Early engagement with a new Facebook app, RedPlum Social Savings, suggests a possible path forward for traditional coupon marketers eager to break into social.
The three-month-old app is offered by Valassis, the coupons giant behind the RedPlum brand, famous for newspaper inserts and direct mail coupons. Valassis says RedPlum and its other channels reach 100 million households, vastly more than the 25,000 Facebook users that have installed the new app. That's modest adoption, but the user engagement here is worth noting. The number of users interacting in July is around 10,000, or 40% of those who have installed the app, according to Facebook data. Those people use it to track coupon offers, share those offers, or load them onto loyalty cards for use in-store.
Jim Parkinson, Valassis's Chief Digital Officer, tells AdExchanger, "The social platform, because of its adoption among household decision makers and house hold shoppers, is a very good platform for advertising and for the grocery market."
Parkinson says the point is not to expand RedPlum on Facebook. He's just as happy to reskin the app for retail partners who want a platform to push social coupons into the social channel, something it's in the process of doing for South Carolina-based chain Food Lion. "A lot of what we're going to focus on is the skinnable version. If it's a beverage company or pizza company, anybody that wants to skin it and make it their app, we can make it for them."
One key issue is distribution of coupons in the social graph. The company has yet to leverage paid media on Facebook to drive installs and post-install interactions, but it may find that's necessary as Facebook makes organic optimization harder so app owners such as Valassis will buy its media. Coupon pushers have historically paid newspaper publishers to fill their print editions with reams of loose coupons, so there's a precedent for paid distribution that may be transferrable to Facebook here. But since an individual "coupon share" is worth little to Valassis and its CPG and retail customers, you can bet they'll keep a close eye on any costs associated with Facebook ads.