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Google Enters the Coupon Space by Acquiring Incentive Targeting for Undisclosed Sum

Sites include , . Published on November 29th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Google has kept the focus tight over the years in terms of the verticals it gets into but the changing time calls for changing measures. The search giant has had to widen out its scope and in the last two years it has invested in everything from social networking to ecommerce.

Now Google is adding yet another vertical, this time it’s the coupon vertical which is largely dominated by daily deals companies and other dedicated outfits. In doing so Google has acquired Incentive Targeting, a coupon targeting company that partners with retail chains to bring discounts and other incentives to their customers.  Confirmation of the deal game via a Google spokesperson who said, “We look forward to working with Incentive Targeting in our ongoing efforts to help consumers save time and money and enable retailers deliver relevant discounts to the right customers.”

Google stepping up the ecommerce ante

With Amazon and eBay already dominating the online ecommerce space, Google seems intent on funnelling its search traffic towards more incentivised offers under the company’s umbrella. Recent moves, including the launch of Google Catalog and the beefing up of Google Wallet, suggests that the search giant is now ready to present a more comprehensive ecommerce presence in front of users.

Facebook’s launch of Gifts hasn’t helped to make the guys over at Google steady either. The social networking giant is now able to push targeted offers in front of its 1 billion+ user base and this is being tipped as a potential sap on Google search traffic. By launching a similar thing in front of Google Plus’ 250 million or so users, Google will at least have some sort of distraction for Facebook to worry about.

There’s also the growth in ecommerce spending which this year has looked healthier than it has in years. Simply put, Google can no longer afford to act as conduit for people looking to buy stuff; if the search giant is to stay relevant in the changing consumer landscape, it will need to start selling stuff with ‘Google’ on it. The acquisition of a coupon targeting company is one way to start the process of becoming a full scale ecommerce provider.

New version of Google Wallet

Some analysts looking at the deal believe that the acquisition of Incentive Targeting is more geared towards implementation with the soon-to-come new version of Google Wallet. Wallet has been Google’s fervent attempt to capture some of the online payments market that is currently dominated by PayPal. We probably won’t know if this intent is really there until Google makes its move with Incentive Targeting. For now the property is firmly in the grasp of Google and not in the hands of any of its competitors.

The founders of Incentive Targeting seem genuinely stoked by the acquisition. “As part of Google, we will have the resources and expertise to continue the transformation of couponing from a way to give discounts to a way to build business. And, we can now work towards that vision as part of a company that improves the lives of hundreds of millions of people every day,” said a release from the company.

The word here now is “watch this space!” There are so many parties in the coupon and incentive space that any move made by Google is bound to cause a stir. It is no surprise that Google is so unpredictable with their “algorithmic” changes – as that would certainly be the way to grab the market – through changes in rankings that nobody can explain. Don’t count on Google alone to grow your business!

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