Beginning Monday, Facebook will allow users to give their friends real-life gifts that are already popular during the holiday season: Apple’s iTunes gift cards and iTunes digital content. Facebook is adding iTunes content to its gifting platform, so users can pick out either a gift card or specific song, album or app to give a friend. This move puts a highly popular holiday gift in Facebook’s offerings, and adds slightly more integration with Apple in getting users to pull out their credit cards while visiting the site.
Facebook launched its gifts platform in September as a non-advertising method of growing revenue. Users can see when friends have birthdays or get engaged, and are given suggestions for physical, real-world gifts they can have sent to the friend. The company initially partnered with 100 retail partners including Starbucks, and recently expanded to include a variety of well-known brands including Brookstone, Baby Gap, Dean & Deluca, Fab, L’Occitane and Lindt chocolate. The addition of iTunes content will provide a lower-priced option for gift-giving on the site. And songs, apps, and gift cards are some of the most versatile gifts out there, much more so than many of the existing gift options.
Facebook already allows users to find iOS apps in the Facebook App Center and then purchase them through iTunes store, but turning Facebook gifts into a direct platform for purchasing digital content via iTunes marks another step forward in that integration. Apple has heavily integrated Facebook into iOS 6 after Ping failed to gain any social traction among users, so working with Facebook to gift digital content could be an interesting way to drive sales and recommendations.
With the new iTunes offerings, users will be able to select either a song, movie app or album to purchase for a friend, and a code will be sent to the friend’s email address to redeem. Users who don’t want to pick out and recommend specific content can also purchase gift cards for friends, which are available for $10, $15, $25, or $50. When a user purchases content for a friend, it will show up in the timeline, serving as a recommendation both for the content and Facebook’s gift platform.