.gmgpulse.com/partner/facebook).

Discussion Questions: Do you expect there will be a big demand for Facebook Credits? Does being the first to offer the cards give Target an advantage that it can exploit?

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8 Comments on "Facebook on Target"


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Carol Spieckerman
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

I can see this as a great play for the holidays as a gift card; otherwise, it would seem to make sense just to have the credit point purchases reside online within individual accounts. The gift card angle has some novelty since game-junkies take a fair amount of ribbing from those who aren’t into social gaming.

The articles mention Target being the “first” to sell the cards but unless they remain the “only,” any advantages will be short lived.

Bill Robinson
Guest
Bill Robinson
10 years 8 months ago

This seems wrong headed to me. I think the Facebook thing is going to wear thin as it becomes commercial with ventures such as the Target gift card. But for now, I think Target does itself some good by positioning itself as a Facebook destination. For now, it makes Target a little hipper with the Facebook audience. Stay tuned.

David Biernbaum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Target will have a brief advantage being the first to do the gift cards with Facebook however if we ever get to a point where Facebook isn’t free it will not be the same.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Target has the advantage now because they were the “first” to sell Facebook cards. That will be quite short lived. In another week you will be able to buy them wherever cards are sold. No one entity controls this market.

Ben Sprecher
Guest
Ben Sprecher
10 years 8 months ago
It’s interesting to see the crossover between virtual goods and physical gift cards. There are some similar examples (Apple has done the same with iTunes gift cards), but I am not aware of any other companies that have exactly this formula: selling “credits” that can only be spent in a virtual community (be it a social network, a massively multi-player online role-playing game, etc.) in a physical retail location. That said, I’m not sure this move is that big a deal. Demand for Facebook credits will undoubtedly increase (I have to disagree strongly with an earlier comment that “the Facebook thing is going to wear thin”). But, because so many people already participate, and because they are most likely to think about giving Facebook credits while using Facebook, and because the people have, by and large, become very comfortable making virtual purchases online, I see the majority of Facebook credit purchases continuing to occur from within Facebook itself. Now, what *would* be a big deal is if Target used the purchases of Facebook credits as… Read more »
Bill Hanifin
Guest
10 years 8 months ago

Ben Sprecher is on to something. Initially I saw this alliance between Facebook and Target to be an opportunity for additional branding impression for Facebook in the offline world. In return for giving them shelf space, Target will draw some attention to its stores and create a temporary “wow” factor.

Mr. Sprecher’s suggestions that Target used the opportunity to create a cross promotional offer to consumers, driving traffic to Target’s Facebook page and somehow creating a bounce back into stores, is where the real potential lies.

Without knowing the extent of the exclusivity of this arrangement, I would suggest that Target capitalize on this opportunity as quickly as possible.

John Crossman
Guest
John Crossman
10 years 8 months ago

I like this idea for now. The market is hot and I still feel like Facebook is evolving in the right direction. I am still finding new ways to leverage Facebook and I am glad Target is too.

Gary Edwards, PhD
Guest
Gary Edwards, PhD
10 years 8 months ago

Agreed–it’s an interesting strategy. Currently you can earn credits by playing but there is also an option to buy credits that will help advance players in the game more quickly. Making gift cards available at Target is only making it easier for gamers to access and enjoy game credits. Think of all the holiday wish lists that the “Facebook Game Credit” gift cards will appear on.

I agree with Ben’s example, that this can easily be compared to what Apple did with the iPod and iTunes–and it worked. As long as Facebook remains the largest social network, credits will be adopted by game users. It becomes Facebook’s currency to be used in all games, that over half of Facebook users play every month, who serve to create a community of loyal Facebook gamers.

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