Facebook is cozying up to major brands in a big way.
The latest is Wal-Mart.
The social-networking giant announced it's teaming up with the world's biggest retailer with an aim to make shopping more local and personal. Together, they introduced "My Local Walmart," a new Facebook app designed to give millions of Wal-Mart shoppers information on their favorite and closest Wal-Mart stores nationwide.
More than 3,500 Wal-Mart store-specific pages are launching on Facebook, allowing consumers to more easily locate the right store nationwide via ZIP code. The app aims to deliver the latest deals, product rollbacks, and in-store events via Facebook's news feed. (Here's a video showing how to find your local Wal-Mart.)
Wal-Mart is already a top brand on Facebook with a highly engaged user base comprised of more than 9 million fans. A recent poll clued Wal-Mart indicated that its customers wanted more local information from their stores on Facebook.
"A national message is not always relevant," Stephen Quinn, Wal-Mart's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, told reporters during a conference call today. Wal-Mart is "paying attention to what consumers want." Quinn said he anticipates the 3,500 participating Wal-Mart stores to send out two deals a week through the new Facebook app.
Brands like Wal-Mart are front and central to Facebook's next phase of growth.
For a company eyeing a $100 billion IPO in 2011--and a reported trillion dollar market cap--Facebook must court major consumer brands like crazy. That's why the company and an army of content partners from news, publishing, music, and film and TV are rushing to set up shop on the platform, which boasts 800 million users.
The overriding idea is that the most esteemed global brands will live on Facebook and conduct commerce at an unprecedented rate and scale. Facebook is on a quest to appear more valuable to advertisers and glean new revenue streams beyond display advertising. Brands, meanwhile, are angling for new consumers and a better way to measure return on investment from social media campaigns.
"Over 50 percent of active adults on Facebook are following brands that they love," said Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vice president of global marketing solutions. And everyday, she added, "Brands on Facebook receive 100 million likes."
Last week, Facebook introduced "People Talking About," a new way to measure engagement on Facebook pages, by going beyond "likes" and taking into account shares, comments, posts, tags, and check-ins.