Social is the Unexplored Frontier of Digital Promotions

revtraxJuniper Research says that consumers will redeem $91 billion in digital offers by 2022, up from $47 billion in 2017.  Almost 60% of US internet users redeemed a digital offer or code at least once in 2016. And, three quarters of consumers spend $10-50 more than planned when they use a digital promotion. In short, digital promotions are big business.

The biggest question for marketers is neither whether brands will continue to offer offers or if consumers will continue to use them. The real question is what digital channels will drive the additional growth in digital offer redemption.

At RevTrax, we have delivered millions of digital promotions in the past year. We can measure path-to-purchase insights, and view this redemption data through a variety of different lenses. Where did customers most engage? Which categories saw the strongest redemption?

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By aggregating hundreds of millions of data points, anonymized across millions of individual customers and hundreds of brands, we can understand how redemption rates vary across categories (i.e. Kids, Pet, Health, Home, Personal Care, and more), but also how promotions perform across marketing channels.

In a promotions benchmarking report that we published in June 2018, some results were self-explanatory. For example, the channels of Search (28%) and Brand Websites (27%)  drive the most promotional performance, with social and email not far behind. Intuitively, this makes sense, since most brand offers reside on a brand’s Website, and Search is the paid media source most closely linked to driving brand traffic.

While the numbers for Social are high, when we take a closer look, we can see that there is still significant opportunity there.  Brands have not integrated their promotions consistently across all categories. Given the presence of social media in people’s lives it may come as a surprise that brands have not all integrated social into their digital promotions. But in fact, several large categories are not investing enough in social.  Interestingly, two major brand categories – namely Kids and Personal Care –  don’t even register social promotions within our Benchmark study.

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The sector that has successfully channeled social into digital promotion success may not surprise avid social media users: pets.  We already know that adorable animal photos are how you win the internet. At a 31% Social redemption rate, the Pet category is 9% above the channel benchmark in RevTrax’s report.

Based on our Benchmark data, we can see that the Baby and Kids category is most poised for growth in social. And let’s be honest, kids and babies drive social traffic almost as much as pets! Thus far the category is under-utilizing social, but with a highly targeted and involved audience – just like pet owners – this category will fair well on social.

Boasting solid returns when they are used, social promotions are a point of interest for marketers looking to extend their marketing efforts to new channels.

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We just passed the prime of back to school shopping season. Parents were making purchases for their kids – whether school supplies, lunch box treats, backpacks, or sneakers and clothes. But while brands responded with influencer and brand image campaigns, we saw few examples of digital promotions on social media for this category.

For example, Pinterest reported that 50 million back to school shoppers were set to use its platform, and major children and family brands like Kohl’s and The Children’s Place responded with ads on the platform. But those ads drove users to the brand websites, but did not offer specific redemption opportunities.

Digital offers are different – and often more powerful – than some of the ads being run on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter today by kids and baby brands. By offering specific, customized and personal promotions on social, brands can increase sales, while also increasing insights into customer purchases, driving customer loyalty and identifying customer behaviors and interests that drive further sales.

But also, it’s important to remember that social doesn’t exist in a vacuum. More often than that, brands fall victim to “channel thinking.” At RevTrax, we define success as using performance inputs across brands and marketing channels to help inform how clients can truly optimize their offers in social. This ensures that everything is connected across the marketing stack as opposed to thinking about channels in isolation. Social is maximized when it’s part of a true omnichannel strategy that includes consistent promotions optimized for each customer across the board.

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