Mobile coupons gain ground in the digital marketing race

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Maria Mandel
Maria Mandel

Current adoption numbers for mobile couponing may be low, but there are signs for growth. Mobile coupons are catching on, especially for businesses targeting a younger demographic. Although they are still new on the scene, more companies, restaurants and grocery stores are launching mobile coupon initiatives each month. Exposure is growing, and so is adoption.

Mobile couponing takes many forms, each with strengths and limitations. Types of mobile coupons range from SMS offers to mobile online deals and applications.

An example of an SMS offer for discounts and promotions is a campaign we recently ran for Procter & Gamble's Pampers brand, which avoided point-of-sale redemption issues. We worked with Pampers to launch a 24-hour “Text2Save” pilot on the Pampers Facebook page. We offered a $1 coupon, paid by lowering a consumer's AT&T phone bill when the customer texted a code found inside the purchased packaging.

A uniquely coded offer, through a 2D code or barcode, requires validation and a 2D scanner at the point of sale. It is usually delivered through an application, multimedia message or text message link. AT&T is in the process of rolling out our 2D scanner and codes, which could be leveraged for couponing.

Another option is a mobile coupon tied to a retailer's loyalty program. In this case, a consumer can have a loyalty card scanned, versus a mobile device, at the point of sale.

Mobile Web and application offers are gaining some popularity where redemption is managed by the retailer. One example includes coupons that have been integrated into AT&T's YPmobile Yellow Pages directory. YPmobile users can click on the coupon icon and go directly to the corresponding page, where they can access special offers.

Typical mobile coupon offers can be presented within a mobile application, and offers such as price reduction, coupons, samples and buy-one-get-one-free can be distributed this way. An advertiser can also dynamically generate offers to have different expiration dates, values, products and participating locations, depending on who you are targeting, when you are targeting them, their purchase behavior and their location.

As people get more comfortable looking up information on the go, mobile coupons will become a natural extension of that and grow in popularity. 

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