Google is trying their damndest to build an effective daily deal and offers service, but it's an uphill struggle. Google's recently added resources for this effort, including early testing of Offer Ads. Offers Ads allow business owners to provide coupons directly from the Google SERP.
How Offer Ads Work
Image via Search Engine Land
Offer Ads is an experimental feature being offered to local business owners participating in the Google Offers service. While Google Offers is a daily deal service (much akin to Groupon) available in select areas, and certain extra elements related to Offers include an embedded promotion in advertisements, Offer Ads takes this a step further.
The advertisement on Google's SERP (and presumably on other locations in the future, such as Google Maps) provides details on the specific offer – what it's for, how much you save, the expiration date, etc. – and a "view offer" button. Users can then click on that button to go directly to the offer page.
From there, users have access to any additional necessary data (such as a mandatory promotional code), and the option to print the offer, save the offer to their Google account, and even use the Android/iOS app "Google Shopper" to redeem the offer from their smartphone. In cases where the deal requires an up-front purchase, shoppers can make that purchase via Google Checkout.
The Awesome Optimization Matrix
As Greg Sterling noted, this entire procedure creates a "'closed loop' or quasi-closed-loop transaction." What we end up with is a matrix of integrated data that lets you see how your ad CTR is impacted by the offer, how many people save or print the offer, and what portion of them then redeem it. In other words, the matrix of data provided by the various Google services is way more useful than the matrix that has us trapped and working as heat batteries for evil AI.
By integrating AdWords, Offers, Places, and even smartphone apps, Google gains an information edge that should be highly appealing to local business owners. Coupon optimization, ad optimization, and all else associated with deal-based promotions is made far simpler thanks to the architecture and reach of this early-phase Google product. Webmasters interested in learning more about the options available can register for the beta service here.