Archive for April, 2011

Groupon Should Be Way More Social

Groupon is branded as a place for group buying, whereby a deal only becomes available when a tipping point is hit. In reality, the site has simply become a deal-of-the-day shopfront.

Its meteoric rise has been well analysed and largely boils down to superb execution; such as their aggressive efforts to consolidate the market and the hiring of a huge sales force (I bet you didn’t realise they have some 5,000 employees). Another key aspect is timing, with increasingly thrifty consumers and investors keen to back the next big scalable venture. Groupon would surely have not risen to its current status without Facebook and social media. Yet, I believe it’s poorly utilised. Here’s some thoughts on how Groupon could be more social:

  • Group deals. Some offers are innately social – group activities, dinners and so on. I often see people share a deal on Facebook hoping to recruit others to join them. Why not build that into the Groupon experience? Have a user commit with the credit card, but not be charged enough friends also commit. This opens up a whole new range of potential merchants Groupon could work with.
  • ‘Got a Groupon’ sharing. Once a user makes a purchase, Groupon could do a whole lot more to encourage the user to share the good news. Rather than a simple Share button, deeply integrate social features and allow the user to share with specific friends, earn loyalty benefits through Groupon, and share rich information through their profile.
  • Sliding scale group buying. The more people buy, the greater the deal becomes. Somewhat flawed as too many people would holdout until the deal improves before committing. That effect be dampened by offering a decent ‘base’ deal that is marginally improved as more users join. Uniqlo ran a similar campaign, where prices dropped as more Tweets went out. This way, users are incentivised to share and spread the word – the impact is huge.
  • Post-experience sharing and caring. The merchant may well collate some information from each customer, but Groupon certainly has the ability to reach you after the event. Why not blast out an email to every consumer a week after their experience? Thank them for their purchase and solicit them to check out the merchant’s Facebook Page, follow them on Twitter, or leave a review on Tripadvisor. If the user had a great experience (likely helped by the fact that they got a good deal), then they’d be more willing to share their thoughts. Groupon can be somewhat impartial and invite users to leave both negative and positive, helping build its credibility too — all whilst preventing nasty privacy complaints since no data is passed onto the merchant. The flurry of activity generated through these channels would gain the merchant a heap of earned media, extending the ROI from the promotion. Margins are tightened through Groupon, so merchants count on repeat business and word of mouth — yet Groupon fails to facilitate this through social media.

What do you think?

Update: Zuppy allows SMEs to build their own deal-of-the-day feature. Interestingly, one of the features is to enable the the tipping point to be linked to the number of Facebook Likes.

 Tags: Business   Published: 29th April '11

AdSense: Script

Want to build your own AdSense revenue predictor or mobile app? You can download the script here –  on the house.

The code is fairly well documented. You’ll need to populate with your AdSense and SQL credentials. If you want to plug-in your own intraday trend (no two accounts will be the same, after all), collect the data into SQL, make some averages and then plug the data into the file.

Since this involves sensitive data, make sure you’re running this on a server you control/trust and take precautions to keep your information safe (protecting the directory, for example). You can execute gas.php via the command line, or better yet, as a CRON job.

It’s totally free and I encourage you to use it in whatever way you wish. As ever, I outsourced the overwhelming majority of the work, so can’t take all the credit really. If it ads some joy to your life, you’re welcome to buy me a coffee!

Leave a comment if you need any help.

 Tags: AdSense   Published: 3rd April '11

AdSense: DIY Mobile Web App

I started drafting this post just a few days before Google released their official AdSense Android app, which has made most of what I was going to say pretty redundant.

The official app was well needed; there’s a whole bunch of unofficial 3rd party apps which can show you similar data, but all of which pose a significant security risk (given the need to share your log-in credentials). It’s pretty, simple to use, and provides all the reports you’d actually want on-the-go. It does lack the all new revenue predictor and suffers from the annoyance of a timed user-session (thus requiring you to periodically login), meaning that it can still be helpful to create your own DIY mobile app – the topic of this post.

Using our previous work with a self-made script, it’s surprisingly easy to make your own “app”. The script now spits the output as HTML and both Android and iOS allow you to create homepage URL shortcuts. The result is one-click access to your statistics without the need to log in, or unnecessarily trust a 3rd party developer. Plus, since it’s your app, you can develop it your hearts content, perhaps to report other pertinent information for your website/business on the same page. Okay, okay, it’s not really an “app” in the true sense, but it feels and looks pretty close to one.

A further improvement would be to create push-notifications/alerts if the the predicted revenue falls below an accepted range. I’m lacking reliable data/net access this week, so a daily SMS report would also make for a useful extension. Something to look into another day.

Update: Grab the script and build your own mobile app that shows current revenue and predicted day total.

 Tags: AdSense   Published: 1st April '11