Couponing giant Valassis introduced RedPlum Social Savings, a Facebook application that lets users print, download, and share coupon offers without leaving Facebook.
Valassis operates the five-year-old couponing site RedPlum.com, as well as a RedPlum Deals, Values & Coupons Facebook page.
"Most coupon apps in Facebook transport you off Facebook and onto the website," said Jim Parkinson, EVP and chief digital and technology officer for Valassis. RedPlum Social Savings lets deal seekers print coupons directly from Facebook or download them to their loyalty cards without leaving the site.
The app has been available in beta on the RedPlum Facebook page since early March, and Parkinson reports that of the 25,000 people exposed to information about the app, 72 percent installed it. Because the installation shows up in users' timelines and news feeds, this created approximately 450,000 impressions across Facebook.
The key to this success was including the Timeline feature, according to Parkinson. This feature is optional, and Valassis did not include it until Facebook's team, which aided Valassis in the integration, suggested the company do so. "Early in the beta and the development, we did a lot of work making sure we got everything in the timeline correctly. Just like any other API, you have to do it right," he said.
Facebook is littered with coupon pages, including Coupons, Coupons.com, and Printable Coupons and Deals; most of these contain links to websites where coupons can be printed. Promotions for Fan Pages is a competing application created by Wildfire Interactive that enables companies and agencies to run branded interactive promotions on their fan pages. Like RedPlum Social Savings, it lets consumers print coupons while remaining on Facebook, but it does not allow for loading an offer onto a loyalty card.
In May, Facebook itself introduced a beta version of Offers, which lets companies create promotions such as buy one, get one free for their pages. When a user clicks on "get offer," Facebook emails the coupon for printing or display on a mobile phone.
Food Lion, a grocery chain operating in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, is the first customer to take advantage of RedPlum Social Savings' white-label function that allows brands to reskin the app and offer it on their own pages.
Some brands will pay for the branded service on a cost-per-action basis, by the number of coupons downloaded or printed. More customized applications will require custom pricing, Parkinson said.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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