As many remember, last year the Google/Groupon deal, an almost $6 billion acquisition, just didn’t pan out. What these group ‘deal-of-the-day’ sites, that are focused on collective buying power, may not have anticipated is that Google loves to find an online product, study it, and do it their own way – voila, Google Offers. It’s no surprise that Google has shown massive interest in this model as group buying sites are one of the hottest trends in eCommerce today, and appear to have dropped anchor in the ocean of eMarketing. So how does an SEO Company develop a strategy for their clients with a new competitor such as group buying sites?
First of all, the SEM strategy of group-buying sites is more focused on paid search than the more traditional SEO services. Their thinking is that you can achieve top SERP results with a shorter-term budget by doing more paid ads than organic search. Companies such as Groupon and Gilt Group demonstrate this easily. However, paid search is, in a way, against the collective mindset they are marketing with. How can a site that is focused on unifying a fragment market for sustainable purchasing power be employing a strategy that, by nature, divides and conquers a new market based on a few searchable phrases?
What does this mean for an SEO Company?
It means you have another thing to advise your client on as they will have power to tap into a new market and new opportunities. This should be part of your overall SEO strategy – however a cautious one. As there is currently a bit of inherent exclusivity in these sites, requiring membership and active user-engagement, the reach is going to be less than traditional SEM. Also, much like PPC for Facebook Ads or Google Ads, the customer must be: A. properly exposed to the product and B. engage with it in order for the benefits to be realised for the clients bottom line.
But wait, there is a twist!
Unlike a regular paid search campaign, there are often pre-commitments that the client will have to make to the group deal site, as they are the ones marketing their product and want a guaranteed product/deal to market. So, if a client has not planned for bottom line impacts, or understand the actual costs of the deals/adverts, or fully understand all the other margins that are entailed in this form of eMarketing, they stand to lose far more than they would by discontinuing a regular PPC campaign.
Location, Location, Location!
Google Offers could essentially grow the main search giant, as AdWords and AdSense comprise one of the largest search marketing networks already. Google Offers would be location based, offering discounts and deals (incentive based advertising) to users based on their areas’ offerings. Google could very well see the amount of income they stand to generate, and seeing how easily their other platforms such as Buzz, Maps, etc. integrate quite nicely into search results already, I would not be surprised if their Google Offers were to dominate another section of a SERP.
Long-Term versus Short-Term
Due to the nature of a coupon, there must be an expiration date. Exposing these adverts through Google may be ineffective to creating new customers as those searching for your product may be able to find it via Google Offers for a ‘limited time only’. Also, regarding profit margins, they will be inherently less via group deal sites than traditional eMarketing via SEO, as these group deal sites are based off of the keyword, that’s right, DEAL. Ask your clients if they would rather target quick sales or long-term loyal customers. Depending on the stage of their business SEO services may prove to be a more effective component to their online strategy than deals and coupons. Therefore, it is still true that to achieve long-term search based results, traditional SEO services are still the way to go.
That being said, I cannot wait till I see the first SEO Company offer a Google Offer. Hey, business is business!
From the depths of classics libraries and American academia, Shawn is a South African based web enthusiast who still believes in the power of the word, now it’s just online. The Content Manager for R.O.I Media, a Cape Town based online media agency, where she also works in SEO Development, Social Media Marketing, and Online Strategy for clients and NPO’s.