AmEx 'Likes' Facebook, Launches Coupon-Less Deals

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In its latest effort to leverage social media, American Express has launched a new program that gives cardholders access to special offers and discounts via Facebook, based on their expressed interests and preferences.

Through the "Link, Like, Love" application on the American Express Facebook page, customers can link their cards to their Facebook accounts. They will then be able to choose from a selection of deals from brands including Whole Foods, Lord & Taylor, Outback Steakhouse and Sports Authority.

The offers are tailored according to what users and their friends "Like" by using the Facebook Like button on third-party sites or by checking in at a location on Facebook Places.

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The new Facebook initiative is similar to one the financial services giant unveiled earlier this month with Foursquare, in which cardholders can link their accounts to the social location service to get discounts when they check in at certain retailers and restaurants.

Neither Facebook or Foursquare have a revenue-sharing arrangement with AmEx in connection with the partnerships. But the AmEx alliance augments Facebook's existing Deals program and helps the social network better contend with the profusion of outside daily deal sites. The card company has more than 2 million fans on Facebook.

Unlike other deal services, including Groupon and LivingSocial, Cardholders will not have to pre-purchase offers or present a printed coupon at the point of purchase. Discounts from online and in-store shopping will simply appear as credits in AmEx customers' monthly statements. 

Edward Gilligan, vice chairman of AmEx, told Bloomberg it isn't charging merchants for the service or repackaging personal information for sale to third parties. But businesses will receive reporting on deal redemption and customer loyalty to help shape digital marketing programs.

AmEx is working mainly with national brands and retailers at launch, but announced a related program catering to small businesses called "Go Social." It will allow merchants to create their own coupon-less deals and distribute them across Facebook, Foursquare and other social platforms using a self-service tool.

The idea is to help local businesses expand sales and be able to track the performance social-media campaigns through detailed reports they can review through their own dashboards. In a novel effort in June, AmEx began allowing business customers to use accumulated rewards points to buy advertising on Facebook.

 

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