There’s been a lot of chatter around Gap’s recent campaign using Facebook’s Places — The company launched a campaign last week to give away 10,000 pairs of jeans to those who check into any Gap store using Facebook’s new Deals feature (which allows users to earn discounts when checking into business through Facebook Places). This isn’t the first time that Gap has dabbled in these types of deals – in August they partnered with Groupon to offer a special coupon ($25 for $50) and also offered 25% discounts to all shoppers checking in on Foursquare.
But was the Facebook Places campaign successful? The results seem to be mixed. Looking at Gap’s Facebook page, 26,000 people said they were attending the Free Jeans event, but their wall was full of users trying to “check in” by updating the wall or even asking the questions “how do I check in?” or “do I have to have an iPhone?” Clearly, there was a lot of confusion around what “checking in” means, but that doesn’t mean that the promotion didn’t drive a lot of people to the stores. According to Fast Company, the free jeans campaign was so popular that lines of people were forming outside of Manhattan Gap stores well before they opened at 8 a.m. Although this does show Gap’s presence in social media (with the help of Facebook promoting it as one of the first Facebook Deals), it likely doesn’t make up for the fact that many consumers were upset and turned off by the technical barriers or customer support.
We definitely agree that both brands and social platforms like Facebook and Foursquare are going to have to be careful about educating consumers, but there is obviously enormous potential in location-based discounts. The Gap stores did little or no promotion of the campaign and this was all driven through Facebook, social media and word of mouth. For brands going forward, the success of these campaigns will depend on careful marketing.