Google Maps to Distribute Free Coupons

6 comments

Google is going to allow merchants to upload coupons to Google Local.

The world's top Web search supplier is taking advantage of the marketing tool, which is traditionally used by small businesses, to entice U.S. consumers to seek out savings from local retailers such as dry cleaners, pizza delivery restaurants and auto repair shops.

Google has partnered with Valpak, the top U.S. supplier of coupon advertising, to provide more than 20,000 coupons from current Valpak advertisers when consumers search for relevant stores using its Google Maps map and local directory service.

They are also going to let advertisers buy generic terms and tie those ad buys to coupon pages, thus tying online marketing to offline sales. Google probably just won local search with that one.

Comments

got to hand it to them

This is pretty clever marketing. I would imagine this will certainly get the ball rolling on more mainstream takeup particularly if the stores promote their Google local presence offline.

Bringing it to the People

There are lots of local businesses who could take advantage of this and be able to measure ROI very easily. The biggest obstacle I see is getting the message those businesses. That's why it's important Google stop engaging in things that upset publishers and SEM's who happen to be sneezers with things like the adwords debacle.

Google probably just won

Google probably just won local search with that one.

Hate to cite something without having the source handy, but there are studies you can read about the very low rate of coupon redemption in recent years, from supermarkets to restaurants and most other industries, too. (There are some exceptions.) I don't think coupons are gonna get businesses off the couch, or get searchers more excited, either.

I'd say Yahoo has a better chance at winning local with the low-cost "Featured Listings" program which copies the fixed pricing model that small businesses are comfortable with (å la yellow pages), and includes the free "locator page" for folks without a web site.

(Plus, Yahoo Local is just a better overall source of information than Google Maps, anyway. IMO)

two thoughts

One: when I see a company really go after couponing, I hear taps. Not sure why, it just seems to be a desperate grasp extended by so many in the past before they admitted their problems.

Two: I see yellow page ads following the (failed) coupons. Coupon is aways exciting to the advertiser, and as noted, doesn't often deliver as expected. Upsell the coupon enthusiast to a display ad? Now there's a back door to the yellow page money.

Tracking

Some businesses use coupons as a way to track the effectiveness of different advertising methods. They're not necessarily a sign of trouble.

coupons - crack cocaine of

coupons - crack cocaine of retail.

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