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Is that a Facebook Card in your wallet?

Is Facebook reminding you that your friend’s birthday is coming up soon? Are you panicking at the thought of what to get them? Luckily for you and your Facebook friend, there’s now a Facebook gift card and no, I’m not kidding.

The Facebook gift card is a way for Facebook, and yourself, to connect with the real world outside of your virtual playground. This physical plastic card can be used in retail locations. The cards only work at four stores for now: Target, Jamba Juice, Sephora and The Olive Garden. So, for now, it’s a little something for everyone or for that friend who’s a health freak, hoards makeup, and loves her unlimited soup, salad, and bread sticks.

When you buy a card for a friend, they’ll get a message letting them know you’ve been kind enough to think of them on their special day. Hooray! The cash amount is loaded on to a plastic card that is delivered in the mail. Your friend can then take that physical card into a physical store and buy physical goods. For an Internet company, it’s all delightfully old fashioned but also quite whimsical. I kinda want a Facebook gift card of my own (hint, hint).

The idea feels a bit outdated. A physical gift card, really? Why not Facebook credits or just buying an online gift card? However, a real physical card is a way for Facebook to gather actual hard sales data to prove the offline impact of Facebook’s platform. This real world data will then likely be fed into Facebook’s internal ad targeting and will possibly entice other big brands to jump on board and be a part of Facebook’s new plastic gift card world.

Since Facebook is all about data and using it against us to manipulate us into shopping (we’re onto you Zuckerberg), these plastic card also opens up the possibility to target advertising within Facebook to users based on balance remaining, real-world spend, or even competitive or complementary brands. Potential advertisers with Facebook could use it to measure how successful their advertising is and who to start targeting.

Facebook gift cards aren’t quite available yet but if you’re looking to send your friends something via Facebook, there is always the option of Facebook gifts. They’re not quite as cool as a gift cards, however they’re virtual and are also targeted so you don’t have to wonder what to get your friends – suggestions are made based on their activity, the types of pages they like, and the games they play. Sound a little creepy? I think we’re well beyond that.

Have you sent a Facebook gift? Are you planning to use the new Facebook gift cards? Let us know in the comments below.


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