Strategies for capturing the attention of social media deal-hunters

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Kentuckians go social for deals
Kentuckians go social for deals

After analyzing its year to this point on Facebook, an large online deal distributor has these tips for online marketers and e-coms. Put together a compelling deal and aim it at the Facebook pages of people in Kentucky, West Virginia, and New England. If it's the early part of the week, make sure it hits their screens early in the morning, before they leave for work. On Thursday, though, hold off until just before lunchtime. Friday?  Grab them when they start musing about the weekend, around 2:00 p.m.

Those are some general guidelines for direct marketers, courtesy of the folks at ShopAtHome.com.  One of the largest providers of online coupons and deals, with more than 50 million members, it crunched data emanating from two million-plus consumer actions on its Facebook page from Jan. 1 through Oct. 31 to produce its Social Shopper Buy-Havior Report. Here are highlights from the research, which was released today:

The states with the most socially savvy shoppers are Kentucky and West Virginia, which did more business with ShopAtHome on Facebook on a per capita household basis than any other states in the nation.  New England, always a hotbed of deal-hunters according to ShopAtHome, placed Maine and New Hampshire in the top five.

“Kentucky was very surprising to us,” says Becki Dilworth, director of online marketing at ShopAtHome. “In all the studies we've done, New England was always at the top. Denver and Salt Lake City rate high, as well. Interestingly, California is always near the bottom, though we think it's because deal-hunters there aren't as brand-conscious.”

ShopAtHome posts coupons and deals on its site on behalf of some 18,000 retailers, which pay a commission back to the site when deals are redeemed. ShopAtHome in turn sends a portion of its commission to members in the form of cash when they spend a monthly minimum of $20.

Both the time of day and day of the week that a marketer reaches a shopper can have a great impact on an offer's success, the survey also found.  Online shoppers depart from a pattern of early morning shopping when Thursday arrives. The 11 o'clock hour is when the Buy button is most like to be pressed on that day. On Friday, 2:00 p.m. is go-time, while noon is the money hour on Sunday. Dilworth was not as surprised by these results.

“I worked for a newspaper before coming here and these time breaks are very similar to high-volume online reading patterns,” says Dilworth, a veteran of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. “Early in the week, browsing patterns tend to be intentional and specific. Later in the week, people are daydreaming and are more apt to browse and consider random deals.”

The top five deals in terms of customer interest offered up on ShopAtHomes Facebook page in the first 10 months of the year were, in order, a 70% off sale from Nicole Miller, a one-day 20% off sale at Vera Bradley, a Justice flash sale, a Macy's one-day spectacular, and a Jones New York 75% off sale.  While the lesson here appears to be “the bigger the better,” Dilworth says the success of these deals had more to do with the segment it appealed to: mature women.

“We had other big offers that weren't nearly as successful,” she says. “Our site skews female and older. We share the most Facebook fans with Wal-Mart, and so we think that the combination of great deals on higher-end fashion was specifically appealing to this demographic.”

ShopAtHome has 4.2 million Facebook fans and founder Marc Braunstein notes that the social network accounts for 35% of its mobile business.

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