Shuttered in 2010, Facebook Gifts returned to the social network for U.S. members last September. Hoping to excite international retailers, the e-commerce product was expanded to the U.K., India, and Canada over the weekend, but in a limited capacity.
Facebook Gifts launched as a way for consumers to buy physical and digital gifts for their friends. Initially only available for members within the U.S., international audiences are beginning to gain access. However, it appears that gifts can only be sent to U.S.-based friends.
Individuals with access to the expanded feature have reported that while they’re prompted to engage with Gifts, they’re encouraged to send them to friends and family in the U.S. So someone in India isn’t yet able to send a gift to a friend in Canada, or India for that matter.
While moving beyond the U.S. is great for awareness, limiting shipping options isn’t good news for a feature that has already been shut down once. According to Inside Facebook, the company made $5 million from non-game payments in Q4 2012, a portion of which came from Gifts. Facebook CFO David Ebersman noted that user-promoted posts were the primary source of that revenue.
Global expansion seems to be in the cards — Facebook added a job listing for a customs and trade manager last November. This might be the missing piece the company needs to balance out the shipping restrictions. Still, it’s too soon to tell whether international purchases will help the struggling feature. Despite this possible setback, retailers can still appeal to an international audience on the social network even if you’re not using Gifts.
Last October, Facebook launched Global Pages which allow you to maintain a single Page with localized experiences for fans in different countries. This means that cover photos, profile photos, apps, milestones, “about” information, and News Feed stories can be tailored to fans based on their region. Additionally, Facebook Ad’s targeting options are incredibly vast, letting you single out very specific audiences, even international ones, regardless of what country you’re in.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.