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TheStreet Open House

An Example of Facebook Timeline Advertising Success

Stocks in this article: FBTSTAAPLSBUXTGT

For my wife's birthday, I decided to try out a Facebook gift card so I used the Send a Gift function next to her birthday notification. I gave my wife the choice to pick her preferred vendor from about two dozen choices. She went with Target (TGT).

To my surprise, Facebook took her snail mail information and, within a week, she received a Facebook-branded Target gift card. This old style approach to doing a gift card supports the reality I've been trying to hammer home for months -- Starbucks (SBUX), with its superior digital and mobile strategy, is tech's untold, underrated and most extraordinary story.

Starbucks' gift cards and loyalty program work the way we expect these things to work in 2013. It's really quite stunning that Facebook's, at least in my particular experience, do not.

I made the birthday gift card purchase on my iPhone. My wife accepted the gift and completed the transaction on her iPad. Shouldn't Facebook have the operation perfected to the point where the entire process is hooked up with Apple's (AAPL) Passbook or something? Why do you have to wait a week to get your gift card? You should be able to use it instantly.

Anyway, just a thought. Facebook has had to move quick with these efforts. From development and partnership standpoints, I imagine these things take time.

This highlights one advantage Starbucks has -- not only a massive, built-in customer base (like Facebook), but its own mobile and digital e-commerce platforms. On second thought, it's curious to consider why Facebook could not move with the same sort of efficiency and effectiveness.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.
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