There is potential in providing consumers with digital coupons via social media, but the practice is barely getting started. Most consumer packaged goods marketers are focusing on Facebook and its 900 million-plus monthly users worldwide, but they also are using Twitter and blogs, as well as less popular social media tools like MySpace and Google+.
“The number of coupons going out via social media is currently very small,” admits Wade Allen, president, CouponFactory, a Dallas-based provider of digital coupons. We’re talking about a sub-segment of a sub-segment of a sub-segment. While it is small today, we see it becoming a very strong conduit for placing digital coupons.”
Of an overall $400 billion couponing market, only one and a half percent is digital, which includes print-at-home, save-to-loyalty-card and mobile, and of that, a much smaller percent is on social media. But the enthusiasm of digital coupon providers is much bigger.
“Social couponing is changing the way consumers receive coupons, and is changing the way brands build their consumer base. Brands that neglect to engage consumers in these social mediums will pay the price in the future as consumers come to adopt them as a place to engage with the brand and receive promotions and coupons,” says Allen.
Facebook remains a potent force in the online world despite various reports that show people spending less time on Facebook, the percentage growth of users flattening, and reports about big advertisers backing away from Facebook. Allen says coupons are delivered on regular Facebook pages controlled by the CPG companies where the number of “eyeballs” remains huge, and not in an advertising environment.
A survey by InSites Consulting found that 80% of U.S. companies have a presence on Facebook, while 48% are on LinkedIn, 45% on Twitter and 31% on YouTube. Yet leveraging social media is still new to many firms. Eleven percent of companies were integrating social media into their corporate strategy, and 17% were in a “mid-integration” stage.
The main advantage CPG companies see in Facebook is the ability to provide the coupons while keeping consumer “eyeballs” on the dedicated brand page, rather than redirecting them someplace else. Facebook itself has gotten so big that its strategy is to never have people leave its site.
“Brands are recognizing that there is a lot of power in conveying not only promotional material, but content within that social media. Coupons are one of those pieces that they are now focused on delivering
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