LivingSocial vs. Groupon for Social Media Marketing

By Jan Zimmerman, Deborah Ng

LivingSocial and Groupon reach fairly similar US audiences demographically, and both have expanded into the international market. If you plan on using either service for your social media marketing strategy, check out this table for details.

Comparing Groupon and Living Social
Groupon LivingSocial
74% are female. 66% are female.
61% have a college education; 14% have a graduate degree. 76% have a college degree.
68% are 18 to 34 years old. 77% are between ages 25 and 54.
73% say Groupon is the reason they visited a particular merchant. 87% bought something online in the last six months.
79% of customers have referred someone to the business. 51% are loyal to brands they love.

Sources: file:///Users/deborahng/Downloads/LivingSocial_Media_Kit_Online.pdf

Digging into Groupon

Like Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Groupon makes “an offer you can’t refuse” to 133 million daily app users. Groupon is far and away the largest of the group coupon sites, claiming that more than 50 million unique customers purchased at least one Groupon offer in 2016. By comparison, LivingSocial, its closest competitor, claims 14.5 million members worldwide.

In addition to its featured deals in seven topical categories, Groupon classifies deals in sections called Goods for products and Getaways for travel. In its “Best of Groupon” section, you’ll find a collection of Kids & Family deals. Groupon also offers an affiliate program and in-house credits for referring deals to friends.

After your offer appears, you can promote the deal in your own newsletter, blog, social media outlets, and elsewhere, although you may not have much notice. The share-this-deal functionality encourages people who receive your daily Groupon email, or those who visit your site, to tell their friends about the deal on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and by email.

Groupon contends that its merchants are more than satisfied, with more than 79 percent of merchants saying they had increased brand perception and awareness among consumers. According to Groupon, 84 percent of businesses reported getting new customers and 65 percent claimed customers spent more than the face value of their coupon.

Independent studies, which are hard to find, don’t always concur with this rosy assessment.

Speak with your accountant about how to handle revenue from Groupon and similar deals. Prepaid income is usually treated as a liability on your balance sheet until you fulfill the obligation or until the time expires to exercise the offer. (Think gift cards.) You may also encounter state-by-state issues regarding sales tax.

LivingSocial

Although a competitor, LivingSocial is now owned by Groupon. It offers enticing coupon deals, with a focus on local travel and events. Launched in August 2009, LivingSocial says it now reaches more than 14.5 million subscribers around the world.

The benefits are the same as with other deal sites: brand awareness, direct appeal to locally targeted markets, word-of-mouth advertising, high visibility to a new customer stream, and easy results tracking. LivingSocial, which has long offered travel deals under LivingSocial Escapes, also has categories for family deals, nationwide deals, at-home deals, online shopping, coupons, and gifts.

Like Groupon, LivingSocial is trying to get out of the daily deal grind. Instead of relying on random deals delivered by email, it’s trying to shift to a website and mobile app that allow shoppers to browse for offers from local businesses.

LivingSocial integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and email, and has apps for both the iPhone and Android. Like Groupon, it offers an affiliate program and in-house rewards for referrals.