So there is a new Facebook gift card that has people in the mainstream media scratching their heads. Some people even call it baffling because of the lack of any significant profit margin. You would only be baffled by this, however, if you were entirely clueless and had zero understanding of Facebook’s actual business model. It’s obvious where the angle is here … more data about more people that they can bundle up and sell.
Best case: The gift card is purchased for someone who is not a Facebook user and they now have name and address information for someone who is not currently in their databases. As a super added bonus, they also get highly granular retail purchasing information about that person back from the retailers. Worst case: The recipient of the card is already a Facebook user. Then FB gets nothing new from a personal information standpoint, but still gets to cash in with that juicy retail info (including the much-desired geo-tagging) and they can tie it to at least two users. Either way they are increasing the depth (and the sales value) of their bulk data offerings at no cost to themselves. Profit from the actual sale of gift cards is incidental and, quite frankly, unnecessary.
The cards don’t matter. The data is the thing.