Google Express: Holiday Giveaway a Bit Late and a Bit Off

This minor Fail for Creative and Timing is a lesson for all online marketers. 

Google Express had a targeted promotion where customers who make an eligible purchase through their shopping portal between November 5 and November 25 would receive a “surprise” thank-you discount with a personalized promo code on November 27. Deep in the disclosure, the copy explains (in presumably intentionally hard-to-read, faded gray-over-gray type—a Fail for Creative) that, while most customers would receive a $10 discount, 100 customers would enjoy a $100 discount—and five lucky customers would get a $500 discount. I guess that is what makes it a surprise.
Holiday Promotion 2018
Google Express promotion solicitation email
with a long, hard-to-read disclosure

I made a qualifying purchase and, while I did not receive the discount code on November 27, I did receive it on December 1. It was four days late and for only $10, but that still beats a poke in the eye.  
Holiday promotion
Fulfillment email from Google Express

Two days later, I went to make a purchase using the promo code by clicking on the email button labeled “Shop Now,” with a sleeping fox on it. I was greeted with this landing page:
Holiday Promotion 2018
Shop Now landing page

The headline reads “Our thank-you offer has ended.” However, I had received my thank-you email—not with an “offer” but with the promised discount code. It appears to me that this web page was written to be displayed starting November 26, the day after the purchase eligibility period ended.  

If this was the appropriate landing page for the “Shop Now” button sent on December 1, it should reinforce the holiday discount. Or perhaps “Shop Now” was supposed to go to a different landing page. Either way, the lessons are the same.

  1. If you want your customers to understand your offer, don't disguise your disclosure content with poor color contrast.  If you don't want your customers to understand your offer, ask yourself why.
  2. Be timely in your fulfillment of an offer. It’s better to underpromise and overdeliver than overpromise and underdeliver.
  3. Ensure that all links in your customer emails are mapped to the correct landing page, and that your corresponding landing page is current and appropriate for your marketing campaign

Update 12/5
Google Express changed the 'Shop Now' link landing page to something even more confusing:
Shop Now landing page 12/5/18

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