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BizReport : Ecommerce : February 21, 2007

Marketers need to offer online coupons in context

Showing ads out of context - like advertising a ski vacation package on a financial news website - may gain a lot of attention. Online coupon hubs hope in-context advertising of their bargains will do the same.

by Kristina Knight

Run a search for "online coupons" and a number of coupon-based websites will pop up. The problem is, these sites are separated from the retail outlets, making users click between windows. The coupon hubs say this isn't good enough and are considering a new stance: placing their coupons on sites that are used by shoppers every day.

For example, a recipe site could have coupons for the ingredients of a specific recipe or coupons could be placed on Colorado or Idaho websites to advertise bargains on ski gear. By placing the coupons in context rather than on a separate sites that users have to find, retailers believe they will increase online traffic and sales.

Compared to coupon inserts in the Sunday newspapers, online coupon use has been relatively slow. Only about 12% of online shoppers use coupons even though online coupons are sometimes much better than traditional store coupons. Rather than getting 50-cents off a loaf of bread, shoppers can receive free shipping or percentages off a single item or an entire order, making online shopping a bargain.

Tags: contextual advertising, online coupons, online shopping

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