I have just started a series of videos and best practice guides for users of DataPrizm and to develop these I have went through a bunch of old presentations to find examples and opportunities. One of these presentations is from 2011 that I did at ClickZ New York on “Mining Keyword Opportunities.”

Many websites have that “Offer Code” or “Coupon Code” box on the checkout page. Not wanting to miss out on a possible discount, most people search for the brand name and some variation of coupon code. Before that presentation I had checked about 40 popular online retail companies and none of them had any mention of these codes. This helps explains why there are so many coupon sites like Retail Me Not, Coupon Cabin and now even Groupon are trying to cash in on this search volume.

The slide below showed some of the 120 different queries people used to look for REI Coupon codes. They did not have any content to capture these searchers. During the Q&A an online retailer told me they want as few people to use the coupons as possible to save money. I told them then control the size of the discount by being part of the experience and not let these coupon sites dominate.

I was curious if this slide was still valid today and if people still searched for these codes. I know I do but I am not like most people. I went to Google Keyword Planner and searched on “REI Coupon Code” and got a number of variations back. Summing up the searches for the top 20 related keywords, there were nearly 88,000 searches for some form of branded coupon code. A cross check against the top 20 non-discount searches these coupon code were nearly 1/2 the volume of what people searched for related to REI.


As they had not maximized this opportunity in the past I wanted to see what REI was doing today, to see if they were doing anything to capture this opportunity. I did a search for REI Coupon Code” and the results has anything from $15 off to a 81% off coupon. The #1 ranking page was REI’s own coupon page which I think is the best I have ever seen.


They break their page into three sections. The first is capturing those looking for coupon codes and other current sales. Also links to any current sales such as the Anniversary Sale which I had received a reminder email. They have links to other types of deals, bulk pricing and they have included various manufacture’s rebates.


I am sure people will argue that they should not target these people as they don’t want to further discount but the demand is there and the better you can control it the better. Most of the times when I have tried coupon codes from these other sites they have not worked and I end up feeling frustrated that I have somehow missed out. What I have suggested to most of my clients is to simply remove the coupon code box then there is no active coupon or discount. Another strategy is to get them to sign up as REI does as well as follow you on social media to be able to get the most recent and often limited deals.

On the other hand Zappos, who only discounts to subscribers, has went out of their way to tell searchers that they don’t use discount codes and that sites that say they have them are fake. They are buying paid search ans stating clearly they don’t discount – funny the second paid ad from Groupon tells you they do.

The top organic listing is Zappos and they explain in detail, down to the keywords that they don’t discount and not to waste time with these other sites.


Either way both of these connect with the user in the perfect context and nurture them in the correct way. This is why we advocate to keyword mining and segmentation which is a key part of DataPrizm.