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The Shift Toward Digital Thrift

Remember when the Sunday newspaper was chock full of coupons for a wide range of products and services? Marketers would throw offers at consumers and hope for the best. Now, consumers are shelving their scissors in favor of digital coupons by a 10 to 1 ratio and marketers are taking notice. According to Inmar, online coupon redemption grew 263% in 2009 alone.  By distributing digital coupons across social media and online performance-based channels, marketers are using demographically tested and targeted solutions to connect with highly relevant, in-market consumers, on their terms.

Social Marketing and digital couponing are growing rapidly. eMarketer.com reported that online advertising in 2010 grew by 20% over 2009 generating 1.7 billion dollars in revenue. Kantar Media also reported that digital couponing offers made to consumers experienced a 23% spike in the consumer packaged goods industry. This combined growth will translate into more and more people searching for deals and discounts on social networks with Facebook likes and tweets driving brand awareness and eventually revenues. The online couponing world includes giants like Groupon and Living Social as well as daily deals sites promoting coupon codes and printable discounts. These varied approaches have unique audiences. Being able to target these diverse audiences requires incorporating diverse online performance marketing channels.

Affiliate marketers specializing in the surging digital couponing marketplace can get your offers placed with the right publishers. Last month, media firm Valassis and New America Marketing joined forces in a cross-publishing deal that aims to expand couponing’s reach with the online consumer public. Advertisers also benefit because they only pay for conversions and are never charged start-up or set-up fees. Affiliates conduct rigorous testing and tracking enabling them to wean out your worst-performing coupon offers. It is a low-risk, high-reward strategy.

Having a strong customer acquisition team to drive your digital couponing through email marketing will ensure that your offers stay top of mind with current and potential consumers. Being able to access a robust consumer database will ensure relevant digital coupons are hitting the appropriate audience. Linking social media to your email marketing strategy is a wise move considering online users spend more time on social sites than on email, according to a Digital Life survey. Like social media, email marketing offers the potential for immediate and cost-efficient user engagement.

Affiliate marketing and email marketing are not the only performance-based channels that should leverage digital couponing. Search marketers - social media as a non-traditional search engine is rapidly becoming the conversion route of choice for consumers with 48% of shoppers using a social site as their path to purchase as reported by eMarketer.com. Display advertisers can effectively target couponing banner ads to online users that fit the discount profile. Mobile couponing is worth mentioning within the performance landscape. Mobile check-ins give consumers real-time discounts at their favorite retail shops. According to Juniper Research, over 300 million global consumers will have used mobile coupons by 2014. This amounts to nearly $6 billion in worldwide revenue.

There is a definite shift toward digital thrift happening among online consumers. Digital coupons are cool, buzz worthy and much safer than wielding a pair of scissors around. Online performance marketers understand that buzz drives brand awareness, which drives ROI. Incorporating digital couponing into an online performance marketing strategy is a win-win for consumers and clients – people save money through and clients drive users to their online sites and local storefronts.


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