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Seize the Moment: Kiip and In-App Rewards for Mobile Ads

Mar 4, 2014

“Assume that nobody gives a s*** about you…” mobile-advertising

That advice for entrepreneurs comes from Brian Wong, the 22-year-old CEO of Kiip, a mobile advertising network that incents consumers with rewards delivered through apps to help brands drive loyalty and sales. With reward partners that include Walt Disney Pictures, Amazon, Pepsi and Proctor & Gamble, you can be sure many of these rewards include free bevvies, snacks, cinema tickets and money-off coupons to get consumers onto their websites and into stores.

Wong’s lightbulb moment for Kiip happened during a flight as he peaked at passengers’ iPads and saw they were all playing games – but the games had no added value to the engagement. “What people saw [with mobile] was in many cases just a smaller version of a desktop screen,” Wong says. “Brands forgot with mobile there was a real change in how people were consuming media.”  

Kiip’s focus is to capture consumers in the moment, such as when favoriting a song or finishing a to-do list. In other words, Kiip enables brands to reward users for specific behaviors through apps. Last year, the company launched Precision Moments Targeting (PMT), a way for brands to measure and analyze these ‘moments’ using tools such as:

  • Neural Net – Uses machine learning to understand more about what reward would be much more appropriate based on a combination of lookalikes and first-party data through Kiip’s survey product.
  • Mindset/Sentiment Tracking – Targets consumers in peak happiness moments when they are in a mindset where they welcome a reward, or reciprocity.  Twitter_Sentiment

While other mobile ad strategies might try to extend time spent on an app or game, Kiip has a real human-focus and tries to add branded value to a moment of joy or surprise or interest. Yet that’s not as easy as it may seem.

According to Meredith Corporation (Kiip recently landed a major deal with them), the Better Homes and Gardens’ Must Have Recipes app averages a 13-minute visit. That’s a good amount of time, but merely looking at it as ad time won’t make for good mobile ads. The app is not 13 minutes but 780 seconds (or moments). What are users feeling – and doing – during each of those moments and how can brands enhance that experience rather than interrupt it or drag it out?

A recent survey of U.S. consumers by PwC found that 71% of respondents were not likely to click through to watch a mobile ad even if the ad is more relevant to them. Relevancy is important, but it is not enough. The survey also found that of the 69% who are amenable to some time for mobile ads, they prefer them most when in a “leisurely” mode such as during the weekends. How consumers feel – and how ads make them feel – are as important as relevancy.

The VP of analytics at Huge, Inc., a digital marketing agency, commented last year that “We typically find that mobile devices have a lower conversion rate, higher bounce rate and generally lower levels of engagement. If you compare this to a desktop asset, you might think that the mobile site is failing — but what is really happening is that it is meeting the needs of the user at the time.” In other words, mobile is all about the moment, and if you can own that, as Kiip is trying to do, then you are at least on the right track toward a workable mobile strategy, which may not deliver ROI unless it gets users to another channel (such as in-store or on a website).

What do you think about Kiip’s mobile ad approach of rewarding users for certain behaviors through apps? Do you respond to mobile ads, and why or why not? Let the ThinkInk community know with a comment!

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