We’ve long known that coupons provide real traction for SMB advertising. Nothing beats a customer walking through the door with a coupon in hand. But a lot of SMB website publishers haven’t really focused on them.
DataSphere, on the other hand, has had a coupons product for some time. But it only recently has really zeroed in on their potential as “an adjacent space” to normal SMB activities, along with events, notes SVP Gary Cowan.
Coupons are actually easier to pull off than daily deals because “they don’t require the level of investment from partners,” he says. “They’re accessible to a wider set of companies. And they target advertising in a similar way.”
DataSphere, which is now in 85 markets with more than 300 sales reps, has taken an approach that more closely resembles “closed loop optimization,” adds Cowan. “We’re now helping businesses provide better content, and to make better offers. We tell them what the difference is between making an offer that is 10 percent off and 30 percent off.”
While coupons don’t drive the same volume as deal publishers such as Groupon, they lead to higher profitability because they feature smaller discounts, and have no commissions. They also typically run for longer time periods than deals.
DataSphere has also been focusing on exposing the coupons across a larger network of relevant sites, including Coupons.com. “There is no reason not to publish a coupon on several sites,” says Cowan. “It all goes to help the SMB advertiser in the end, and if they see more value, they’re more likely to stick around.”
With TV station partners such as Gannett and Fisher Communications, Cowan says the focus is on leveraging DataSphere’s increasing scale to “continuously evolve and add services with clear and demonstrable value for small local advertisers.”