Sep 20, 2012 02:15 PM EDT

Facebook To Start Charging Businesses To Advertise To Fans And Friends

In an attempt to prove to Wall Street that the company can bring in income and calm investors, Facebook will begin to charge businesses to target users with offers.

Facebook Offers is a program that lets businesses target their Facebook fans with deals. It launched earlier this year as a free service.

But in coming weeks, according to Reuters, Facebook will begin requiring businesses to create an ad to promote their special deal to fans and friends of fans in their News Feeds. The total cost of the paid ad will depend on how large a fan base the business has.

Analysts have been waiting to see if Facebook can reap more money from commerce. It has been slow to do so because many retailers and businesses use the social network's free tools to target Facebook users. But Facebook is trying to convince advertisers that they should use a combination of paid advertising and free tools to extend their reach.

Facebook told Reuters it's pleased with the performance of Facebook Offers, but would not say how many offers it has run, or how many consumers have redeemed deals.

In an emailed statement, Facebook said it was looking to make Offers "more relevant for people and more measurable for businesses."

It cited the example of ARIA resort and casino in Las Vegas, which it says saw more than 1,500 room nights booked after running special offers on Facebook.

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