Is couponing effective on Mobile?

Is couponing effective on Mobile?

Short answer: no. In fact, it is not just mobile, we have yet to find a digital product that works effectively for coupons.
What is the problem with digital coupons on mobile? The main reason digital coupons on mobile fail is that they are just too complicated for most people. Think about how the ads are served. You are on your mobile device in an app or browsing online and you see the ad. If you are intrigued and decide to engage or click that is great! However, with coupons, you also must now immediately download, print or screenshot the offer right there, or risk never being able to cash in on it. That is just not traditional consumer behavior.

The reality is, most people still need to see a paper coupon to know what to do with it, clip it or tear it and then remember to bring it in.

This graph illustrates that paper coupons are more successful than digital coupons:

One idea to combat this is to use a “wallet” approach to download coupons like an airline ticket for example. However, tested at scale it hasn’t been successful.  Some brands, like Target and Publix offer coupons on their apps as a workaround. Once the app is downloaded, consumers can click to save digital coupons and then enter a phone number or additional information at checkout to apply the savings.  Remember though, in this scenario it is not an ad that drove the coupon, the person is already likely in the store and then deciding which brand name product to purchase based on an offer.

So, what does work in digital advertising in terms of coupons? The absolute truth right now is not much.   The closest we found recently was Facebook offers but they shut down the product (similar issues as mentioned above).

Let’s put coupons aside and look at what is successful on mobile and what does work to drive sales! After all, that is always the main goal of any advertising campaign, driving sales at the cash register.

First consider the offer and consumer behavior:

While browsing on mobile or in apps, when consumers see an offer they may click immediately to the website or store it in their memory bank and go back to the website at another time. In either case, when they make their way back to the website, they expect to find details on the offer. We are not conditioned to snap a screenshot and put it in a wallet or save it, instead, we expect to be able to go to the website or walk into the store, restaurant, business and just redeem the offer.

Having a strong call to action is huge! Having a CTA that initiates excitement and action is critical.  What is the goal? Do we want people to map to the location? Make a call? Watch a video? Go to the website to learn more? What benefit will the consumer receive by clicking and engaging? Less words and very clear messages will drive better results.

Also keep in mind the importance of good graphics that are eye catching – you have only a few seconds to grab attention and you want people to remember it. Use humans in your ads when you can. Use photos rather than just logos and backgrounds. Show off your products by using images of exactly what you offer.

As for return on investment, our Mobile Conquesting™ product has amazing tracking capabilities. In addition to reporting back on impressions and clicks, we are also able to track specific actions and conversions on the client’s website, as well as physically track visits to a store location (or any location).

Don’t make consumers wait for, or worse yet come to expect a coupon from you in order to make a visit or purchase. Instead, show and highlight products and offers that make it worth it on their own, and track their online activity and visits to your location.


Share this post