Hearst adds coupons to online content

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Delish.com is the first Hearst site to add coupons
Delish.com is the first Hearst site to add coupons

Hearst Magazines Digital Media has part­nered with Coupons.com to add online, printable coupons to its Web sites − a first for the company.

The rollout follows a month-long test run of the couponing program on Hearst's budget-focused Quick and Simple Web site, which saw users printing 56,000 coupons worth $100,000 in just a month. A coupon gallery now appears on food site Delish.com — which boasts more than 5.5 million unique monthly visitors — and will expand to other Hearst sites, like Good Housekeeping's and Redbook's, in the coming months.

“We've been watching consumers click more on content that involves saving money across all our sites,” said Chris Johnson, VP of content and business development, Hearst. “We were running test editorial to see if people were interested in the theme of saving money [on] food, and they were.”

Johnson pointed to recent ComScore numbers as proof of coupons' growing popularity with American consumers: In December 2008, searches that included words like “coupon” hit 19.9 million — a 19.9% increase over December 2007 — according to ComScore. The word “dis­count” rose 26% to 7.9 million.

“Adding coupons was a response to peo­ple's wallets being a little thinner,” he added. “They need their dollars to go farther and are looking for ways to do that while enjoy­ing the same recipes [as] before.”

In addition to the printable coupon gal­lery, Hearst has placed a coupons option in the sites' navigation bars and is adding hyperlinked coupons for specific ingredients into the recipes on Delish.com. For example, if a recipe calls for two teaspoons of salt, a link there might lead to a “20 cents off Mor­ton's salt” coupon. Hearst also is exploring ways to provide coupons through a weekly “Super Saver” e-mail program to readers.

Adding coupons to its sites will not only help Hearst better engage site users. The move also presents more opportunities for the company's sales team, which plans to add coupon opportunities to packages for core advertisers.

The company is observing user behavior for use in future optimization of the offers, but right now there are no plans to target specific coupons to specific users.

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