Facebook 'Place Tips' Bluetooth Beacons Expand Retailers’ Marketing Might By Tapping Your NewsFeed

After completing a limited and apparently successful test run of its Place Tips feature, Facebook is making available to businesses free Bluetooth beacons in an effort to expand the program. The beacons are small devices that beam one-way signals to the Facebook app of visitors' phones or other mobile device when they're in close proximity.

This is a way for businesses and retailers to further engage their customers. Through Place Tips, a business can send out a welcome note and photo, prompt visitors to Like their Facebook page and/or check in, see their friends' recommendations about the establishment, and more.

Facebook Place Tips

The Place Tips feature was tested in New York City earlier this year. Satisfied with the results, Facebook is expanding it to all businesses across the United States. Businesses that are interested only need to fill out a small form (basically an email address, number of locations, and Facebook page) in order to receive a free Bluetooth beacon.

As for patrons worried about privacy, Facebook says its beacons don't collect any information from people or their phones, nor do they change the kind of location information Facebook receives. The only people who receive a Place Tips notification are those who enabled location services on their phone and have Bluetooth turned on. Facebook users also have the option of turning Place Tips off in the settings menu.

At present, businesses can't advertise through beacons, though with Facebook giving these things away for free, it wouldn't be surprising if it started selling that ability down the line.