Facebook's rewards scheme will keep you in Zuckerberg's social bubble forever

Offline benefits to online loyalty

Facebook is trying to bring offline benefits to living a life online by testing out a new rewards feature. The feature will see users get access to a personalized QR code which can be scanned in certain shops to get access to discounts and bonuses.

The feature, which was spotted by TechCrunch, isn’t available to all users just yet but is appearing for some under the More section of the Facebook mobile app. According to Facebook, Rewards is intended to allow businesses to directly connect with customers.

What kind of discounts and bonuses the scheme is offering isn’t clear just yet but it’s something that could certainly benefit Facebook, its users, and companies that use the social network to reach prospective customers. 

Shop and scan

Simply by virtue of having a Facebook account, users could get discounts in their favorite stores; merchants would have a way of attracting new and repeat customers to physically visit their outlets (something that’s particularly important with the rise of online shopping); and should it prove successful Facebook would have more evidence that it’s a powerful method of advertising that drives purchases and the additional data would greatly improve its ad targeting. 

As the QR codes are personalized, it suggests that Facebook Rewards will act as more of a repeated use loyalty scheme than a one off discount service. Facebook already has its Offers feature as a means of giving one-off discounts but this could be a method of encouraging repeat custom. 

We imagine it has the potential to work with hundreds of brands, rewarding customers who shop with affiliated brands with points that can be redeemed for discounts. 

For example, Facebook Rewards users would be able to scan their personal QR code every time they shop with an affiliated brands, building up points for rewards, and could then be targeted via their Newsfeed with further offers that are relevant to their offline purchases and perhaps accessible only to them. 

As it wouldn’t have any kind of separate app, account, or physical card to keep track of, Facebook Rewards has the potential to attract a wider base of users purely because it’s much more convenient.

At the moment, though, Rewards is only being tested by a small numbers of users and there's no guarantee that it'll ever be rolled out further.