Groupon’s Summer Marketing: Big Break or Brand Bust?

For digital marketers, fall consists of crunching numbers to see which summer marketing campaigns were hits — and which were flops.

For coupon site Groupon, which offers deals to push consumers to spend money at local and national stores, some hot (and not-so-hot) days occurred. Let’s look at Groupon’s traffic data to see where it spurred shoppers and where it languished.

Summer Savings Draw Customers

For many of us, June 12 might have been an unremarkable day, but it was probably memorable for Groupon. Thanks to a special Starbucks offer, the coupon giant saw huge spikes in web traffic.

That day, shoppers pounced en masse on Groupon’s $10 Starbucks certificate for just $5. The day it ran the national Starbucks promotion, the site’s traffic more than doubled.

Excited by the staggering numbers, Groupon held another event, $5 Deal Day, just five days later. The site again saw a 20 percent spike in traffic. Currently, Groupon offers $5 Deal Days periodically to keep consumers coming back for more.

Consumers Close Up Shop for the Holidays

Based on our report, Independence Day was one of Groupon’s worst traffic days of the summer; site visits dipped a full 30 percent from the norm. The trend held for other summer holidays, like Father’s Day, with a lackluster 60 percent of normal traffic to the site.

While customers love great deals, they also love taking breaks from the rat race during holidays. Are people putting burgers before bargains on summer holidays? Groupon’s site traffic indicates they might be.

It’s also possible those looking for holiday deals are doing so offline. With many major retailers running special in-store discounts on holidays, consumers might be grabbing their friends and families for some social shopping instead.

Learn From the Numbers

Marketers can take cues from Groupon’s data to shape their own fall campaigns:

1. Opt for One Big Promotion, Not Many Smaller Ones

If shoppers love one thing, it’s discounts. But knocking five percent off of everything in your store won’t draw crowds like one big, eye-popping discount will. Groupon knows this, and its offerings — like $5 coupons that net customers $10 — make people feel like they’re actually making money.

Look at the massive popularity of Black Friday, created solely with the idea that door-buster discounts are the best way to spur consumer engagement. People buy impulsively when they see huge deals.

2. Rally Your Customer Base

When Groupon offered its successful Starbucks promotion, it prepped customers by advertising the deal to hundreds of millions of users via email. And it used its app — which drives 50 percent of Groupon’s business — and affiliate network to shout the news from the rooftops. Groupon also offers monetary incentives to encourage customers to invite their friends.

3. Don’t Rely on Holidays

While many brands leverage holidays to bolster sales figures, Groupon’s figures show consumers also have other priorities during these special days. Holiday events can help slumping sales figures, but brands should focus on strong offers rather than depend on holiday surges. People want to visit their families, eat big meals, and relax rather than shop for great deals.

4. Run a National Campaign

Groupon’s data shows that national campaigns tend to beat localized ones. The site’s first national deal was a smash — it teamed up with Gap Inc. and saw phenomenal effects, selling 441,000 Groupons in one day, totaling more than $11 million in sales. National deals access a huge customer base, and customers don’t have to worry about particular locations denying their coupons.

To boost sales before the end of the year, don’t underestimate the tried-and-true power of incentives. Groupon’s story shows us, if nothing else, that a great deal is really tough to pass up.

 

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