Analog Analytics Helps Pubs Challenge Groupon

I had a very interesting discussion yesterday with Ken Kalb of Analog Analytics, a company which can either be described as a deals/coupon and mobile (SMS) marketing platform or an analytics provider for traditional media. But of course it’s both.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from the release:

Analog Analytics today officially launches its software platform to deliver highly monetizing interactive coupons, gift certificates and “Bigger Better Deals” for local publishers and advertisers in any media. Now, publishers of all types, including online, mobile, newspaper, TV, radio, motion picture and billboards, will benefit from the much higher click-through rates (CTR) of two- to ten-percent for these highly interactive offerings. This CTR amounts to 10 to 100 times greater than the national average for display ads. 

The Analog Analytics platform provides publishers which have struggled to make money with their online content with a mechanism to increase their ad revenue regardless of the media. It enables advertisers or publishers to create online, mobile or a text-message call-to-action print coupons or gift certificates, integrating and optimizing the performance of both traditional advertising and online interactive. With this solution publishers leverage advertising in multiple media concurrently from the software-as-a-service platform and immediately increase their ad revenue. 

Analog Analytics has already signed up a number of substantial customers including Village Voice Media, Local.com, Wick, Media News Group, the nation’s leading weeklies as well as 850 publishers and 2500 advertisers nationally.

I could now write 5K words. But I don’t have time. So I’ll try and hit a few high points. 

Analog Analytics is a platform licensed to mostly traditional media companies (as indicated in the list above). It enables publishers to offer a more “robust” coupon and deals solution in general and to better compete with the emerging “threat” from what I’ll call the “Groupon Segment.” 

The following is an example of a group-buying deal offering (“bigger, better deal“) from the company. In a sort of tongue-in-cheek way Kalb referred to this as “the Groupon killer.” It’s not but it gives traditional publishers a weapon against these fast-growing group-buying sites. 

Otherwise the company enables the local sales channel to sell/offer more traditional coupons and gift certificates:

The publisher can price and package any of this how it desires. Whereas Groupon, et al. offer an effective but limited new customer acquisition tool — I characterized it to Kalb as a “one-night stand” — the array of options here provide both new customer acquisition and CRM/loyalty capabilities. And, as I said, the flip side is traditional media analytics.

People redeem the coupon or opt-in to the SMS list and the publisher (and advertiser) sees how effective the traditional medium is — or isn’t as the case may be. But as the Analog Analytics release points out response rates with offers/deals are at least 10X vs. traditional display advertising online. 

Coupons/offers/deals isn’t merely a cute, consumer-friendly trend, it’s a digital and direct marketing phenomenon that’s here to stay. The Groupon proposition to the SMB is “no risk”: “you only pay if people buy.” It doesn’t get any more CPA than that.

Kalb also emphasized with me that these sites enable local businesses to book revenue in advance. The new products in the coupon and group-buying segments are “tangible” and easily understood by SMBs compared with clicks, “Which is an abstraction to small business,” explained Kalb. 

The market is changing quickly now for SMB marketing. Phenomena like social media and couponing are becoming more visible and effective tools and they often “cut out the middle man,” as people used to say. In this case the “middle man” is the traditional sales channel/publisher. 

If you take a deeper look it starts to become clear that “Grouponing” is just the clever packing of a more concrete form of direct digital marketing.

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