Access Codes / Vouchers / Gift Cards for digital services


To understand how to use access codes/vouchers/gift codes to drive growth for digital services.

Early Findings

  • It was noted that the focus of this research is more digital "gift cards" and "gift certificates" for digital services, rather than promotional or coupon codes. The difference is the prior is purchased (or obtained) to trade in for the service, whereas the second is more a promotional exercise to give either a free period or money off.
  • Gift cards/gift certificates were the most desired Christmas present among US survey respondents.
  • One study found that people receiving a digital gift card for their birthday, they were 56% more likely to give a digital gift in kind. This means up to 1/3 of digital gifts, like on platforms like Facebook, were inspired by receiving one in the first place.
  • Specifically for Facebook giving, a survey found that the platform encouraged gift-giving, as many users would not have given a gift otherwise.
  • Ages 45-64 had the highest levels of Facebook gift-giving, presumably because gift both to their peers and to younger generations on the platform.
  • Workplaces are increasingly turning to digital gifts cards as the lead time and distribution costs are lower. Additionally, some companies will purchase a digital gift but still distribute physical cards with a printed link to the code. Some studies show that experience "increases the perceived value of the reward experience".
  • One business case for using gift cards/codes is that it instantly creates multiple touchpoints for both givers and receivers. Recipients will visit the site to activate, check the balance, reload, etc. Tying a gift card to a loyalty program will also encourage repeat business.
  • 5 best practices for marketing the sale of gift cards are: prominent placement (on website), flexible format, seamless integration, loyalty tie-in and innovative messaging.
  • The vast majority of public information is on gift cards in general. There is little to no information specifically on gift cards, etc. just for digital services.
  • 55% of millennials are interested in a digital gift card/code that can be added directly to their mobile wallet. 67% of millennials are interested in receiving a digital gift in any form.
  • In 2017, 6.1 digital gifts were purchased, on average, per US internet user. Despite this, 71% of all gift cards in that year were still purchased in-store.

Proposed next steps:

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