[More from Mashable: Calculate Your 2013 Facebook Ad Spend With This Free Tool]
The test period for Facebook's Offers product is drawing to a close: Facebook announced Thursday that all Pages with more than 400 fans can now seed discounts and promotions through the network -- except those operated in Japan, which will be eligible next week.
Merchants are also now required to pay at least $5 to run Offers. They will remain free for users to claim.
[More from Mashable: Facebook Testing Automatic ‘Photo Syncing’ Feature For Android Phones]
Over the past several months, Facebook worked with a small selection of local business Pages to test Offers. Merchants were able to extend Offers to their fans for free, and could expand their reach through Facebook's various ad products. When someone claimed an Offer, it appeared in his or her Newsfeed, helping merchants reach their fans' friends more organically as well.
A Facebook spokesperson touted the success of Offers, sharing a case study involving one merchant in the pilot program, Aria resort and casino in Las Vegas. Aria was able to book 1,500 room night reservations after running an Offer for a $110 resort credit plus VIP passes to its Haze nightclub to customers who purchased two nights on select dates. The resort advertised the offer through Premium Page and Sponsored Stories ads that targeted fans and friends of fans. Thanks to the Offer, customers made 671 reservations for 1,585 room nights. Aria saw a nearly five-fold return on its investment.
To run an Offer, merchants are now required to pay $5 on a related ad product to promote it to a targeted audience. They can also now add bar codes and unique promotional numbers to their Offers, so that they can be better tracked and claimed at checkout on third-party sites.
The program opens up a new revenue opportunity for Facebook, and gives local merchants another venue -- beyond print ads in local papers, Foursquare Specials, Google Offers, Groupon, etc. -- to advertise deals and promotions.
This is Facebook's second try at Offers market. The company shut down a similar product, Facebook Deals, in August. With offers like "unlimited bowling with six friends for an evening for $60 (75% off)," the earlier product was designed to encourage group-buying behavior, a la Groupon or LivingSocial; Offers are more individually targeted.
Image courtesy of Zef Zikolla, Facebook
This story originally published on Mashable here.