When a consumer is within the beacon’s range, the social network will place information about that store above the news feed on his smartphone.

Facebook Inc. is giving out free beacons to retailers and restaurants to help them drive consumers into their businesses.

When a consumer is within range of a store’s beacon and looks at Facebook on his smartphone, above his news feed he’ll see what the social network calls a Place Tip, which is information about the business, such as its business hours, popular items, upcoming events or other information that it has shared on the social network.

The social network, which launched the initiative in January with a small test in New York, says that Place Tips have boosted merchants’ in-store traffic, as well as traffic to the retailers’ Facebook pages. 

Place Tips have provided Strand Book Store another way to engage consumers, says Briannne Sperber, the retailer’ marketing director. “Place Tips gives us a new way to connect with our customers and get our Facebook page content in front of the people who visit us,” she says.

Place Tips are only shown to Facebook users who have given the social network permission to access their location on their phone and those who check in at a business on Facebook.


Retailers can request a free beacon from Facebook.

While Place Tips are not a paid advertising product for now, that could change in the future.