Facebook users in Europe will soon have the opportunity to earn Facebook Credits by completing hard offers through the offer walls of social games. Facebook today announced partnerships with SupersonicAds from the United Kingdom and Deal United from Germany to let European users buy magazine subscriptions, online movie rentals, and more to earn Facebook’s virtual currency.
Facebook will only allow Credits to be distributed through offers by approved providers once the July 1st deadline passes and all games to switch to Credits as their payment method. Therefore, attaining approved offers coverage in Europe through these deals is important so developers can still monetize users in the region who won’t pay for Credits directly.
Currently, game developers often work with offer providers like SupersonicAds and Deal United to give users their proprietary premium in-game currency in exchange for making purchases — sometimes known as completing hard offers. Direct response advertisers aggregated by the offer providers earn money from the purchases, and pay out to the game developers for bringing them customers and to cover the cost of the currency.
However, at the beginning of March, Facebook announced that after the migration to Credits, only approved offer providers can dispense hard Credits offers, and the only approved provider at the time was the Mountain View, CA-based TrialPay. Facebook promised more providers would be approved before the July 1st forced migration, and now it’s made good on that promise by blessing SupersonicAds and Deal United. A Facebook spokesperson tells us that “both of these companies will provide offers for Europe, extending the current offers product outside of the United States.”
[Update: To be clear, the approvals of SupersonicAds and Deal United mean those companies will contribute offer inventory they've aggregated from advertisers into Facebook's existing official offer wall, which it runs in partnership with TrialPay. Developers won't have to do anything new to get SupersonicAds or Deal United offers to appear in the offer walls of their games. They won't have to set up any additional offer walls, and users will see offers from these providers blended into the offer mix.]
SupersonicAds co-founder Gil Shoham told us his company has more than 1000 advertisers lined up to work with developers and 5000 live offers that will become available to users through the Facebook Credits partnership. “We have the ability to tap into many offers per country, and provide full localization and translation of offers and landing pages. Our goal is to make sure all users across europe can find relevant offers.”
Facebook tapped SupersonicAds as the only European launch partner for its Credits soft offers program, which allows users to earn Credits for watching video ads while playing games or browsing Facebook.com. Shoham says the program has been a success so far, and that the company has served commercials from Disney, Intel, Sony, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros to Facebook users.
Having both launched on Facebook years ago, today’s move by Facebook is validation for both companies that has been a long time coming. It appears that TrialPay will still have a Credits hard offer monopoly in the lucrative American market, though, as competitors such as Tapjoy and Super Rewards have yet to be approved.
Facebook has been making other preparations to ease both developers and users onto Credits. Yesterday it announced alternative payout options for 13 countries, which will help international developers receive their money from Facebook for the Credits spent on their games. Facebook also began giving away small amounts of Credits to get users accustomed to keeping a balance and spending them, with 1 free Credit being distributed to Ravenswood Fair players.
Approving enough providers for both the hard and soft offers programs will be crucial to injecting enough Facebook Credits into the ecosystem so that developers don’t take a big hit to monetization by migrating to Credits. If Facebook doesn’t establish robust enough Credits offer walls, users who previously spent proprietary virtual currency they earned through the multitude of independent offer providers won’t have adequate choices of ways to earn, and could cease to monetize if they don’t switch to buying currency (although as we’ve noted before, many do tend to start with offers and go direct anyway).
While most virtual goods revenue comes from direct purchases, a dip in revenues for Facebook game developers could cause a backlash leading them to turn to other platforms such as iOS or Android, hurting Facebook’s Credits business. The company still has work to do, though, in adding more offers options in Asia, and additional competitors in North America.