The number of “e

-coupons” redeemed by consumers is expected to double over the next three years, largely driven by the smartphone explosion.

This, in turn, is changing how consumers (and therefore readers) search for, capture, and redeem “smart offers.” (This is according to 2014 research by Juniper Research).

Millions of people now have, in essence, a mini computer in their pocket. These location-based, mobile devices can quickly find more relevant, more personalised information to help your readers make more informed decisions.

Mobile coupons have been gaining value for a number of years and now finally seem destined to rocket due to the growing adoption of smartphones and the way consumers are integrating mobile more and more into their everyday lives. (Juniper in fact, says the number of e-coupons redeemed will exceed 31 billion by 2017, nearly double that of this year).

Vendors and third-party app developers continue to make more coupons available on mobile while also honing how coupons are delivered, stored on the device, and redeemed easily to make the whole process as seamless as possible. (Look at the way Apple’s Passbook works for a Master Class here. Easy on the eye, simple to use, and well designed).

However, many brands (news media brands particularly) fall behind when it comes to tackling the opportunity in digital coupons. Many (news) brands have not aligned their coupon strategies to meet the fast shifting online – and specifically online – needs of their readers.

It would seem to me that media brands could easily offer the ability for their loyalty club members to download coupons onto a digital loyalty card/app, for instance, or have push notified discounts of subscription services, or maybe things like fantasy games purchases, dating services, etc.?

Juniper also says that, while there will be some growth in “print-off-at-home” digital coupons, the increase in redemptions will be primarily driven through in-store, bar code-based, and online redemptions.

Redemption directly from the device itself! It’s much more immediate, more enticing if linked to location, and therefore more powerful.

It’s all an evolution in consumer behaviour, which is increasingly including online or mobile coupon search prior to purchasing from home, while traveling, or on actual in-store purchases.

Consumers are also beginning to store coupons on their mobile devices in a wallet such as Passbook (as mentioned above). Samsung and Google’s wallets are also seeing interest now, allowing customers to redeem coupons at a later date.

Here in the United Kingdom, for example, we’re also seeing many ways to redeem popping up at places like retailers, train stations, burger restaurants, etc.. Possibly this is the same in your part of the world?

One potential development that could further increase digital coupons is if they’re integrated with social media platforms, providing an opportunity for targeted offers (again, as per Juniper). That would be based on recommendations from friends and other people.

This has the viral ability of “creating a bush fire” with the right offer and shared by your ambassadors (your readers), if you’ve engaged them along the way properly and made them feel part of your news family.

In summary, the opportunities in mobile couponing are providing personalised experiences on deals that are relevant to a user’s (media) brand preferences.

The ability to give users access to the best offers from their favourite stores (is this an advertiser opportunity we can create/supply?) allows users to see what other offers are trending among other app users, as well as find the best new deals of the day are all there to be exploited.

And that’s from a news marketing point of view (subscriptions, reader offers, etc), something that can be offered as part of well-targeted ad packages for our advertisers.

Mobile offers can make a more vibrant, relevant experience for readers. Look at capturing your readers maybe at the point of sale! What better place to get them to sign up with you or to get them to buy one of your or your advertisers’ products?

It’s limited by your imagination or your creativity. Speak to your mobile service provider today.

Create a dialogue. Create an experience.