Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hey retailers, it's time to step up your coupon game!

Hate to be the bearer of bad news retailers but I can't find your coupons online.  I've run countless coupon related searches (on all of the major search engines) for some of your largest brands such as Staples, Target, McDonalds, Home Depot, and CVS to name a few. To be quite honest, it's a lousy consumer experience.

All I see are countless affiliate sites that claim to offer me coupons from the retailer but RARELY deliver.  Sites like serve up links which you think will provide you with a coupon but all they do is redirect you to the retailer's home page.  I invite you to try it.  Click on one of the green 'Activate Coupon' buttons to access the particular coupon:  It tells you to 'Please wait while we activate your deal' as it downloads who knows what to your system.  Just when you get excited about being presented with a coupon that you can print out and take into the redirects you to the retailer's home page.  That's some kind of bargain folks!  Really?  If I wanted to visit the retailer's homepage guys, I would have typed in their brand URL directly.  Lousy experience.

Where are the real coupons online retailers?  You know, the coupons that we all get bombarded with in our mail boxes each and every day at home but get tossed away only to realize that we probably should have kept some of them for later use?  The ones that come directly from the retailers themselves where they spend millions on design, packaging, and postage?  Those 2-for-1 offers??  Why is it so hard to get access to those same coupons directly from the retailer's own web site instead of being taken on some kind of wild treasure hunt all over the web?  By searching for your coupons, I'm actively telling you I want an incentive to visit your brick and mortar store.  Problem is, you're not delivering!  Missed sale opportunity.

Perhaps retailers just haven't done their due diligence in researching the online and mobile coupon opportunity vs. the offline coupon market.  Here are some key data facts they ought to be aware of:

- Mail paper coupons deliver a redemption rate of 1%-5% on average while online click-to-print and mobile coupons offer redemption rates of 10%-20%

- The projected total redemption value of mobile coupons globally by 2016 will be $43 billion (yes, that's billion).  Just to put that in perspective, the revenue forecast for "big data" (the hot topic in the online world of late) by the same date (2016) is supposed to be $48 billion 

- 51% of consumers print out the offer or promotion after opening, looking at, or reading deals online via PC  (Yahoo! study)

- $10 driven offline for every $1 spent online (Google study)

- For every $1 generated in online sales for coupon related search terms, $6 were generated in offline sales (RevTrax study)

- Of those that have used a QR code, 87% have accessed it to get a coupon, discount or deal (MGH study)

- Percentage of mobile coupon users worldwide is expected to jump to 35% by 2014 vs. 2.7% in 2010 (Yankee Group study)

- Huge spike in coupon related search request on Yahoo! starting in March 2011 through the end of the year (Yahoo! Clues)

- Growth in coupon related search requests on Google from mid 2008 through end of 2011 (Google Trends)

Perhaps retailers don't realize that coupons that are served from online ads and redeemed in-store can be traced back to the online ad it was referred from.  There is a fabulous company out of New York, named RevTrax that is in the business of providing online-to-offline redemption analytics for some major retailer brands.  They can take any coupon or offer that is driven through a search, display, email, or social ad and map the in-store redeemed coupon/offers back to the ad to help the advertiser/retailer better understand the effectiveness of their online advertising efforts.  The myth of not being able to track online-to-offline is over.

Whatever the issues are, retailers are missing the boat when it comes to moving online consumers to their brick-and-mortar retail stores.  Coupon redemption is a monster business (as you can see by the data above, the quick growth of daily deal sites and extreme couponing).  Those who do the best job of spreading their coupons across multiple channels such as snail mail, social, display, search, email, and tv (yes tv.  think of opportunities like pushing a coupon from your brand's prime time commercial through Yahoo's Into Now mobile app) will win.

Come on retailers, it's 6pm I'm hungry and I'm armed with either a PC, a mobile phone, a tablet, or a television.....entice me with your best offer!   

Friday, January 06, 2012

Monetizing Big Data In Yahoo Web Analytics

There's been a lot of talk/press already around Yahoo's new CEO, Scott Thompson, and his thoughts on big data at Yahoo.  Here are a few examples that have already been written since yesterday:

Yahoo's New CEO Has Data Focus
Can Yahoo's New CEO Thompson Harness Big Data Analytics?
The Key To Yahoo's Long Term Health? Data, Says New CEO

Rest assured though, Yahoo has some of the best big data geniuses around.  A company like Yahoo has to have some smart data guys when you're bringing in over 700 million monthly unique visitors to your properties each month.  Ever heard of Hadoop?  "The most well known technology used for Big Data is Hadoop. Hadoop is used by Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn and Facebook. Google uses a proprietary version of Hadoop" And Hortonworks, a big data company that  spun out from Yahoo this past summer expects that "Half the worlds data will be on Hadoop in 5 years"

So if Mr Thompson is looking to monetize "big data", he seems to have come to the right place.

On the web analytics side, Yahoo is in fact already tapping into its big data and leveraging it via it's Yahoo! Web Analytics platform. Clients (advertisers, publishers, agencies, etc) of Yahoo Web Analytics get to take advantage of demographic metrics such as age, gender, and online interests when they add Yahoo Web Analytics script to their web site's pages.

These types of metrics are only available thanks to Yahoo's massive audience reach (where 80% of the US population is touched). The millions of visitors who traverse across Yahoo's #1 trafficked pages or sign up for Yahoo products (fantasy sports, mail, instant messenger, finance portfolios, etc) provide extremely valuable data that Yahoo can aggregate up anonymously and provide insights to their clients.

With these metrics in hand, advertising clients can drive more targeted audience campaigns and publishers can develop more targeted audience content across their pages. The result is more visitor traffic (clicks and impressions) on ads and more engagement on web sites leading to improved conversion numbers.

And a happy client means more spend back to Yahoo.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

New Study Proves True In-Store Value of Online Clicks

Visit the Yahoo! Advertising Blog to read about how effective online search is at driving offline sales revenue.

In a nutshell:

For every $1 of revenue generated through online search, $6 of revenue is generated offline!

For all of you fans of cross-channel attribution, this is a must read!

Click here for the study.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Powerful Keyword Insights In Yahoo! Clues

Not sure if you've had a chance to check out Yahoo! Clues yet, but if you haven't, I would take a look if you're responsible for managing search advertising at your company.  There is some powerful and insightful keyword data available in the Trend Analysis section.

Yahoo! Clues (beta) is a search keyword trending tool.  While it gives you a peek inside what's trending for searches on Yahoo! (sports, people, places, etc), it also gives you a peek into how your business stacks up against your competition when it comes to keyword searches.

One of my favorite reports under Trend Analysis tab is called Search Flow.  What Search Flow provides is "a list of the most probable previous and following user searches from an analysis of aggregated search patterns across Yahoo! Search. The top item under Previous Queries represents the most probable search term people tried before this search query. Similarly, the top item under Next Queries represents the most probable search term people tried after this search query."

Below is a good example.  By typing the term 'Staples' into the Find Trends box and clicking on the Discover button, I am able to see the most probable search keywords that people used BEFORE they searched for the term 'Staples' and then the most probable search keywords that people used AFTER they searched for the term 'Staples'.

This is very insightful data because it allows you, the advertiser, to get into the mind of your consumer/visitor.  With just this data alone, we can start to pick up on some interesting trends here.

First, we see that the consumers are interested in finding store locations as we see them searching for "staples locations" and "staples center" in the Previous Queries.  In the Next Queries we see the same trend of searches for "staples locations" and "staples center".  This obviously lets us know that a lot of visitors who come to Yahoo! and search for "Staples" are looking for store locations.  As an online marketer, these are good keywords to bid on because you know that a lot of your consumers are searching for them.  Also, by helping your consumer easily find your store, it will help drive foot traffic to your brick and mortar business.

The second trend we see here is discounts!  In Previous Queries, consumers searched for "staples easy rebates".  In the Next Queries, they searched for "staples coupons".  This trending data lets you know that your consumers are looking for deals to entice them to come to your store.  As an online advertisers/marketer, you should make it easy for your consumers to find discounts/coupons for your business.  Perhaps bid up on keywords such as "Staples Coupons" and make sure you provide your consumers with a landing page that gives them easy access to any coupons you have available (could be printable, mobile, etc).

The other advantage to looking at data under the Trend Analysis tab is gathering competitive intelligence.  If I also add in the search term "Office Max" to the Find Trends box, I get all sorts of great insights into how my Staples audience/consumers perform compared to how Office Max's audience/consumers perform.

In this competitive view we get...

Traffic Data Insights

Gender Data Insights

Geographic Data Insights

Search Flow & Related Searches Insight

The fact that this competitive data is freely available and already aggregated up for you (thanks to Yahoo) is amazing!  I recommend sharing Yahoo! Clues with your online marketing team so that they can leverage the insightful data to help drive a more profitable online business.