How to promote discounts in-app

Do you know what captivates your customers other than the quality of your product?

A good discount offer captivates your customers as equally as the quality of your product.

According to Hawk Incentives Research, 97% percent of people say that they look for a deal when shopping, and 80% say that they are willing to “go out of their way for a deal”. 

percentage of people looking for a deal when shopping

These numbers are striking. Especially the number of people who say that they are willing to go out of their way for a deal. This is proof that discounts do captivate customers.

Discounts are one of those strategies that should be at the core of your sales promotion strategies. 

But is having a discount enough by itself to captivate your customers? 

The answer is simply no because,

Discounts can easily slip away from the attention of your customers unless they are promoted skillfully. That is why communicating these discounts in a good way is equally important as having them. 

If your product is a flower then a discount is its color and a fragrance. As a flower that has vibrant colors and nice a fragrance draws bees to itself, your product should have discounts with vibrant colors and nice fragrance.

In other words, if you want to be able to promote discounts successfully, then they should truly offer something and they should be presented to the attention of your customers in an attractive way.

To present discounts to the attention of your customers, in-app promotion is one of the best and most effective ways.

Why promote discounts in-app

why you should promote discounts in-app

As important as discount marketing is, promoting discounts in-app is one of the most effective ways to draw the attention of customers and increase sales. 

Apps are great mediums for customer engagement but only when you know how to make use of them. 

The most significant advantage of apps is the time spent on them. 

A new report by App Annie suggests that the global average time spent in apps is 4.2 hours per day. This is a %30 increase from the time spent two years ago.

When you consider the time spent in apps, the visibility of your promotions is one of the highest among the other rates of visibility that you can get when using other mediums.

By promoting discounts in-app, you will only draw more attention to your app. This way, both your discount offers and the attractiveness of your app will interrelatedly boost each other.

If you can truly offer a discount that is of value to your customers, and if you can promote this discount at the most relevant time and point to the most relevant customer, then you can be sure that you will shine among the others who don’t do even one of these.

I said “even one of these” because even the lack of one of these can make you fail. So, you should take care of every single one of them.

The more people see tailor-made discount offers in your app, the more eager they will be to use your app. This way, they will not only see more of your promotions but also use your app more.

Thanks to the visibility and the attention that you can grab through in-app promotions, you can increase sales and product adoption to the fullest. 

Just to give you an idea about how effective in-app promotions and marketing can be:

According to research by Appsflyer, only 5.2% of users spend their money on in-app purchases. However, the money that these users spend is 20 times more than the average of all users.

Research by Nielsen also puts forward that globally, affordability is at the top of consumer’s list of reasons to purchase a new product. 43% percent of global respondents of the survey wish that more affordable products were available.

When you combine the statistics of in-app purchases with the desire to have more affordable products, the outcome is that in-app discount promotions are crucial for increasing sales and satisfying customers.


Here is a list of reasons why you should promote discounts in-app:

  • The most significant advantage of promoting discounts in-product is that thanks to the data that you have about your users’ behavior, it gives you the ability to promote special discounts for different kinds of customers. 
  • It helps you promote discounts time-sensitively. If your promotions are not time-sensitive and relevant, then you can be sure that your ROI (return on investment) will be very very low. 
  • It’s harder to ignore when compared to push notifications or email announcements. There’s a higher chance that your customers will be aware of the promotion. 
  • You can navigate users much easier in-app. 
  • You can get better results for your CTAs through in-app promotions.

Now that I believe that you’ve already known about the power of in-app promotions, or hoping that I convinced you to put emphasis on them, I should elaborate on how to promote discounts in-app.

How to promote discounts in-app 

how do you promote discounts in-app

The golden rule of promoting discounts is truly offering a “discount”. Don’t make an offer that will mock your customers’ intelligence. They want to have a discount that actually benefits them. 

Let me elaborate on what I’ve said when explaining why you should promote discounts in-app: 

In-app promotions can be very powerful when you know who you are promoting to. Apps help you know your customers much better. However, if you are not someone who can use the data smartly, then you will not be able to benefit from the advantages of in-app promotions. 

What’s equally important as promoting a discount that is attractive by itself is how you promote a discount.

If you want success for your discount promotions:

If you want success for your discount promotions:

1- Offer a discount that your customers will benefit from easily. Don’t make it harder for them to get to the discount.

You should not require a lot of effort for your customers to get to the discount. Make it easy for them. If you want them to put in some effort, then you should make it fun for them. This can be a fun game that people play to get a discount.

2- You have to know how to approach each customer specially.  

You should personalize your messages and your offers because a report by SmarterHQ suggests that 72% of consumers say that they only engage with personalized messages. 

3- And, you need to know when to approach your customers.

This is a very important strategy. A good example of this would be promoting food discounts right at the time of lunch. Doing this in-app gives you the opportunity to come up with the needs of your customers right on time.

4- You should use plain and effective language.

Make sure that you explain to your customer what the discount is for and how they can make use of it. It is very crucial that you guide your customers through the steps of how to make use of the discount.

Here is a video of a guide created to show how to announce Black Friday deals with UserGuiding:

5- Don’t fall into the trap of repetitiveness.

State of Demand 2013 research suggests that 77% of consumers want different content at each stage of the product research. This is a strong indicator that if you fall into repetition, you will lose people’s interest.

6- Update them about how much they’ve saved with their discount. 

People want to see solid returns of their efforts. This way you will actually present them with proof that they are benefiting from these discounts. As a result, it will help you build a trusting relationship with your customers.

Let me summarize it by saying if you:

  • Believe in the quality of your product 
  • Can say that the discount you offer is useful to your customers
  • Know how to promote the discount
  • Guide your customers through the steps of acquiring the discount

Then, you can be sure that success will come.

In-app Discount Promotion Examples

1- Reveal your deal promotion by Shoes.com

shoes.com in-app discount promotion

Shoes.com comes up with this great idea and promotes its discount playfully. It urges customers to take action to learn what kind of a deal they can get.

This corresponds very well to the idea of making it fun for your customers. This is the kind of effort that customers are willing to give when going through your processes. It encourages them to make use of the discount.

2- Free fries promotion by Mcdonald’s

Mcdonald's mobile application discount promotion

As one of the best sales promotion examples, Mcdonald’s promotion is a great way for CTA. 

On any Friday, customers could go to any Mcdonald’s for free fries for the whole year. What it required customers to do was that they had to order something of at least 1$ worth from the mobile app.

As you can guess, Fridays turned out to be the happiest days in Mcdonald’s and mobile downloads of their app increased drastically. 

This is the reason why I said “both your discount offers and the attractiveness of your app will interrelatedly boost each other” earlier in the article.

3- Birthday discount

birthday discount in-app

Birthday discounts are the best! 

This is a good example of personalizing your discount offer. You do not only talk to your customers by their name but you also celebrate a special occasion with them. Offering a gift for someone’s birthday is one of the best actions to build a good relationship.

Let’s Wrap It Up

Discounts are a necessary sales marketing strategy even to those who are lucky enough to say that they have a good quality product that shines out among all its competitors. 

When you know who your customers truly are, and promote your discounts in above-mentioned ways in accordance with the expectations and needs of your customers, you will only shine brighter from that point on. 

Keep in mind! 

Discounts should create a win-win opportunity for your customers and you. 
Here is another article about how to announce product updates that I think will be useful to you.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a sales promotion?

Sales promotion can be defined as incentives and rewards that enable and encourage customers to buy products now rather than later. In other words, they are incentives and rewards made to increase sales in a certain period of time while satisfying customers.


What are the 4 types of promotion?

Personal selling, advertising, public relations, and sales promotion are the 4 types of promotion.


How do you write a discount offer?

Keep your offer clear and brief, define the dates of your offer, and try to give something new to your customers both content-wise and discount-wise.

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Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that helps teams scale user onboarding and boost user engagement.