Performance marketing insights, discussions and expertise

Are Digital Coupons Valuable for Marketing?

By on September 7, 2012

couponsDigital coupons show up everywhere across the internet – display advertising, social media, email campaigns, coupon sites. While many brands actively use digital coupons to increase sales, there are a number of retailers who question the real value of this marketing tactic. Can digital coupons really be a valuable marketing strategy?

The Good
The benefits of using discounts as part of a marketing strategy may seem apparent – consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they believe they are getting a good deal. In fact, up to 95% of consumers now shop price over brand. And, with about 25% of the U.S. population using digital coupons, they are an excellent way to encourage price conscious consumers to shop with you.

What may be less expected is that consumers using coupons are actually likely to spend more money than those who are not using coupons. In some markets, digital coupon users spend on average 23% more per shopping trip and 49% more per year. By allowing customers to spend less, you actually encourage them to spend more.

The Bad
There are a number of challenges that make it difficult for brands to effectively use coupons as a part of their marketing strategy. Often, retailers want to offer exclusive coupons and discounts to targeted consumers. However, with the inherent sharability of digital coupons, those “exclusive” promotions get shared, tweeted, and posted across the web. As a coupon reaches more and more consumers across a variety of channels, it becomes increasingly difficult to track the source the coupon was obtained from. And running multiple coupon promotions at a time just adds to the confusion. For example…

One advertiser on the Impact Radius platform recently ran a display advertising promotion using a free shipping coupon code. The offer code quickly went viral via social sharing and coupon sites – presenting consumers who had never even seen their ad with the discount. Additionally, they had been running a similar promotion on a coupon site and were having trouble determining if both campaigns were successful. Feeling a bit stuck, they came to us frustrated by the coupon process.

Making Coupons Work
As this particular advertiser uses unique coupon codes combined with our tracking software, we were able to identify the original source of the redeemed codes as well as the path each consumer took on the purchase journey. This allowed the advertiser to accurately attribute each sale to the correct marketing channel(s) and determine the success of both campaigns. Additionally, it helped them make better informed decisions about how to invest their marketing resources.

Oh, and they drove a TON of additional sales using coupons. While looking back at the data, the advertiser was able to determine that many consumers visited their site after obtaining a coupon. And those consumers that did leave the site to search for a promotional code prior to check out were more likely to increase their purchase amounts.

The bottom line is while there are challenges to digital coupon campaigns, having the right foundation in place can help make coupons a valuable asset within the marketing mix.

Want to talk to someone about how to make digital coupons work for you? Contact us.

Additional Resources Which We Found Helpful:
Chief Marketer – “Deal and Promotion Seeking Behavior Grows
Coupons.com Inc – “New Research Reveals Shopping Behavior of Digital Coupon Users
The Neilsen Company Blog – “Smartphones: The Ultimate Shopping Companion

1 thought on “Are Digital Coupons Valuable for Marketing?”

  1. I think another issue with using coupons and particularly with ‘coupon hording’ sites is that people will, upon every purchase, search for a coupon. The purchase was already going to happen, but with the knowledge that these coupon hording sites the buyer knows they may be able to get something off it. In these cases the companies will only be losing money on their campaigns.

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