Kiip has launched a new tool that brands can use to add mobile rewards to their own apps and drive consumer engagement. Calling it a “loyalty platform,” Kiip says the technology can be used to create a new kind of online loyalty program for users that interact with brands on mobile and social media.
The San Francisco startup has earned recognition for its innovative approach to mobile advertising, which focuses on mobile “moments” when users are especially happy or engaged. The idea is that by giving a user a reward when they complete a level in a game or a task on a to-do app, brands can message them when they’re most likely to be receptive to it. By providing gratification — whether it’s an in-app reward, like an extra life or exclusive content access, or a real-life reward like a product offer — the brand is linked to the user’s sense of achievement.
The new loyalty platform makes it possible for brands to include reward moments in their own apps, social media pages and mobile websites. When the consumer interacts with the brand — by purchasing a product from a mobile store, playing a branded game, or recommending the app to a friend — they receive an instant loyalty reward. For example, ordering a meal through a quick-service restaurant app might reward the user with a free drink.
Unlike the current Kiip integration, which sources rewards from brands to help app publishers monetize, the loyalty platform will be white labeled and controlled by the brand that owns the app.
“It’s the same engine that’s been powering the 3,000 apps and 30 million rewards we’ve doled out, but now brands can license it for their own loyalty purposes,” said Kiip founder and CEO Brian Wong. “We realized… if we have the opportunity to not only help brands acquire customers through moments, but also help them retain and create loyal customers through moments, we should go for it.”
Marketers already using Kiip to offer rewards through paid media on Kiip’s network can tie those rewards to loyalty campaigns on their own media, Wong said. That way users can receive and redeem similar rewards, both for using the brand’s app or a Kiip-enabled app like Any.Do.
He said unlike traditional loyalty programs, Kiip will not have the option to reward users with points. Though there will be the option to reward consumers for repeated actions — like a free movie after 10 visits — the platform will focus on short-term rewards. Part of the reason for that is to avoid the heavy liabilities that points-based programs generate, i.e. the risk that at any moment thousands or millions of points could be redeemed, at a substantial cost to the brand.
“It’s a mobile-first, no-points loyalty to system,” said Wong. “If we succeed with what we’re doing in the next two to three years with this loyalty system, new generations will not know rewards as rewards that are accumulated, but rewards that are instant gratification. It’s a shift in the consumer mindset.”
Personalization is another big differentiator from traditional loyalty programs. Thanks to Kiip’s extensive data, aggregated over three years and 30 million delivered rewards, it can tell what rewards different users are most likely to find relevant. Rewards can be tailored to the kinds of behaviours that trigger them — offering specialized rewards for new and impressionable visitors, or loyal power-users.
To fund development of the new loyalty platform, Kiip raised an undisclosed sum from Verizon Ventures, Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media, and Michael Serbinis, founder of Kobo. Wong said several Canadian marketer clients will begin using the platform in early 2015.