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Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York offer mobile coupons

August 19, 2009

chicago-sunThe Chicago Sun-Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York and Metro International have partnered with Verve Wireless for mobile couponing.

Verve’s local mobile network now covers the top 200 designated market areas across America. Using Verve’s publishing and mobile advertising system, these local content partners can extend their communities and readership onto mobile phones and offer local businesses mobile advertising options.

“The strategy is two-fold,” said Greg Hallinan, vice president of marketing at Verve, Encinitas, CA. “One is the continued build-out of the largest local mobile ad network in the country.

“The other is providing our media partners [with] sophisticated mobile direct response tools and capabilities, adding valuable promotional capabilities for both the small and medium enterprises to increase traffic and share of dollars in their communities,” he said.

“This is also about adding value to the consumers in their communities who are returning to coupons and incentives as a means of stretching their dollars further.”

Verve is a wireless technology developer that provides applications and services to local media companies and publishers.

National brand advertisers can leverage Verve’s ad platform to target mobile consumers based on variety of targeting parameters and at levels from regional down to a hyper-local neighborhood.

The new mobile couponing application enables local publishers to offer their advertisers another way to reach customers.

The application is based off Verve’s SMS push alerts but incorporates new functionality as well as advance targeting features that use location-based technologies.

Advertisers can send out coupons based on variety of options, including time of day, neighborhood radius, user’s present location and context.

Just like a print coupon, users will be able to redeem the coupon at the place of business.

What Verve gets is a percentage of the ad dollars.

“This mobile couponing application provides local publishers – newspapers, TV, radio – with another tool to offer their local advertisers,” Mr. Hallinan said. “The local ad sales team has longstanding relationships with local businesses such as bars, restaurants, bookstores [and] auto garages.”

The new mobile couponing has a variety of controls that advertisers can set in place to execute a mobile campaign.

Verve makes use of LBS technologies so that advertisers can target their mobile promotions not only on demographics, relying on its relationships with carriers and publishers.

Advertisers can set the time of day they want to send the promotion out as well as how many coupons they want to send out.

Unlike other mediums, such as print and desktop online access, mobile can leverage a person’s location and the always-with-you nature of a mobile phone to provide frequent, consistent and immediate access to news and information.

New data from Verve shows users are accessing news from the network consistently throughout the day beginning at 7 a.m. and growing steadily until 10 p.m.

Users are accessing news just as much, if not slightly more, during the weekend than any given day of the week (14.9 percent on Sundays versus 13.8 percent on Wednesdays, for example).

“For Verve, it is all about scale,” Mr. Hallinan said. “This is not about going after one big customer but establishing relationships with hundreds and even thousands of local media outlets.”

Verve has a good start and already covers the top 200 DMAs in the U.S. and is now expanding in Europe.

“The challenge this [mobile couponing service] addresses is for the local publishers who have the existing relationships with local merchants but need new tools to compete with Web-based companies,” he said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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