Coupon advertising is one of the oldest marketing channels still in use today. The triumph of digitalization has made it more relevant than ever. The importance of coupon portals for online shopping is demonstrated by the multi-million dollar acquisitions and investments that have taken place in recent years. For example, PayPal bought the American coupon platform Honey for USD 4 billion at the end of 2019. The global market leader in coupon advertising RetailMeNot was acquired by J2 Global for USD 420 million in 2020, and the Berlin-based coupon startup Lumaly received a seven-figure sum in a 2021 financing round.
Online shoppers who use coupons spend 24% more money than users without coupons. So the question is not whether advertisers should do coupon advertising, but how best to go about it.
Key Take Aways
Executive summary: 5 key take-aways for quick readers
- Online shoppers spend 24% more with coupons.
- More and more users are becoming smart shoppers.
- Coupon portals are becoming increasingly popular.
- SEO is an important factor in coupon advertising
- Advertisers need a coupon strategy.
What is coupon advertising?
Coupon advertising, or coupon marketing, is a marketing channel where (potential) customers are given discounts or rebates on their purchases. Most often, these discounts are a fixed amount of money or a percentage discount. But special coupons, like free shipping or an additional free product, are possible, too. Coupon marketing is a real all-rounder and, with the right strategy, is suitable for every industry – even in the B2B sector.
Coupon advertising can be used to pursue various goals:
- Reactivate existing customers
- Acquire new customers
- Sell specific products or services
- Increase shopping-cart values
- Reduce purchase cancellations
The popularity of coupon marketing is steadily increasing, since more and more users are becoming so-called smart shoppers. Before they buy anything online, users look for coupon codes to save money on their purchases.
What are the distribution channels for coupons?
In digital marketing, coupon distribution often takes the form of e-mails to existing or new customers. Some retailers also operate their own coupon apps. Influencers in the B2C and B2B sectors also frequently offer coupon codes, and thus act as distributors. Coupon portals – which collect coupons from thousands of stores and receive commissions – are becoming increasingly popular. Customers can simply search for a brand or store, and then find all the current coupon promotions. Some of these portals are also community-based, which means that anyone can enter coupon codes.
What should advertisers look for in a publishing partner?
When advertisers want to work with coupon portals, they are often spoilt for choice, because the range of offers is constantly increasing. The following factors can facilitate the selection of partners:
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- Ranking: Portals that are well-positioned on Google often reach the largest audience. The top three positions of the search results are particularly important.
- History: Is the portal established or is it relatively new? If it has no track record, proceed with caution.
- Trust: Does the coupon portal have good reviews?
- Account management: Are there dedicated contact persons for advertisers who ensure that the information and coupon codes are always up-to-date?
- Reach: How many users does the portal reach, locally and internationally?
Tips for successful coupon advertising
1. Focus from search engine optimization
This can happen in two ways: First, brands can dominate in search engine advertising. If users then search for “brand + coupon”, for example, they will receive ads for current coupon promotions directly on the store page. On the other hand, advertisers should maintain close relationships with publishers (coupon portals) that rank well in organic search. These are a good traffic supplier and multiplier for reaching even more people with coupon promotions.
2. Cooperate with publishers
Advertisers must take care to regularly update their content and provide the portals with up-to-date information. In addition, the conditions of the coupon should be clearly communicated. Nothing is more annoying than stumbling across expired coupons in the checkout process, or not being able to use coupons in the end because the conditions, such as a minimum order value, are not met.
3. Don’t forget existing customers
Coupon portals are ideal for attracting new customers, but coupon advertising also makes a lot of sense for existing customers. There are various seasonal occasions for issuing coupons: the user’s birthday, during the holidays, or as part of major events. Advertisers should use unique codes – coupon codes that can only be used once. This ensures that only their own user base can benefit from the special incentive.
Hands-on with Benjamin Boucher, Head of sales of digidip:
4 steps to a coupon strategy for advertisers
As is so often the case in marketing, nothing works without the right strategy. Without planning and monitoring, coupon marketing can quickly become a bottomless pit. If you follow these steps, your coupon strategy is sure to be successful:
In combination with clear campaign goals, individually-defined KPIs, and cooperation with the right publishers, coupons can be successfully integrated into your own marketing plan. With more and more smart shoppers among the customers, advertisers should seriously consider coupon marketing. Otherwise, the competition might get all the conversions.