I've noticed this recently with the email offers I receive from a certain brand that I frequent.

They'd send a email with an offer - the dates when the offer is valid for - and CTA with "Activate Now". Users who tap this link is taken to the offer page with the offer activated.

I'd like to hear the effectiveness and value of this ux.

Personally I think these are the pros:

  • The business receives immediate feedback on the popularity of certain offers
  • The user is immediately engaged although not committed to the offer
  • The user is directed to the offer page for that brand and is presented with other offers like it.

and the cons:

  • Can't come up with any yet.
  • 2
    Is it really a UX issue that you are concerned about, as it seems far more of a marketing-driven question to me? What do you mean are they 'effective' in terms of UX?
    – JonW
    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:59
  • Ah thanks @JonW, I'll try to clarify my thoughts: as a user I've felt less inclined to respond to the pre-existing standard email campaigns. It just so happens that the notion of "activating an offer" - where an offer is only valid once I activate it seems more personal. I find that its a new user experience and would value other's insights to it.
    – micap
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:07
  • The fact that I've added a few marketing tags and pros are just a matter of a few brain dumps and context setting
    – micap
    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:08
  • I agree that activate does feel like more of a pull than any other CTA prompts that we are used to.
    – Steve A
    Oct 17, 2013 at 19:12
  • Rephrased the question
    – micap
    Oct 17, 2013 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


Differentiating UX from marketing here is tricky. I'll assume that this is effective in driving sales or the marketing department wouldn't be sending out the emails.

These emails are an alternative to the promo-codes that many sites use, and can in effect be seen as automatically applied promo-codes. So it's probably worth looking at the experience of them in relation to promo-codes. What's the experience of promo-codes?

  1. If you have one you feel happy and get satisfaction when you reduce the price.
  2. If you don't have one you might search for one on or feel like you ought to have one. Customers can learn to look for them on sites like myvouchercodes.co.uk etc. and they can find out of date codes leading to frustration.
  3. The box to input them prompts customers without them to feel like they are missing out. This causes drop out.

Promo-codes can drive traffic but generally don't lead to a great experience on balance. Sending an email where customers follow a link and the promotion is automatically applied has a subtly different experience:

  1. The offer is more personalised - only the special people with the email can get the offer.
  2. Items 2 & 3 from the list above don't matter any more.

So generally automatically applied promotions offer roughly the same happy path but without many of the negative experiences that promo-codes produce.

It's worth mentioning that over-using these types of offers can lead to customers being trained that they should wait until they get the next offer before making a purchase. Balance the short term wins against this carefully.

  • I don't think it's that similar to promo-codes - however your comparisons were welcomed.
    – micap
    Oct 21, 2013 at 10:55
  • What's interesting is that other brands can send a selective list of members offers without these users having to activate the offer. Does this make the user experience better?
    – micap
    Oct 21, 2013 at 10:58
  • Certainly for the company I'm working for, the promo-codes offers and offers applied directly from an email are seen as equivalent marketing activities. My experience is not having to activate an offer does improve the experience by removing many of the negatives.
    – edeverett
    Oct 21, 2013 at 11:49

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