Coupons in a Multi-Device World

Image Source http://searchengineland.com/

Image Source http://searchengineland.com/a-look-at-cross-device-search-conversion-125299

Let’s face it – we are a society that is always on the go. From choosing the next game console to shopping for the latest trendy apparel, consumerism is what makes this world go ‘round. We now have a handful of devices to use to make these purchases. I don’t know about all of you, but I always have at least two devices within arm’s reach wherever I am. Whether it is my iPhone, iPad mini, iPad, PC or Macbook – We are living in a multi-device era, and I am running out of pockets.

Before all of these devices were created, it was much easier to track conversions from different sources. A click was just a click and it either turned into a conversion or it didn’t. Now, we have multiple clicks to hundreds of finger swipes. This presents some new and unique tracking challenges. For example, how do we know if someone saw a display ad on a desktop, did not click (but rather reminded themselves to go to the company site later when they had time), and went to the company site on their smart phone and turned into a conversion later that night? That display ad should get the credit. So now the question becomes, how do we effectively measure ad dollars in this multi-device world? While solutions like universal analytics offer some hope, there is a simple way to measure value across devices, and that is through (drumroll please) – coupon tracking.

Consumers want the most bang for their buck, so taking that extra time to insert that coupon code on a purchase page is well worth the effort. With larger accounts, there will likely be a bunch of coupon codes (and landing pages), but trust me, it will be worth the tracking purposes to see what is coming from each device and type of network (display, paid search, social media, etc.). This may not be the strategy that answers every tracking problem, but it at least gives some sort of value to each device and network, which then makes it easier to allocate the budget wisely.

Currently, there are three types of devices a user can search through: desktop, tablet and mobile. Now that Google’s enhanced campaigns are here, desktop and tablet devices are more or less combined from a paid search perspective. This will hinder the ability to separate budget, bidding strategies and overall control with these two devices, which many are complaining about. However, Google’s reasoning for this is because they are noticing desktop and tablet users’ consumer behaviors are becoming very similar. So in terms of coupon coding, desktop will contain tablet data as well. Yes, this method will mean more hours into landing pages and tracking coupon code data, but consumer behaviors’ are constantly changing, so having as much specific user conversion data as possible is worth it to me. Remember, there is no such thing as too much data. Knowing how to interpret the data and make optimizations is how you come out on top.

conversion funnel.jpg

Multi-Device Coupon Tracking Strategy

 Let’s say we are working on a retail account that is running display ads and paid search ads. They are giving away free shipping and want to advertise that. An example of coupon coding could be:

– “DDfreeship” (Display, desktop)

– “DMfreeship” (Display, mobile)

– “PMfreeship” (Paid search, mobile)

It is a good idea to keep the coupon codes easy to remember to cut down time in the purchase process. The faster you get that user through the funnel, the more likely your conversion rate will increase. Not only that, but the user will remember it was an easy process, which could become a deciding factor on coming back or not. Do not forget to consider that people shop online for the convenience and time saving as well.

You could also do split testing on display ads with different offers or discounts. Landing page testing could also be done in paid search and your coupon coding could be:

– “PMfreeship” (Paid search, mobile, free shipping)

– “DD25off” (Display, desktop, 25% off)

– “DMbuy1halfoff” (Display, mobile, buy 1, get another half off)

Now let’s put this in a real life scenario. Let’s say a consumer is at work and decides to take a break and starts shopping for boots on their desktop. They click on a paid search ad for 25% off all boots ad and go to the landing page with that coupon. About five minutes in of looking at all the choices of boots, they jot down the coupon code for the 25% (PD25off), to use later when home and can make the final decision on the type of boots they want. Later that night when home, they use their mobile in bed to go straight to the company homepage, find the boots they wanted and use the desktop code. This way, we did not lose the conversion value from that desktop click, even though the user switched to their mobile during the buying process. If the user also went home and used a desktop to go directly to the company page, we would also be able to track that conversion to a desktop paid search ad.

If your homepage already contains coupons, we want to make sure the user doesn’t use those coupon codes, so we can make them different with less of an offer. This way, it will help separate conversions between the direct traffic and paid traffic. Having coupons and promo codes on the brand homepage is also beneficial because it gives those users some incentives to purchase too.

All in all there are so many different options when it comes to coupons. Bar codes could be placed on coupons so users can just save the coupon in their phone or email the coupon to themselves and use it in stores. This way, offline conversions are being tracked as well. Mobile is booming, however, because of the small screen size, it is more difficult to get the conversion on that device, but it still plays a big part in the buying funnel and needs the credit. Mobile is also proving to be huge in converting shoppers in store while tablet/desktop shopping tends to be done more online. This is why it is also important to count the offline conversion to the mobile paid source to better understand cross device conversions.

Image from http://marketingland.com/study-77-percent-of-smartphone-driven-retail-purchases-happen-in-stores-45068

Image Source http://marketingland.com/study-77-percent-of-smartphone-driven-retail-purchases-happen-in-stores-45068

As the online advertising world gets more complex with added devices and networks, it seems fitting to implement a simple tracking method. What are your ideas on cross-device tracking?

Arielle Jessel, SEM Specialist

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3 Comments

  1. Norm
    2013-06-22 16:14:20

    This is the kind of thinking that drives retail business. Marketers need to be testing the effectiveness of coupons cross device/cross channel and search needs to enhance the purchasers intent to buy.

  2. Adiela
    2013-06-11 18:09:49

    This was a great read. A quick, easy-to-implement solution for a problem that's becoming more and more difficult to stay on top of with the proliferation of all kinds of mobile devices.

  3. Kyu
    2013-06-11 18:08:30

    I do believe that being able to measure in-store revenue lift due to online advertising is an important component for large retailers. However, the big question is how to optimize such advertising campaigns... How would it be possible to distinguish which traffic source did contribute the most to the success of the in-store revenue lift? (Well written!)

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