Facebook began rolling out Facebook beacons mid last year, a system that uses Bluetooth® technology help customers see more information about local businesses on Facebook. Keen to the wants and needs of retailers, Facebook offers these beacons as free devices for businesses around the country.

How do Facebook beacons work?

Facebook beacons are Bluetooth® technology devices that emit a signal to customers’ phones and display place tips about local businesses through the Facebook app. When a beacon is turned on in a shop or store location, it can detect a Facebook user is within a set distance.

In place tips, customers may see:

  • A welcome note from your Page
  • Prompts to like your Page and check in
  • Posts from your Page
  • Their friends’ photos and posts about your place
  • Information on upcoming deals and events

Facebook emphasizes that beacons work “one-way” meaning that information is sent to the user, but the beacon does not collect any information about customers or any information found on their phones.

Currently, Place Tips aren’t available to all mobile users, only users who have an iPhone (4S or later) with Bluetooth turned on. Users must also have the latest version of the Facebook for iOS app, location services on their device turned on for Facebook, and Facebook tips turned on in the Facebook iOS app. A version that supports smartphones powered by Android will be rolling out soon.

How do I request a Facebook beacon?

Any business in the United States can request to receive this free device by filling out this application for each of their physical stores.

Businesses with active Facebook Pages will be given priority, Facebook said, because Place Tips are only shown when there is “enough content from the business and person’s friends to offer an enjoyable experience.”

Is advertising available for Facebook beacons?

Advertising isn’t currently available for beacons yet, but the potential for beacon advertising in the future is apparent. Facebook’s pitch to advertisers has always been the ability to target better than anyone else on the Internet. The ability to push out location-specific notifications would only reinforce this notion.

Facebook isn’t the only one who has introduced beacon marketing; Twitter has invested in the same area and Apple introduced their own product, iBeacon in 2014.

For more information about Facebook beacons, please visit Facebook for Business.