TREND: SERP-Embedded Coupons as Belts Tighten

According to the June 2011 American Pulse Study by BIG Research, Americans have come to the realization that despite price increases, salaries will likely remain stagnant.  In fact, 89.9% of Americans with jobs don’t expect a pay increase in 2012 and will thus significantly cut spending each week.  Given no salary increase, people plan to make a variety of financial changes:

  • 58.9% spending less on clothing
  • 53.1% comparison shopping
  • 50.0% staying on a strict budget
  • 42% spending less on groceries
  • only 6.6% no change

Performance Marketing Implications

With more people focused on belt-tightening, brands must engage customers through deals and offers.  But with so many online discounters, coupon sites, and group-buying sites, how does your brand stand out from the crowd?  One way is to embed your coupon on the search engine results page (SERP).  Paid search advertisers have always focused on highlighting deals and offers within ad copy, but now advertisers have new in-SERP beta opportunities to embed coupons in search listings. 

One opportunity is Google Offers, which provides people with daily deals and coupons—similar to Groupon or LivingSocial.  Google Offer coupons can be embedded in top-sponsored paid search ads on desktop and mobile devices:

Offer Ad 
Top-sponsored Offer Ads stand out, providing incentive for searchers to give you a second glance as they’re seeking deals.  Searchers are able to redeem Offers online, print coupons to use in-store or show their mobile device to a cashier to scan the Offer’s barcode.  Mobile search Offer Ads are particularly appealing as searchers increasingly use their devices in-store to find deals. 

The SERP-embedded coupon trend—given fear of a recession relapse—has the potential to influence back-to-school and 2011 holiday paid search programs.

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