In a bid to further monetize its Local site, and provide value to consumers, Google will allow Harte-Hanks-owned shopping publications the PennySaver and the Flyer to post coupons and ads for local businesses on relevant searches.
PennySaver and its affiliate publishers will provide coupons and business listing information to Google and Google Maps. The deal pulls a feed of Harte-Hanks’ data listings from local businesses. Small- and medium-size local businesses will be the primary target of the service.
“This is just a feed we are providing from our customers,” said Harte-Hanks’ VP of shoppers, Loren Dalton. “It is opening the door for the rest of our industry to do the same, the rest of the free community-type papers across the U.S.”
No money will change hands under the current agreement, though both sides are likely to benefit from distribution of PennySaver.com’s data on Google Maps. “It allows our advertisers to reach an additional group of people, to get their coupons in front of folks who may not be PennySaver readers,” said Dalton. “For our existing customers it is a great added value to what they are purchasing from us.”
Dalton said Google also gets richer content for its Google Maps site.
Competing sites deploy different strategies to build local data listings. Yahoo’s strategy has been to rely more heavily on its users to cultivate listings. “This is Google trying to improve its local database,” said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. “In the local space data is really critical, and [Google is] trying to build the best database it can.”
Last summer Google made a similar deal with ValPak to provide printable coupons on Google Maps. Google’s relationship with the PennySaver and ValPak can coexist, according to Sterling. “Valpak wants that distribution with Google and other parties.”
A month ago Google enhanced its Local Business Center to make it easier for businesses to upload photos and information to the system.
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