In a renewed approach to offer better deals to cardholders, MasterCard revamped its Marketplace program with a focus on providing personalized offers based on Facebook data, but having a Facebook account is not a requirement.
The MasterCard Marketplace program is a free service that aggregates daily discounts and special offers from various deals companies including Gilt City, Restaurant.com and Goldstar. These special offers tend to be vouchers that can be purchased at a reduced price.
If a cardmember decides to connect the MasterCard Marketplace app on Facebook, MasterCard is permitted to receive data including: name, email address, gender, profile information, “likes,” check-ins and friends with whom an offer was shared or friends that also have the Facebook app installed.
Using this information, MasterCard hopes to provide offers that are tailored to the cardmember’s interests and preferences.
However, cardmembers can also set up an “anonymous” experience to receive offers based on location, via a standalone website, rather than Facebook. In fact, a MasterCard is not even required — although it is encouraged. Because the MasterCard Marketplace program redirects users to the participating daily-deals site, which accepts all types of debit and credit cards, there is no rule that a MasterCard must be used for the purchase. The offers are not “loaded” onto the card like many other similar rewards programs.
In the previous version of the program, Marketplace acted as a portal for special offers to 28,000 major retail branch partners. The new version hopes to integrate a social experience, tapping the largest social network with more than 141 million users in the U.S., according to market research firm eMarketer.
The new MasterCard Marketplace program contributes to the rising trend by card issuers to provide more value through social media. Citibank introduced a social rewards-sharing app on Facebook while American Express has its “Link, Like, Love” campaign, also on Facebook.
Recently, MasterCard also partnered with Shopkick to offer a location-based rewards program for cardmembers.