LivingSocial’s Groupon Now-killer, LivingSocial Instant, appears to now have an ad unit that promotes specific deals (see right). This is pretty interesting, as it adds a new layer to how daily deals can be promoted or sold. Foursquare head of business development Tristan Walker spotted the apparent new feature and tweeted about it.
LivingSocial Instant, like Groupon Now, isn’t a daily blast of deals but a mobile app that gives you deals on the go. It’s probably the future of the industry, as that’s a much harder business to replicate than daily deals and can give merchants better ROI.
It’s not clear whether LivingSocial is charging for this. In fact, if we had to bet, we would say they’re not. It’s more likely they’re advertising deals that they really want to fill up before they expire.
In any case, it shows that the daily deal/group buying industry is a new form of offline-to-online advertising and that it has a lot of things to explore beyond just daily discounts.
And it points to a future where daily deals are less a daily blast and more a live marketplace for empty seats at restaurants. And marketplaces always have room for advertising.