Gini Dietrich

Facebook Gifts Launch and Mobile Gift-Giving Grows

By: Gini Dietrich | November 29, 2012 | 

With one billion birthdays listed on Facebook, the social network finally decided allowing you to send gifts through the social network was a good idea.

Woo hoo!

Sure, the company already has your email address, your family pictures, and your political beliefs.  Now they want you to store your credit card number and mailing address in there too. And, with all the hoopla going around about copyrights and whether or not you own your content and photos online, this could bother some of you.

But, for the sake of convenience, I like to think of it as Amazon on crack.

You see, when Patti Knight joined Arment Dietrich, one of her first tasks was to set calendar invites for the birthdays of my 14 nieces and nephews. And then I had her take it a step further – I asked her to set the alarm one week before said birthdays so I could get a gift out in time.

But now I can send gift cards (with is what all the older kids want anyway) the day of their birthdays, right to their Facebook account, and not have to worry about what a terrible aunt I am for sending it late (even though I have that reminder set up a week before).

Facebook Gifts

The service is aptly named Gifts and it’s only available in the United States right now.

Some of the merchants they have brought on board so far are iTunes, Dean & DeLuca, Magnolia Bakery (mmmmm….cupcakes), Hulu Plus, Gap, and more.

When a Facebook friend has a birthday, you are nudged to buy a gift (a gift box icon pops up). You are offered a menu to choose from: Beer glasses, cake pops, quilts, music, movies, TV streaming, subscriptions, donations to charity, the possibilities are endless. Then you choose a greeting card and input your credit card information. And, just like any other online shopping site, they store your information for you so you don’t have to reenter it every time you make a purchase.

How easy is that? Of course, you still face the “terrible aunt for being late with a gift” syndrome that I do if you send an actual gift on their birthdays. But if you’re sending something that can be delivered immediately and downloaded? Freaking brilliant!

Will it Work?

Commerce, of course, has eluded Facebook in the past.

More than a year ago, they allowed brands to open stores on the site and it failed miserably. But analysts expect this one to work, citing Apple that stores more than 400 million credit cards, PayPal with 117 million, and eBay with 108 million. Amazon has 180 million customers, but won’t say how many of those store their credit card information.

Not only is Facebook now playing in the very popular online shopping space, it is bringing commerce to mobile, which they so desperately need. Right now, the only way mobile makes money for them is through advertisements. But, according to the founder of Wrapp (a mobile gift-giving app), gift-giving on your phone is a much more “palatable way” to make money.

That, of course, will make the investors happy, which in turn will make you happy.

While other online shopping sites have your information, only Facebook knows who your friends are, what they like, and what they do. As this service grows, it certainly stands to reason someday Facebook will tell you exactly what your spouse wants for his or her birthday.

What do you think? Love it or hate it?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • belllindsay

    Only available in the States??? Grumble.

    • @belllindsay I KNOW! Which means I totally can’t use it right now. Now I know how the rest of the world feels when we get stuff first. TOTALLY frustrating!

    • @belllindsay Tom Petty is disappointed in you. Better move. 😉

      • belllindsay

        @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes ….to his STREET!!!! ;D

    • @belllindsay @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Is there a Tom Petty fan in the house?

      • belllindsay

        @barrettrossie  @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Just a bit. And by a bit I mean DID YOU SAY MARRIAGE PROPOSAL?????

  • Love it! And, for once, I think this is a brilliant move for Facebook. This is a revenue generator that makes sense because it fits nicely with how people already use the platform. I always thought giving virtual gifts was dumb, but this is something I might actually do!
    When is it getting rolled out? I’m not seeing it yet.

    • @lauraclick I’ve seen it the last two days. It pops up when you go to wish someone happy birthday by clicking on their name in the top right hand column of your feed. I’ll do a screen grab tomorrow, or sooner if I can find a way to do it.

      • @Sean McGinnis  @lauraclick It also shows up prominently on mobile devices, at least on Android. When you go to your news feed, I’ve noticed that two of my friends with birthdays are always at the top, with the gift giving icon

        • @KenMueller  @lauraclick Just tweeted a picture.

        • @Sean McGinnis  @KenMueller Um, Facebook must hate me! I’m not seeing it any of the places you guys mentioned. 🙁

        • @lauraclick  @KenMueller And here’s a screen grab of the functionality I was complaining about yesterday. They really need to implement some sort of categorization of the products IMHO.

    • @lauraclick You can practice on me. My birthday is in February.

      • @ginidietrich Duly noted! But, that’s a long time to wait!

        • @lauraclick OK…you can practice before then.

  • I’ve not tried it but seen a few folks who have, only to complain that it doesn’t work well. I think Sean McGinnis posted on Facebook about his frustrations.  But if it works, it’s a pretty cool idea.

    • @KenMueller Yes. My issue was related to usablity. When you click into the gift giving section, there is one HUGE list of potential products to buy. It’s a grid layout with a pic, a small description and price. It’s not “terrible”, just not optimal IMHO.
      I’d prefer to see some categorization of the products, personally to make things easier to find. I’m sure not scrolling through a list that long.
      Ideally, in some future iteration, FB would use the tendencies and traits of the gift recipient to narrow the list a bit.

      • belllindsay

        @Sean McGinnis  @KenMueller I’ll be expecting nice prezzies from both of  you come February. 😉

        • @belllindsay  @KenMueller Sure thing. I’ll have a presentation all nice and waiting for ya.

        • belllindsay

          @Sean McGinnis  @KenMueller Spoilsport.

        • @belllindsay  @KenMueller Although I find it a bit strange someone would want a powerpoint deck for their birthday.

        • belllindsay

          @Sean McGinnis  @KenMueller Just make sure it details how wonderful I am.

    • @KenMueller  I haven’t been able to use it because it’s only available in the States and I am not there! It’s super frustrating when you try to get to the things you’re accustomed to using only to see, “Now, now! This is only for Americans. Butt out!”

      • @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Exactly!!! Imagine how we feel all the time… Here’s a contest for everything you’ve ever wanted! Oh you can’t enter, Canuck.

  • heybethanyrae

    RT @SpinSucks: Facebook Gifts Launch and Mobile Gift-Giving Grows

  • I’d like to thank @Sean McGinnis for managing the comments here in my absence. I didn’t even have to ask!

    • @ginidietrich Are you feeling OK? That’s the second time you’ve been nice to me today. Spending too much time in those funny “coffee shops” today?

  • Sure, why not – they probably have our credit card information anyway!
    And I didn’t peg you for a gift card gifter, Gini.

    • @TonyBennett I’m normally not, but the teenagers don’t want you to buy them gifts. They want to buy their own stuff with your money. So I gave in.

  • Just further proof that firms avoiding mobile commerce will suffer in the long run. This is the way the world & business are going.  
    And gift cards…yes the older kids love them! My 14 year old LOVES to shop and pick out her own stuff – ya know Mom doesnt have a fashion clue is the current trend at our house! 🙂

    • @sydcon_mktg We were just talking about mobile in a meeting today. We don’t have a choice going into 2013. It’s where the world is going. Quickly.

      • @ginidietrich  @sydcon_mktg Mobile isn’t a technology, it’s a lifestyle.

  • Well I already gift through iTunes and Amazon, so why not in theory? My only hang up would be giving them my credit card info, and I have no real reason for that.

    • @RebeccaTodd I have no problem with that. Everyone else online has my info. Why not Facebook too?

      • @ginidietrich I know. It’s just Facebook feels so …dirty.

        • HowieG

          @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich that is very interesting Rebecca because if they didn’t behave badly as a company outwardly we would give our info to them. Apple btw didn’t care of their stuff was made by technically slave labor nor did they tell anyone they were tracking what they did on their phones. And it seems Google was allowing some 3rd party apps to not only collect off app data but also even the phone numbers we were dialing to improve advertising targeting. But since hoards of people didn’t freak like they do on facebook we don’t care.
          That said Facebook doesn’t know us very well. Our cell provider knows us. Google knows us. Apple. Our credit cards and banks know us. Our cable and internet provider knows us. facebook doesn’t. I might mention a TV show on Facebook…..but I don’t mention the other 30 I watched. Facebook has no idea what I buy what I search for (though they do now with that malicious tracking cookie on everyone’s browsers)

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich Food for thought as always Howie. You may be right, at least in part, about my “perception” of companies “goodness” influencing my buying behaviour. In the case of Apple, I remember being very please with the advent of iTunes that I could immediately purchase digital copies of songs without resorting to illegal downloads. Perhaps that was the expedient for me in that exchange.

  • Hey Gini Mobini!
    I think we need to stop giving power over our lives to Facebook.
    They have not earned that right just because a billion people don’t mind being kicked in the nuts time and again.
    Zuck must love being in the sheep-herders business.
    I don’t care how convenient it is, its not good for business, it’s not good entrepreneurs and its not good for the world.
    Any business driven by profits with no regard for its users is bad business. Period.

    • HowieG

      @Mark_Harai hey @jasonkonopinski not only are their Ginibots there also exist GiniMobinibots. Sounds like @ginidietrich has an army of replicants. Or are they more like

      • @HowieG  @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich LOL!

    • @Mark_Harai Ah…that doesn’t bother me so much. I’m totally cool with using a tool that makes my life more convenient. And, if they figure out the user experience of this, it will make my life A LOT easier.

  • Oh crap. Does this mean all my cousins and their kids will be expecting gift cards? I better get a raise.

    • @barrettrossie And I will be expecting one, too.

  • HowieG

    Funny that 99.9999% of my network I would never buy a gift for. But for the 2 sisters and my brother in law who I would, can they save me 15% of my gift card costs like Geico does on car insurance? if not I have no use for it.

    • HowieG

      Want to know who should do this? LinkedIn!

    • @HowieG When it became and exchange of gift cards in my family, we stopped. Now we all just bring food and booze and have fun!

      • HowieG

        @RebeccaTodd that is the way to go. Gift cards are pretty impersonal and I feel lazy anyway.

        • @HowieG  @RebeccaTodd Why don’t you guys get me a gift card for my birthday? Then I’ll send it back to you on yours.

    • @HowieG But you would buy me a gift using it. RIGHT??

  • Needs customizability. I’d actually use it if I could set a special list of friends and family for whom it would give me an extra, advance reminder to buy a gift, and somehow integrate their Amazon wish lists (or tell me if they’ve clicked any of those new “I want this” buttons that FacePinterest is testing). Presumably this will come with time, so mark me “maybe” for willingness to love it.
    As-is, though, I can’t see myself ever using it. Buying a present through Facebook ON someone’s birthday smacks of “I forgot your birthday until Facebook told me.”

    • @jelenawoehr I’m totally with you on the early reminder. THAT would be awesome.

  • josgovaart

    @G33K3 jij dank voor t komen!

  • ginidietrich

    @G33K3 Thanks for joining us last night!