Facebook teams up with Target, Olive Garden and others to offer gift card

January 31, 2013

Shoppers can now pay with Facebook at select major retailers after the company announced it will begin offering gift cards that users can buy and manage through its network.

Friends can buy each other cards through the Facebook Gifts platform, by heading to the “Digital Gifts and Cards” section. The social network will send users a physical, reusable card to carry in their wallets that can carry multiple gift balances from Facebook partners. They can then manage their balances online through the account settings page on their Facebook account. Users can look at what they’ve spent on the desktop or through mobile devices.

In a blog post announcing the move, Facebook named Target, the Olive Garden, Jamba Juice and Sephora as launch partners.

The company declined to comment when asked for further financial details on its partnerships.

Facebook has been working to convince investors that it will be able to sustain its growth over time ever since its May debut on the public market. Retail is a new area of of focus for the company. In September, the company began rolling out its Gifts platform, which lets retailers use the network and its social data to sell products directly to users.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the company is still learning from its retail initiatives and that it will take some time for them to bear fruit.

Facebook beat analyst estimates with its latest earnings report, but investors still sent the stock down on worries that it had not figured out a long-term plan to make money.

The company reported $1.59 billion in earnings, 40 percent higher than it posted in the same period last year. The portion of revenue from the company’s advertising efforts rose 41 percent from the previous year. Mobile advertising made up a larger-than-ever portion of the company’s overall revenue — an important metric for the company as the bulk of its traffic shifts to mobile devices.

(The Washington Post Company’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Related stories:

Facebook fourth-quarter profit drops on spending to lure advertisers

Facebook’s mobile ad revenue doubles in fourth quarter

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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