Pete, this last year has been difficult. How has The Groupon Reach Network navigated the pandemic?
Flexibility has been the key here. We moved quickly to fill up inventory when our travel and local teams saw holidays and high streets on pause with lockdown. We supported our partners in switching back on their affiliate programmes with relaunch packages, priced fairly to help them build back up.
As a global business, we’re able to plan for one territory having seen trends in another at different stages of lockdown. Seeing E-Learning boom internationally helped us prepare for the first unlocking here in the UK, which then followed a similar trend. And our in-store capabilities with the Vouchercloud app has helped drive much needed footfall since non-essential shops opened in April.
Hannah, you’ve created a number of big campaigns for Vouchercloud and Groupon over the last few years – which campaign have you most enjoyed?
Last year’s Dorothy Perkins multi-channel campaign was a really fun experience. We ran a ‘spin the wheel’ game in the flagship Dorothy Perkins shop on Oxford Street and interacting with customers in person was surprisingly unique given the majority of our campaigns reach customers digitally. This year’s Vodafone campaign was a completely different experience due to COVID but was really fun to conceptualise and working closely with the brand was definitely a highlight of the campaign.
Pete, what should we look out for this year with the Groupon Reach Network?
We’ve put a lot of effort into unlocking more opportunities for our clients this year, both across the wider Groupon ecosystem and also with third parties such as Google and Facebook. We’ve just this month launched our “Premium PPC Packages”, where our top clients can benefit from increased reach, new beta’s such as image ads for search and higher bid caps, ultimately therefore leading to a higher impression share and more sales.. This enables us to unlock more value in the Paid Media space for loyal clients.
Across Groupon, we’ve tapped into more customer segments to open up more affordable solus emails, enabling our partners to reach millions of customers with high purchase intent. And in Q3 / Q4 we hope to launch personalised landing pages, and the exciting work for that is underway at the moment.
Hannah, what site under The Groupon Reach Network umbrella is your favourite?
Oh tough question! Vouchercloud has a lot of automated AI driven personalisation on-site and so is a very customer first platform, we have an expert paid media team headed up by Clive Morris which enables us to deliver upper funnel reinvestment for our brands and of course our market leading App reach to drive multichannel campaigns.
On the other side of this, Groupon has a huge reach and is extremely unique in being a voucher site with an active marketplace of over 18m customers that are ready to purchase. Dodged the question…but it’s impossible to choose.
Pete, what do you see as the biggest obstacle in affiliate marketing for voucher publishers?
I think the biggest immediate obstacle, not just for affiliates but for online marketing as a whole, will be the upcoming third party cookie changes, and what that means. Because for me, that’s part of the bigger picture of big tech tightening its grip around the vast majority of online activity. Google may champion the removal of third party cookies as a win for privacy, but it will certainly put them more in control of the online advertising industry, and arguably therefore the web as a whole.
More specifically for online shopping, Amazon’s revenue grew hugely over the pandemic as it fulfilled customers’ need to have quick delivery of basic items with most shops shut. So we have a challenge on our hands to get customers back to shopping not just with smaller brands, but also with household names. Amazon doesn’t really do discounts because they don’t need to, so we need to remind people that there’s a financial benefit to shopping outside of Amazon’s easy to use ecosystem.
But we have a huge opportunity to help brands recover now. The discount sector was born off the back of the 2008 recession and, as we emerge from the current one, we’re well placed to help brands reach customers who have money to spend and are looking to do so sensibly.
Hannah, what excites you the most about lockdown lifting?
I’m really excited for travel to return. This is a huge area for us and I know our travel partners are raring to go after being impacted by COVID and the ongoing travel restrictions. Plus I think we’re all in need of a holiday.
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