What Do Digital and E-commerce Leaders Need to Know About Coupon Extensions and Ad Injections?
As a digital leader, you invest a lot of time, budget and resources to create strategic marketing and website plans that ensure a positive online user experience, increase business revenue and build brand reputation.
To ensure these goals are being met, you continuously look at site data, including metrics like click-through rates, time on site, unique visitor counts, bounce rates and conversion rates. It is an ongoing and active cycle of measuring, analyzing, optimizing and testing.
When looking at your data, the following questions could surface:
- Why is the bounce rate so high?
- What is driving the large number of abandoned carts?
- Why is the conversion rate so low?
To find answers to these questions, you might check to make sure page load speeds are as planned, the site messaging and content on your product and web pages is being well received and the products being sold are relevant and performing well. Some ways to find the not-so-obvious answers to these questions could be to conduct customer interviews or surveys, read customer feedback and testimonials, or talk directly to customers.
But what if you do all this and you still find yourself with high bounce and cart abandonment rates, and conversion loss rates that you just can’t explain? Your site could be experiencing this negative impact due to a problem completely hidden to you - coupon extensions and ad injections that interact with your site through a visitor’s browser. These extensions and injections are plugins that the shopper has downloaded and now run on their web browser. These plugins can be downloaded on browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox and many more.When shoppers visit your website, these extensions start to activate and inject pop-ups and ads into the shopper’s experience, often obscuring existing content, promotions, ads, or calls to action (CTAs) like “add to cart” or “checkout” buttons. These pop-ups and ads redirect shoppers to competitors, display unwanted ads and content, or fraudulently tag user traffic to collect affiliate and referral fees.
What Are the Different Types of Browser-based Coupon Extensions and Ad Injections?
Coupon extensions are browser extensions that find and apply coupon codes and cashback offers at checkout to help shoppers get the best deal possible and save money when they make a purchase. They also help e-commerce companies by bringing users to their site and increasing their conversions rates. Coupon providers include Honey, Rakuten, Amazon Assistant, Wikibuy and thousands of others. These companies have turned digital coupon-clipping into an industry that is big and only getting bigger.
Many coupon extensions also offer price comparisons. The same extension that offers your coupon to a visitor on your site is also offering price comparisons to similar products from competitors. They entice users to click, leading them to your competitor’s site to complete their purchases. Much of your conversion loss is likely from competitor’s coupons being displayed to users on your site. Without visibility into them, you have no way to monitor or block competitor pop ups that are hurting your conversion rates and your revenue.
Unsavory, Unauthorized and Unwanted Ad Injections
Many browser based ad injectors add unauthorized, unsavory and deceptive ads and content, which can damage your brand reputation. Some of these extensions serve ads from ad networks that support malvertising. These injected ads block links and buttons that the visitor is trying to use to add an item to a shopping cart or to complete a purchase. They also block legitimate ads you placed on your site. And they tend to be persistent, popping up even after a user refreshes the page.
Fraudulent Affiliate Codes
In a normal online advertising world, you spend money on a Google search campaign and buy adwords to drive traffic to your ecommerce site and web pages. Your customer acquisition cost is relatively easy to calculate and therefore, you can determine your return on investment on the campaign, as well as average revenue per user and lifetime revenue.
Now imagine that the customer that you spent money on to acquire through Google adwords suddenly has their referral code switched due to an extension on their browser. You are now paying an affiliate fee for that customer’s purchase on your website, even though the affiliate provided no help. This is ad fraud and you are paying affiliate fees that were not earned. It costs money to bring a customer to your site and to receive their click. How do you calculate the ROI on those users? In the end, you unknowingly pay for that user twice.
Malware and adware of all types poses serious threats to both privacy and security. There are thousands of extensions and some are malicious and bring malware with them. These extensions steal usernames, passwords and personal data. As a website owner, you have no idea what your visitors are bringing with them when they visit your site. Even worse, these malicious extensions are sometimes installed as part of free anti-malware software. Online users should look for warning signs when installing extensions, while e-commerce sites should look for ways to protect against any malware interacting with their site.
In summary, browser-based coupon extensions and ad injections are hurting your conversions, brand reputation and your bottom line. And since these happen on the users’ browser, you have no visibility into how they appear on your web site or web pages and no knowledge of the negative impact they have.
How Do Coupon Extensions and Ad Injections Impact Ecommerce Websites?
You work hard on your digital marketing plan to provide a positive customer experience, one that results in revenue to your company. Browser extensions and plugins distract your customers and disrupt their path to purchase. This hurts your brand reputation and leads to revenue loss.
Coupon extensions and ad injections negatively impact your shopper’s experience and your digital business. First, they frustrate the visitor because the site doesn’t work as expected. The pop-ups and ads disrupt the user experience, making it difficult to view content and browse the site. And, they follow the user throughout the site. Clicking on a pop-up could redirect a user to a competitor or third-party site, causing disorientation and distrust of your site and brand. Even if the shopper attempts to ignore these pop ups and gets to the checkout page, they could be redirected to a web page on a different site even then, right before order confirmation. This leads to cart abandonment and conversion loss. In fact, the typical cart abandonment rate for online retailers is around 80%.
Website owners should look for solutions that detect active coupon extensions, ad injections and malware. With these solutions, you can quickly take action to monitor, analyze their impact on conversion and block some actions based on your customized business needs.
What Solutions Have Digital And E-commerce Leaders Traditionally Used To Manage Coupon Extensions and Ad Injections?
Most digital leaders are unaware of the severity of the coupon extension and ad injection problem. Therefore they are not taking action and losing customers as a result. Because coupon extensions and ad injections are carried by the shopper’s browser, the site owner never sees them. In fact, most digital businesses are completely unaware of the problem and how to solve it.
Some digital businesses attempt to solve this by using manual and costly Content Security Policy (CSP) which aims to defend against unauthorized content injections. CSP is written by web developers and security teams to define permissions for page assets and access controls to network resources. But CSP is not a scalable solution. It’s a moving target which requires manual monitoring and ongoing updates. Web developers and security resources cannot keep up. Other digital leaders attempt to build an in-house solution to address the browser extension problem. With new extensions appearing by the day and the existing ones continuously evolving, keeping up is next to impossible. This approach consumes IT resources and can be very costly and time-consuming. Detecting and analyzing ever changing browser-based coupon extensions and ad injections requires ongoing maintenance and expertise.
A Modern Solution to Manage Coupon Extensions and Ad Injections
A modern solution for browser extensions should have the following capabilities:
Coupon extensions and ad injections are ever-evolving. It is essential to have a solution that is able to continuously learn about new browser extensions and provide alerts based on constantly updated intelligence.
Customizable actions for extensions
Not all browser extensions are bad for your site. The solution should be able to monitor all distractions and give you the ability to block some coupon extensions and ad injections and allow others, based on your customized business needs and their impact to your KPIs.
Scalability without loss of performance
When implementing a solution for coupon extensions and ad injections, your website application and web pages should not suffer negative consequences. Users are easily distracted and will leave your site if they think performance or page load time is slow. A solution with little-to no-website and application performance impact is a top requirement.
Integrations with key platforms and web analytics tools is important for fast and easy deployment into your existing infrastructure. The solution you choose should have the ability to share data with other applications like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture, so that you get the insights you need to grow your business.
Learn how a leading e-commerce retailer cuts out online coupons and cranks up conversions.