Facebook is giving away free beacons

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has updated its Place Tips to expand beyond the initial test and is giving away beacons to businesses to help facilitate adoption.

Place Tips lets users create posts and photos naming a retailer or business from the Facebook app when opened at that location. The program was announced in January and was being tested at select business in New York City.

Now, Facebook is rolling it out to all businesses.

The user benefits by having access to the Place Tips of their friends or connections on Facebook. For example, someone visiting a Target store can tap Place Tips while inside, view store information, posts from that businesses' page or upcoming events. They can also see if any of their friends are there, or view posts and photos friends have made about the place or in that location.

Place Tips uses cellular networks, Wi-Fi and GPS, but Facebook is testing the service in combination with beacons, which can also push messages, or tips, to users about where they are.

To help spur use, Facebook is offering beacons to businesses for free, Re/code reported.

Facebook is more important to shoppers than any other social network, according to G/O Digital's report "Harnessing the Power of Facebook for Small Businesses." Shoppers reported being more interested in ads targeted to them based on user interests (34 percent), while 15 percent want offers based on their location, according to the survey.

Retailers can't advertise through Place Tips, at least not yet. But that is likely just a matter of time. The social platform has been rolling out retail-focused initiatives including new features for its Messenger app that allow for peer-to-peer payments and direct communication with shoppers.

For more:
-See this Facebook announcement
-Request a free beacon here
-See this Re/code story
-See this G/O Digital study

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