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Google Offers app supports mobile’s growing role in deals space

November 4, 2011

An offer from REI on the new Google Offers app

Google’s introduction of an Android mobile application for Google Offers speaks to the important role that mobile plays in the daily deals space.

The Google Offers app enables users to discover, buy and redeem deals on the go. It also notifies users about offers that match their interests.

“We created the Google Offers app for Android to give people more ways to find and buy great deals while they’re out and about,” said Sierra Lovelace, a spokeswoman for Google, Mountain View, CA.

Daily deals strategy
Google launched its Google Offers daily deals service earlier this year and the service is currently available in New York, San Francisco, Portland, OR, Austin, TX, Boston, Denver and Seattle.

Google has some advantages in the competitive daily deals space. It has a credible brand, a set of features that might plug into deal marketing and the ability to highlight deals on the Google homepage, something it recently tried in New York.

Despite these advantages, Google faces stiff competition from Groupon, the leader in the space.

“Google’s addition of an Android app for Offers is not unexpected, of course, but it does validate the importance of mobile to the deals segment,” said Peter Krasilovsky, vice president at local media research firm BIA/Kelsey, Chantilly, VA.

“Mobile’s GPS capability is important for matching consumers with deals, which is an important part of the next phase,” he said. “People want to buy nearby and not across town.

“Looking down the road, mobile will be especially important for keeping track of deals in ‘wallets’ and processing deals by connecting to payment systems like Square, PayPal, Amazon Transactions, Facebook Credits or traditional credit cards.”

Google also introduced a new Gmail app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch at the same time. The app alerts users to new messages and organizes mail.

However, the Gmail app was quickly pulled because of a bug and Google is working to bring out a new version soon.

The new Google Offers app is just one of the ways that the company is building out its daily deals offering. Google also acquired DealMap and DailyDeal to boost its daily deals strategy.

The Google Offers app is available only in the United States for Android 2.1 and higher devices.

Users can purchase offers via the app in a just a few clicks and redeem them paperlessly with select merchants.

App discovery
Google will likely harness the widespread assets it has created to drive discovery and downloads for the app, which can be a challenge in the increasingly crowded app space.

“Google owns an almost unlimited array of tools that can be harnessed to promote their own offerings,” said Wilson Kerr, Boston-based mobile consultant. “As such, they can overcome the discovery and adoption hurdles that make delivery-by-app harder for others.

“Groupon pays a staggering $14 to acquire each opt-in subscriber,” he said.

“Google, on the other hand, literally owns the Android app store environment where their offers app will reside and can also drive adoption by positioning ads across a Google owned mobile and desktop network.”

If Google were to add the Offers app to every Android phone and ask carriers and device partners to promote it, this could provide a significant boost that Groupon would be hard-pressed to replicate, per Mr. Kerr.

The Google Offers app also supports Google’s mobile payments strategy.

“As Google moves closer to closing the loop between mobile marketing and mobile payments, they are honing in on the Holy Grail that is the retention of a percentage of actual tracked incremental revenue that can be empirically linked to the campaign that promoted it,” Mr. Kerr said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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