Google scoops up maker of data-rich coupon programs

Five-year-old Incentive Targeting joins Google as part of the company's mobile commerce efforts.

Casey Newton Former Senior Writer
Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.
Casey Newton
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Google said today that it has acquired Incentive Targeting, a maker of coupon programs tailored to shoppers based on their individual purchase histories.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Google said the company would become part of its mobile commerce efforts.

"We look forward to working with Incentive Targeting in our ongoing efforts to help consumers save time and money and enable retailers to deliver relevant discounts to the right customers," a Google spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail.

Founded in 2007, Incentive Targeting worked with retail chains and brands to design promotions, deliver them via coupon, and track their return on investment in real time. The company created a handy infographic that explains what it does -- and, indirectly, why Google was likely interested in it.

What Incentive Targeting does. Incentive Targeting

In short: data. Bringing Incentive Targeting into the fold gives Google access to all the data Incentive Targeting has been acquiring about consumer behavior since it entered the marketplace. It also uses a very Googley self-service platform for retailers to build and track their promotions, giving it significant growth potential. The company has said that its original vision was inspired by Google's approach.

The founders named Google's reach as a significant reason behind their decision to sell.

"As part of Google, we will have the resources and expertise to continue the transformation of couponing from a way to give discounts to a way to build business," they said in a post on their website. "And, we can now work towards that vision as part of a company that improves the lives of hundreds of millions of people every day."

The Massachusetts company had raised about $4 million from investors including LaunchCapital and Hub Angels Investment Group, according to Crunchbase.