Commerce and payments platform Marqeta today announced that it is the company providing the technology behind the Facebook Card, a gift card that can hold balances for a number of retailers or restaurants simultaneously.
Marqeta had agreed with Facebook not to disclose this until now. The announcement came as part of news about Marqeta’s latest round of funding: a $14 million Series B from Greylock IL, Granite Ventures, Commerce Ventures and a number of new angel and strategic investors.
The company’s +M Platform connects online and offline commerce through prepaid loyalty programs, similar to the Starbucks Card. It also allows prepaid amounts from multiple merchants, which is what Facebook is taking advantage of for its card. Facebook Card is a resusable gift card that can be loaded with balances for different businesses when a user’s friends buy them gifts through the social network.
Facebook is testing a new way to encourage users to buy gifts for their friends by including a call to action within the comments section of a post.
SocialFresh CEO Jason Keath shared the example below, blurred for privacy, which says “Surprise Ty with a gift.” This is a different take on the “give a gift” button that some users had been seeing in their News Feed next to posts where their friends had shared good news. Now, instead of appearing consistently, the prompt only appears after a user has Liked the post or commented on it.
Another recently added feature is the Give Gift button in the hovercard that appears when users mouse over a friend’s name.
Facebook has started to expand its Gifts product beyond the U.S., according to users in the U.K., India and Canada who say they got access to the service this weekend. However, it seems that international users can only send gifts to their friends who live in the U.S.
Facebook launched Gifts in September 2012 as a way for users to buy physical and digital gifts for their friends via desktop or mobile. The product rolled out to all U.S. users by mid-December, but hadn’t been available in other countries until now.
[Update 4/8/13 6:03 p.m. PT - Facebook confirms to us that it launched "an update to Gifts that allows people using Facebook in English outside of the U.S. to send Gifts to friends living in the U.S."]
U.K. reader Matt Navarra sent us this screenshot of his Facebook homepage on Saturday. Inside Network contributer Pete Davison says he saw a similar prompt about Gifts today.
Zuckerberg participates in Code.org video – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey and other popular tech figures, appeared in a short film by Code.org to promote computer science education. The video, called ”What Most Schools Don’t Teach,” discusses the gap between the number of available programming jobs and the number of qualified graduates to do them. ”Our policy (at Facebook) is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find,” Zuckerberg says. “The whole limit in the system is that there aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.” The video aims to raise awareness of the issue and make coding seem more approachable for students.
Facebook declares support for same-sex marriage – Facebook joined a coalition of about 300 companies including Amazon, Apple and Google, in submitting briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting same-sex marriage this week. The briefs explain how the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages and create undue burdens on companies and employees. The document argues ”recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry is more than a constitutional issue. It is a business imperative.”
Facebook runs sale on Facebook Gifts - Facebook continues to promote its Gifts business with new features and deals. This week some users saw offers to get $4 off a gift of $5 or more. This enabled users to send users to, for example, send a $5 Starbucks gift card for only $1. Facebook previously ran $1 gift promotions before Valentine’s Day. Image via CNET.
Some Facebook users are now seeing “give a gift” buttons on individual posts in their News Feed. The social network seems to recognize that users are sharing good news that friends might want to congratulate them for.
We’ve seen two examples of posts where users talked about getting a new job and another where a user announced, “It’s a boy!”
Previously, Facebook has suggested users give gifts to friends with upcoming birthdays or who recently announced their engagement, but those are structured life events that users share by setting their birthdate or changing their relationship status. These new prompts seem to involve natural language processing.
Facebook users who have bought an item through Facebook Gifts are seeing a new dashboard with their purchase history and prompts to buy more gifts for friends.
The dashboard only appears to be available to users who have sent gifts already. Users who have not are directed to an introduction page with a video and more information about Facebook Gifts.
The dashboard page displays upcoming birthdays and friends with recent special events, such as engagements, weddings or births. Users will also see a row of friends, which changes every time they visit the page. Clicking one of these thumbnails opens up the Gifts storefront. Facebook also offers users the option to look through its catalogue without first indicating who they are shopping for by clicking “Browse Gifts” or “Give a Gift.”
Facebook is promoting its Gifts product at the top of News Feed today, encouraging users to buy their friends or significant other a real gift through its service. The social network also tested a number of $1 gifts for users to send as Valentines.
Users who are listed in a relationship are seeing messages that mention their partner by name. Some users have gotten prompts for specific friends or potential crushes. Others are seeing general notes about sending gifts to friends. These are similar to the promotions Facebook did during the holiday season a few months ago.
Facebook today announced the Facebook Card, a resusable gift card that can be loaded with balances for different retailers when a user’s friends buy them gifts through Facebook.
The social network has added a number of new partners to its Gifts platform, including Target, Jamba Juice, Olive Garden and Sephora, who will offer gift cards to be purchased on Facebook. But instead of sending individual gift cards for each restaurant or retailer, or sending multiple gift cards for the same business, Facebook will send users one card that can maintain balances for several outlets.
For example, someone might receive a $50 gift card to Target. They’ll receive a Facebook Card in the mail. When another friend gifts them $10 to Jamba Juice, that amount will be automatically added to the same Facebook Card. Users will be able to view their different balances on Facebook.com and within the mobile app. Facebook says this option will roll out to U.S. users beginning today. Because Gifts are not available internationally, Facebook Card is also limited to the U.S. for now.
Facebook today announced that $5 million of its $256 million payments business came from sources outside of games, such as Gifts and user promoted posts during the fourth quarter of 2012.
The company didn’t offer a specific breakdown, but CFO David Ebersman said that user promoted posts were the primary source of that revenue. Ebersman said the company believes in the longterm potential of promoted posts, Gifts and other payments opportunities, but for now they represent a very small portion of overall revenue. Ebersman says the company expects this to continue to be the case through 2013, based on current run rates.
Facebook launched Gifts in September 2012 as a way for users to buy physical and digital gifts for their friends via desktop or mobile. The product rolled out to all U.S. users by mid-December, but the company has not revealed plans to expand Gifts beyond the U.S. for now. Although the company heavily promoted Gifts over the holidays, sales don’t seem to have taken off.
After eight years focused on user growth and building the foundations of its platform — News Feed, location and Open Graph, among others — Facebook went into 2012 prepared to go public and become more serious about monetization.
The social network launched several new ad types and opened a number of other potential revenue streams. Here’s a look at Facebook’s monetization efforts last year and how they might evolve in 2013.
News Feed/Mobile Ads
News Feed ads, starting with Sponsored Stories, launched in January. These same ad types came to the mobile feed in March, and over time, the social network began allowing page post units and other non-social ads. Mobile app installs came to the feed in August. Facebook previously allowed feed-based ads in 2007 but it had never shown ads on mobile devices until this year. Now, the social network is earning $4 million a day from News Feed ads, with three-fourths of that from the mobile feed. Advertisers themselves are pleased to have more prominent inventory, which generally leads to higher clickthrough rates and lower costs per click. In 2013, Facebook is likely to put more ads in the feed and continue to tinker with their design to optimize performance and improve user experience. We’ve heard a new video ad unit is already in the works, and believe more interactive and immersive experiences could be on the horizon.
Facebook introduced its Facebook Exchange, a real-time bidding system that allows third-party platforms to place retargeting ads on the social network after users visit external websites marked with cookies. FBX came out of beta in September, but only a limited number of partners have access to the exchange. Expect this number to grow in 2013. Early partners are reporting lower costs per acquisition than on other exchanges, and many advertisers are pleased that their ads appear above the fold and on brand-safe pages, which is not always the case with other exchanges where advertisers can’t be sure where their ads are being placed or how many others they’re competing against. The Facebook environment is much more controlled. Retargeting data cannot yet be combined with Facebook’s demographic and psychographic targeting options — nor can it be used for social ads like Sponsored Stories or page post ads in News Feed, but many expect these will become features of FBX in the future. TechCrunch recently reported that Facebook may be looking to bring FBX to mobile.