Loyalty Programs Turn Social with Facebook Credits

Facebook CreditsLast week on the Blog Herald James Johnson wrote about a new startup called Plink that connects businesses like Taco Bell, Quiznos, Dunkin’ Donuts and more to loyalty programs giving away Facebook credits. That’s right. Loyalty programs don’t just save your cents or score you a free flight these days, they give you Facebook credits for things like that plot of land on Farmville.
The startup may feel like a minor move of social media novelty, but in reality this means much more. Here are a few of my initial reactions to the company’s rise:

  1. Plink, by its very nature, legitimizes Facebook credits as a currency with definitive value. We’re not talking dollars and cents or business-related benefits here, we’re talking benefits translated from the physical world into the digital space. Just a few years ago Facebook credits didn’t exist. Now they’re so standard they’ve become a valid currency for loyalty programs.
  2. Look at the companies Plink chose to partner with. Seven Eleven, Outback Steakhouse, Taco Bell. I’m no demographics expert here, but the typical Double Decker fan might just coincide with your hardcore social gamer. The match, at least on the surface, makes an incredible amount of sense.
  3. Sing me that Facebook credits redemption song. I read something recently that said coupon redemption rates across eCommerce channels are at a record high. It makes sense. If you give a person an almost frictionless way to buy something in a niche they’re already interested in, they’re more likely to redeem a coupon. What happens when you give someone something completely different, like Cityville points after your tenth Slurpee? What will those redemption rates look like? Will heavy gamers start eating more at Plink’s partner restaurants or will more Outback diners start playing social games? The dynamic here feels both unprecedented and incredibly exciting.
  4. Imagine the datasets. Retailers can already track metrics like coupon use and redemption rates, but picture the power and reach of a loyalty coupon that links your credit card data to Facebook activity. This is an absolute data goldmine and if played right, Plink could respectfully use the insights they’ve gathered from consumers to build advertising intelligence platforms and more. The possibilities here are almost limitless.

Ultimately what this all comes down to is adoption. Would you link your credit card to a program like Plink and eat at certain spots in order to boost your Facebook credit count? Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the author: Entrepreneur with ten years of experience running a digital marketing agency out of New York City. I work with startups and brands such as Virgin Airlines, L2 Inc (Gartner), American Express, Fabletics, LOFT, and more. When I’m not helping companies increase their audience and revenues, I love to travel, sail, and read. I also moonlight as a bartender at a classic cocktail bar.

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