Running an incentive campaign is complicated. Between selecting the incentive, organizing the promotion, and tracking results, there’s a lot to think about. This week we’re focusing on a simple aspect of these campaigns that many campaigns work with – coupon codes.
If you’re reading this article, I’ll assume you have a basic understanding of coupon codes: a keyword or series of characters that trigger an incentive at checkout. Coupon codes are the industry standard, and for good reason.
As opposed to offering a discount on an item, coupon codes emulate the experience of redeeming a physical coupon. Psychologically speaking, coupons are powerful: they’ve been shown to reduce shopper stress and increase oxytocin levels.
While coupon codes are highly effective, they are complicated by the potential for “coupon hacking” – i.e., manipulating coupon codes. This isn’t a new problem; however, the practice reduces both a coupon code’s value as a marketing and sales tool.
In order to reduce the impact of coupon hacking on your business, we need to take a look at coupon codes themselves.
The 2 Types of Coupon Codes Structures
Although there are many variations on the concept, coupon codes fall into one of two structures:
Randomized: A code made up of random letters and/or numbers
Static: A code that utilizes a word or phrase
Each of the methods offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. First let’s talk about random codes.
Benefits of Randomized Codes
The biggest advantage to random codes is their security. The odds of would-be coupon abusers guessing a random code is extraordinarily low. For instance, a 10-digit numerical code has 10 billion possible permutations, making a sheer guess unlikely.
In general, random codes are unique to individuals. That is, a set number of unique codes are created, then sent to customers for use. These codes are typically single-use, so they cannot be shared after the fact. While they’re very secure, random codes do have downsides.