Facebook Places a Week Later: Using It?

Filed in Featured, Local Search, Social Media by Matt McGee on August 26, 2010 14 Comments

facebook placesIt’s been a week … well, nine days to be exact … since the launch of Facebook Places.

Are you using it? Do you know anyone who is?

In many cases, the survival of a new product, tool, web site, or whatever, depends on how much adoption comes from the early adopter crowd: tech lovers, web geeks, social media fanatics, and so forth. (Twitter is only recently gaining in general adoption because the early adopters have stuck with it for years despite so-called competition from the likes of Pownce, Plurk, and many others.) But, in my experience, the typical early adopters aren’t bothering with Facebook Places. In fact, neither are a lot of regular users.

I have 350+ Facebook friends — mostly tech crowd and marketing people, the kind of folks who usually jump on new tools and products. But also some regular users — old high school friends, some local folks here in the Tri-Cities, and so forth. As I bring up Facebook Places right now on my iPhone, this group of 350+ people only has 10 check-ins over the past 24 hours.


My wife, the very definition of an average Facebook user (by that, I mean she’s on there chatting with friends constantly!), has not used Facebook Places once. I had a business lunch today with three well-connected friends, all in the web/marketing industry, all Facebook users … and only one checked in via Facebook Places. (It wasn’t me.)

So, first question: Is my experience unique? Do you find people in your Facebook network are using Places? I’d love to be know if what I’ve seen is unique.

Second question: If usage is lower than you thought it would be, why?

I’ve been thinking about a few possible reasons:

  1. Checking-in to places just isn’t something average people care to do.
  2. Related: Facebook hasn’t given its users enough of a reason to check-in. No discounts, no crowns/games, etc.
  3. The people who are into check-ins are already knee-deep in using Foursquare, Gowalla, or Yelp and aren’t inclined to change.

So there you go … some late Thursday night ramblings on Facebook Places. Comments are open. Would love to hear your opinions and experiences.

Comments (14)

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  1. I would go for number 3. Most people that like the idea about checking in – are already using Foursquare or Gowalla. We have not yet been able to use Facebook places here – but people are still adopting to the other locations services.

    First people need to know and get used to using location services – then maybe if Facebook Places gives enough reason – then people will start using it on a regulary basis

  2. All of the above. Even ppl using foursquare don’t seem to know about
    Facebooks new toy nor does it seem to offer anything to them as they’re used to badges or discounts where we visit often.

    I’ve been showing it off lately and checking them in with me but there doesn’t seem to be the interest as it’s basically been done before.

    Personally I see the potential direction where Facebook can drive this but right now it’s nothing really new. Just not that shiny of a toy 🙂

  3. David Mihm says:

    I don’t see much novelty to Facebook’s approach with Places…they’ve made plenty of mistakes with this launch, haven’t reached out to the business community, and yet…I’m still incredibly bullish about its long-term potential. Just because no one is using it yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to morph into something pretty ubiquitous…

  4. rick says:

    1 and 3 mostly I think, along with the fact that it’s iPhone only really. Yes, I know about touch.facebook.com, but on Android I use the FB app. So, the universe of potential users is really the people in your friends list who have iPhones. Of those, most who care about checking in are already using Foursquare, Gowalla, etc. So either 1 or 3 is true.

  5. Haydée says:

    1 and 3, but it simply takes most people more than nine days to get into the routine of “checking in” whether they are using other geo apps or none at all. I agree with David Mihm; as more and more users use the mobile FB app and continue to be on FB constantly, the numbers will no doubt increase exponentially. It’s a matter of low awareness due to FB’s soft launch. Why wouldn’t users check in when they’re already signed in so often?

  6. Micaheath says:

    IT”S ONLY 9 DAYS OLD! I have seen 10 check-ins today, I haven’t seen 10 check-in’s on my FB feed from foursquare in two months! Give it some time, I have been trying to set up the 9 locations for our business, not an easy task! It will take a few weeks or even months for this to catch on and everything to get set-up, but mark my words, THIS WILL BE HUGE!!! The average facebooker doesn’t even know what these are yet, but watch out, because when they do, you are going to be amazed. Not even to mention the possibilities for us marketers, get ready guys…

  7. 1. I don’t think your experience is unique. I did some browsing of 30 neighborhood businesses last night and looked at a few of the most frequented bars and restaurants. I think the most check-ins I saw for one business was three, most had none, and a few others had one. One check-in every other day at a very popular bar/restaurant is definitely not too earth shaking.

    2. My gut feeling on the launch is that Facebook rushed Places to market to get their feet wet in the Locaction based Apps. I don’t think the average Facebook user has any interest in checking-in at this time and there will be no interest until there is some benefit to check-in. With a huge user base there is no question that Facebook could make some huge ripples, if not tidal waves in the geo-location space. Until Places either adds many more features or integrates with services like Foursquare or Gowalla I don’t see a major increase adoption Places or shift away from the existing check-in services.

    • Matt McGee says:

      I vote that we all keep an eye on Facebook Places and agree to check back here in six months and see how it’s coming along. Deal? Don’t know why, but for some reason I’m not too optimistic that this is going to catch fire like so many have said it will.

      In any case, thx for all the replies so far, gang.

  8. Matt you are definitely not alone in your experience here, I too have noticed that people aren’t keen on using Facebook’s “places” app. In fact, many that I have asked have disabled the feature in the interest of not having people know where they are, they have instead been telling me that it actually makes them a bit uncomfortable.

  9. Nice one Matt, I think a lot of companies who are using Foursquare, Facebook Places, Gowalla etc. are doing very well as it can increase loyalty and show the company in a futuristic light.

    However, in my opinion I think it is only companies with a physical location (think restaurant, shop, theme park) that can benefit from things like mayor incentives, so perhaps not as beneficial to B2B businesses.

  10. Keith says:

    Location based services such as foursquare and gowalla are very niche services even though overhyped by mass media. If you asked 500 people what foursquare is chances are most would have no clue. Out of my 200 or so facebook friends I have seen 2 people use it once or twice. Why? Just telling someone where you are is for the most part usless information.

    If Facebook lets us start rating places and adding reviews we could maybe see use pick up. Have a sort of Yelp type peice build in.

  11. Gareth says:

    Still not using it

  12. Daron says:

    I tried the free 1 month trial and only received a few more clicks than usual.

    I unexpectedly received two monthly bills from Google Places despite my having closed out my Places account within the promotional 30 day trial period.

    I also discovered there is NO phone number, email or ANY way to contact Google regarding their billing errors. I had to cancel my debit card to stop them from continuing to bill me!

    I would discourage anyone from giving Google Places a try… unless they don’t mind canceling their credit/debit card when they’d like to stop be billed.

  13. wayne says:

    Well I tried a facebook page for my business and cannot work out how to link it to my business anyway as cannot find a link to it. WordPress is much more user friendly but doubt it would get the same traffic. Oh well somewhere out there in Cyber is I-Sharpen facebook and maybe we may re connect one day lols. I know I can sign in and make up a box but just want a link

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