Coupons are hot in a down economy, and printable online coupons — and even mobile coupons — are gaining share in the coupon business. But local SMBs aren’t always in on the game, as coupon sites frequently gravitate toward one-stop national accounts.
Now, Analog Analytics, a San Diego-based vendor, is pushing a clever mobile solution that allows online local publishers to feature display ads that have SMS promotion codes built in. Consumers show the coupon on their phones to retailers for conversion.
Use of the mobile coupon provides complete analytics (impressions, clickthrough rates, texts, e-mail and conversions). Among the 850 publishers currently working with the solution are MediaNews Group, Village Voice Media, Local.com, Wick Communications, Freedom Interactive and The San Diego Reader. More than 25,000 ads are being supported, and the company has just expanded beyond the U.S. with a new Australian operation. Chinese operations are currently being eyed.
Company founder Ken Kalb, a longtime search vet, says the mobile coupon solution is the natural successor to low click display campaigns. The engagement of a local promotion typically boosts clickthrough rates by 2 percent to 10 percent — 10 times higher than national online ads. Revenues might see a 20 percent to 30 percent boost within six weeks of launching.
Kalb notes that the coupons are sold via local sales forces, or alternatively, via a self-serve platform. Affiliate marketing programs from other online coupon companies just aren’t a good alternative, he says. They typically pay just three cents per click. They also don’t offer much support for local advertisers in terms of analytics or upsells.
In fact, Analog’s self-serve platform also offers an upsell gift certificate program, which brings in immediate revenues for advertiser and publisher alike, as well as the “Bigger, Better Deal,” a daily promotion special. It also encourages frequent updating of ad copy and promotions. The platform also enables the development of opt-in marketing lists.
Is it too soon for mobile coupons on a mass media basis? It might be. As a backup, Analog Analytics does support print-out options. But this solution is an interesting one that might bring a source of renewed interest for local media companies. They continue to bring in more eyeballs than other media on their Web sites, but often have a hard time proving their value.
Analog Analytics CEO Ken Kalb is a featured speaker at Marketplaces 2010. He’s on the “Back to Square One: Refocus on Revenues” panel with Adicio Chief Alliance Officer Tony Lee and Matchbin CEO Reed Brown.