Google Places Rolls Out New Offers Program and Interface

Google Places is now rolling out a new Offers creation program in the Places Dashboard to accompany the new Google Maps for Android. The product is significantly more robust than the current product and offers a range of creation options. There is an overview and FAQ available the Offers introduction page.

It is now live in my Places Dashboard. Click this image to view a slide show of the creation options:

 


Features:

When you enter the Offers area of the Dashboard old offers are visible but not editable. It appears that older Offers created in the Dashboard will be maintained until their expiration date but can not be updated.

The Offer design interface is very slick and provides simple choices to create the coupon.

Only photos from Google existing library can be used. This is a limitation of your products fall out of the narrow range they have chosen.

You are allowed to limit the total quantity of offers available, the timeframe they are available and whether a user may re-use the coupon. Interestingly the offer can be limited to only certain days of the week.

The management interface shows how often the offer was saved by users and how often it was redeemed.

New offers are currently only appear on Google Maps for Android, Google Offers and Google Wallet apps. As far as I can tell they are not visible on the desktop and have no presence on the iPhone.

An offer can be easily edited after creation to change the expiration or distribution settings in the original offer.

An interesting note in the How it Works area of the Offers area notes that offer is only free during limited-time trial period. (bold mine)

The Google Offers Help files have been updated to reflect the new product.

Limits to the new product:

This product is significantly more robust than the current product. But it does not appear to be available for display in desktop search and the fact that there is no iPhone version limits its use. What Google’s plans are in either area are unclear at the moment.

Also unclear is whether it will remain free in some capacity and when it does move to a paid model how it will be priced. The FQ notes: Currently, you can create offers from within your Google Places account at no cost during this limited time trial period. You will be notified about pricing details before the trial period concludes.

Offers (aka Coupons) have a long and sorry history in the panoply of Google local products. They were introduced to great fanfare in 2008 and then left to whither with little support and less ability to display them. Over the past year Google has been cleaning up inappropriate Offers but they have never made them more visible. This is only a partial step in that direction.

Given their limited availability on the Android product it would appear that Google is moving them away from the desktop and primarily focusing on their use in the mobile environment. Obviously they would be more valuable if they could be crossed marketed from the main search results and available on all mobile platforms. Hopefully that is in the cards.

Given the recent noise about Facebook reintroducing/testing their Offer product, one has to wonder about Google’s timing of this release and whether they will emulate the idea of making the coupon more visible with payment.

The Future:

When used in a mobile environment and tied to the new patents that Google acquired for indoor location via Wifi one can easily envision a coupon system that could could offer a given coupon when in close proximity to a participating vendor AND close the loop on the sale (with or without the use of electronic payments). Obviously the potential for relevant delivery and knowledge about when the sale is closed opens up a range of revenue analytic possibilities for Google.

On a more short term note we are seeing the Places Dashboard slowly but surely getting a face lift to come under the new integrated Google UI. First the Adwords Express UI update and now Offers. It is clear that the Places Dashboard (and hopefully Places Analytics) are soon slated for updates as well.

 

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Rolls Out New Offers Program and Interface by

18 thoughts on “Google Places Rolls Out New Offers Program and Interface”

  1. If they were truly rolling this out wouldn’t they announce this feature to the business owners? Mike do you anticipate such an announcement? I don’t see yet how Google will be promoting these offers or what on earth they could possibly be charging a fee for. I’ll stay tuned to your blog for the latest details.

    I really really want this version of coupons/offers to not be LAME. I’ll wait and see before trying this out or recommending.

  2. @Jeffrey

    This is a half baked version of the real deal… I think that they didn’t announce more aggressively because it is still a release early and iterate often product with the emphasis on release early.

    At this point, since it is free, I see no harm in trying it. Particularly for those in high traffic retail areas and malls.

    Until the product is pushed out to the desktop and the iPhone AND a pricing structure is announced we have no idea its real value. It is appealing to me if the pricing is right and not some cockamamey % of the value of the deal… ie a cost per use or a cost per click.

  3. this new setup for creating and posting Offers is very limited with what you can do with verbiage, and the expiration date is either a month or a year out from when you post it. the old Offers creation and management was much better!

  4. Outside the USA it looks like the places coupon system has been discontinued (I received an email about it) and we don’t get access to the new offers system :-(

  5. This is so bloody frustrating….”Google Offers is not available for businesses outside the United States. We will notify you when the product is available in your country.”

    Places>Offers>Actual In-store Purchase which gives business owners valuable complete analytics and ROI/conversion rates.

  6. I discovered Google Offers this morning while in my client’s Places dashboard so I decided to create an offer. I was a little disappointed with the way your limited on writing the offer (see screenshot: https://skitch.com/prodentite/832bg/google-offers).

    The offer title is: “Free New Patient Consultation when you Cosmetic Service”

    I was trying to state “Free New Patient Consultation for any of our cosmetic dental services”.

  7. Thanks Mike. Another limitation is that the Google Offers interface currently doesn’t support businesses with more than 100 locations. We are directed to a sales e-mail when we try and create an offer.

  8. @Anne
    That is an interesting limitation. Seems very arbitrary and it would seem that the 200 location business would be a key target to increase coverage… go figure. I guess that they want to charge you $?

    @Dennis
    Yes the limited availability (no iPhone & no desktop) certainly limit their immediate value.

    @Chris
    Perhaps you need to get creative. For example remove the word “new patient” and add it to the limits area of the coupon… thus it would become: “Free Consultation for any of our cosmetic dental services” Limits apply: new patients only. However I am not sure that this type of offer is in compliance with their guidelines and might be pulled down.

    @Sean
    Yes it is frustrating but I assume that there are both technical and legal issues to deal with on this one.

  9. This also seems to only be for businesses that have pin-verified listings and not bulk-verified. The option to create an offer in the new interface first requires you to submit a listing, and claim it via pin even though there are already bulk-verified listings in the account.

  10. I am seeing that with this new interface I am not able to create offers/coupons for bulk-uploaded and verified accounts. So, at this time, with bulk accounts, I’m not able to create offers/coupons at all.

    Is anyone else seeing this?

  11. ^^^ Update to above comment: The clients I am referencing specifically are less than 100 locations, so aren’t addressed by Anne Baum’s comment.

  12. @Caleb

    Google has confirmed that Offers does NOT work with Bulk uploads regardless of size. Previously you were able to add them to locations manually now that is not the case. When or if the feature will come to fruition is not known.

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