Printable Coupons: A Bridge to Affiliate Marketing

In yesterday’s Google Trends I noticed something pretty interesting.  Two coupon related keyword phrases were listed as top hot searches.  “Printable coupons,” and “extreme couponing” are listed as the tenth and fifteenth most popular hot search queries on Google respectively.  That’s incredible.  I can’t even image what that long tail traffic looks like.  I mean, I knew coupon searching is big, and I guess particularly so on a Sunday, but beating searches like “hope solo” (ranked 11) and listed among search queries like “breaking bad,” “world cup final,” and “scotland yard”??
Looks like this age old money-saving practice your mama used to do is more popular than ever.  You’ll even find thousands of sites devoted to extreme couponing where shoppers are saving 60%-80% on regular trips to the grocery store.  “Change the way you shop forever,” says Jill Cataldo, extreme couponer and founder of Super-Couponing.com, and there are thousands of others like her, preaching the secrets to saving money in-store.  I have to admit I spent nearly five minutes watching the video on her site, fascinated by intense love for coupons, ha!

 

What we have here is a population of dedicated, organized, and captivated buyers who are bridging the world of online advertising to offline purchasing with printable coupons.  I quick spin around offer directories like OfferVault and oDigger turns up a few thousand coupon related offers and feeds from various networks, but very few of these offers actually connect the end user to in-store purchases.  Most offers simply credit the affiliate for a lead when coupons are downloaded, printed, or viewed.  Judging by the size of this user base, it would make sense for big brand advertisers to connect in-store coupon purchases to their online affiliates rather than simply pay out leads without a purchase.  I wonder what those conversion rates might look like.

In case you’re not following me, here’s how the process works:

Printable Coupons Affiliate Marketing

So why aren’t advertisers connecting printable coupons to their online affiliates?  The funny part is that they already connect coupons to their mainstream offline publishers like newspapers and magazines, but they are not providing dynamic bar codes that include the online affiliates ID or another tracking ID.  There needs to be a simple way for advertisers to generate printable coupons that tie back to their online promoters.

You might remember a post I wrote a few months ago about a startup that used QR codes to take affiliate links to the offline world.  Doing the same for printable coupons shouldn’t be much more of a stretch and would provide incredible data to the advertiser.

What are you doing with Coupons?

As much as I searched, I could not find a single example of a company that is doing this.  Do you happen to know of one?  Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re a HasOffers customer, are you working with more coupon sites and offers in general?  Let us know what you’re doing, if you’re working with printable coupons, and how you’d like to see that tracking functionality work.

Peter Hamilton

Peter is CEO and Partner at TUNE. Developing his early skills as an online marketer in SEO, PPC, and Media Buying, he met the twin co-founders of TUNE in 2009 and had the opportunity to join prior to day one, leading product marketing for the company's first launch. He continues to contribute to media, white papers, analysts, and industry blogs with the goals of educating mobile marketers and making the digital marketing ecosystem more connected. Follow @peterhamilton

  • James

    Hey Peter, Great blog post. We recently launched http://www.vouchersin.com.au/ using the hasoffer network to track all sales. I would be interested in finding out what additional advertising avenues we could investigate with printable coupons.

  • Thuffman

    Our agency at http://www.IonicMedia.com has been doing this for several years, with exceptional results. Works well with both well-established brands with national retailer distrbution, as well as smaller brands with more niche distribution channels.

    • http://www.hasoffers.com Peter Hamilton

      That’s awesome to hear.  Have you guys noticed any abnormal increase in coupon usage recently?  Have daily deals impacted this part of your business for better or worse?

    • PaulR

      We manage a network of websites and blogs that focus on coupons and trial offers and I can say that coupons have never been bigger.   The consumers are learning how to stretch their dollar in this economy. 

      It also helps companies to be able to introduce new consumers to their products.  I know my wife switched over to Bausch & Lomb after ordering a free sample and downloading a coupon for them. 

    • Jit

      Hi , do you accept other affiliate network as publisher? I have some coupon site owners mainly pushing bidz, penny auction , printable coupon lead offers etc. If you are interested to expand your reach through our publishers please contact me at admin@leadprofitmedia.com

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  • Ora

    Peter, great article! I couldn’t agree with you more. The only problem is that if you type in the search window of the HasOffers support section the word “coupon” you get 0 results…  Our network has a lot of offline affiliates who need coupons for pure tracking purposes, and some of them need more then one coupon code to identify their multiple sources. The workaround for this solution is the complete opposite of streamlining. I would love to have a solution where affiliates can choose their own coupon codes and do with them whatever they need to bring traffic.

  • http://twitter.com/markofmac Mark Macdonald

    Quidco have been doing this as well as in-store cashback in the UK for  while. Innovative stuff!

    http://www.quidco.com/printable-vouchers/
    https://www.quidco.com/in-store-cashback/

  • http://twitter.com/AffiIiate Clayton

    I have seen programs allow the affiliate generate the coupon code

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  • http://twitter.com/myedagent myedagent

    So is there a way to do this with HasOffers?  Is this what Dan McCaarthy is doing as set out in the QR codes approach above?

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  • http://www.uDealium.com Zach

    Interesting to come across this post. I was just talking to somebody today about how I’ve been looking for a bet
    better printable coupon distribution network that I could tap into for uDealium.com – A search engine for coupons, discounts and promo codes.. The exact model you outlined is exactly what I was talking about.

    We are an affiliate of Coupons.com, but I’d love to offer a broader range of printable coupons from big brand retailers and restaurants and earn commission on a per use basis rather than a per print. There is a huge need for this type of network in the US and it would be a win-win-win for consumers, merchants and affiliates.

  • http://www.hasoffers.com/blog Peter Hamilton

    Thanks for the comment Zach! I think a lot of people underestimate the value of this, including big coupon sites. We’re all about helping businesses track this stuff :)

  • Jessica Li

    You should check out the #1 local promotion website. They are the only company offer local affiliate program in each state. You simply promote local business coupons and invite local business to offer coupons. You will then get paid month after month. It’s the best local printable coupons site though. 

    http://www.smartlocalshoppers.com/#aa=coupon