CoolSavings Launches Ad Network

  |  October 28, 2002   |  Comments

The effort seeks to woo CPG advertisers with wider distribution of the firm's coupons.

In a bid to boost consumer adoption of its paid coupons, CoolSavings will roll out its version of an ad network.

The company will deliver targeted coupons to partnering Web publishers, who in turn display the coupons on special pages on their sites. Visitors to the sites' coupon sections, can select from a list of special offers and print coupons on their home printer. The sites receive a cut of the revenue each time a coupon is printed.

Additionally, printing a coupon requires that a consumer register at the publisher's site. Then, when they return or visit another CoolSavings partner, their registration data is used to target offers to them geographically or demographically. The registrations also enable CoolSavings to limit the number of coupons that a user receives -- so that users can't print an endless supply of discounts.

The new network approach represents a change for Chicago-based CoolSavings, which to date has generally only offered printable coupons on its own site -- tapping partnered Web publishers only as media, to run ads directing consumers to CoolSavings.com. The company also licenses its technology to consumer packaged goods manufacturers, to add printable coupons to their own sites.

For CoolSavings, the move means a far wider distribution of its coupons. Although the company said it has 22 million registered consumers, the 30-plus sites that CoolSavings has signed as network publishers give it deeper penetration into new demographics, and into local markets -- many of the network's site partners are newspaper Web sites operated by Knight Ridder , Hollinger and Landmark Communications, which owns Weather.com.

Advertisers who have signed onto the offering include General Mills , 3M , Dannon and Unilever .

"We're bringing one more piece of the puzzle, so when we sit down with a customer so we have the most compelling solution, whatever their marketing needs might be," said CoolSavings President and Chief Executive Matthew Moog. "If you look at Overture or Google, they started out as their own Web site, which was a destination. But they also started to leverage their own technology to other places on the Internet. It helps to fuel their business."

Publishers, meanwhile, glean revenues by offering their own coupon pages to users.

"One request we've gotten from publishers is could we find a way to distribute coupons to their members without leaving their Web site," Moog said. "It's more friendly for publishers, since they get some of the data, and they get their brand on it, and people don't have to leave their Web site."

The effort marks the latest move by online advertisers to woo deep-pocked consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to the Internet, where they've yet to spend significant portions of their ad budgets. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade organization of major Web ad sellers, has been loudly touting the medium's importance to CPG advertisers in an ad campaign and a series of case studies.

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