In a novel partnership, small businesses now have a new way to buy advertising on Facebook: rewards points earned from their American Express accounts. The card giant will allow Membership Rewards customers to redeem points for ads on the world's largest social network. It marks the first time a company has connected a customer rewards offer to social media advertising.
While aimed chiefly at small business owners through American Express OPEN, the ads-for-points program is available to millions of other AmEx cardholders.
Cardmembers can redeem points for Facebook Ads through American Express OPEN's Facebook Page or its Membership Rewards site. After logging into a Rewards account, a cardholder selects the amount to spend on Facebook Ads. AmEx then sends a unique Facebook redemption code via email, which is used to pay after an ad has been created through Facebook's self-serve ad system.
Each $6,750 spent with an AmEx card buys $50 worth of advertising on Facebook. The social network naturally hopes the new rewards option encourages more small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on the site. Often, ads are used to drive traffic to a company's branded Facebook page to learn more about its products and services.
David Fischer, vice president of advertising and global operations at Facebook, said hundreds of thousands of small businesses advertise on the site. He stated that the "latest effort by American Express effectively takes advantage of our platform by providing these business owners with a new and convenient way to pay for Facebook advertising."
The program helps AmEx to tap into social media and leverage Facebook's 750 million strong user base worldwide on behalf of customers. It also follows on the heels of a separate AmEx partnership with Foursquare, offering special deals to cardholders who check in at certain retailers and restaurants via the social-location sharing service.
Ed Gilligan, vice chairman at American Express, called the program "a unique and core asset" that is becoming more "relevant" for cardmembers in the social media space.
The company plans to roll out a national ad campaign in the coming weeks to promote the points-for-ads initiative.