Amazon, eBay target Wi-Fi users to drive app downloads
August 26, 2013
Download the Lowe's app in exchange for free Wi-Fi
EBay and Amazon are leveraging a new ad product from Wi-Fi provider Boingo that prompts consumers to download a mobile application in exchange for Internet access.
The idea behind Boingo's new ad products is to get advertisers in front of consumers who are looking for quick Wi-Fi access in new ways that think beyond a static banner ad, such as a full-screen placements. Boingo also recently added Wi-Fi advertising locations at eight airports and 15 malls in Canada, including Calgary International Airport and Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Center.
“We will give your audience free Wi-Fi and in exchange for that we ask for 30 seconds of their attention in return,” said Sebastian Tonkin, vice president of advertising product management at Boingo Media, Los Angeles.
“We run this full-screen captive placement that users see before they are granted free internet access,” he said. “Our focus has been on trying to get the maximum amount of ROI for advertisers while asking for the minimum amount of engagement from users.
“The ideal ad is when the advertiser feels that they got a meaningful exchange, and the user gets free internet.”
After expanding to Canada, Boingo Media now manages Wi-Fi advertising services at more than 65 airports, more than 7,000 Starbucks-owned stores, the New York subway system, hotels, shopping centers and more.
In locations such as airports, Boingo offers free, paid and ad-supported Wi-Fi, but consumers can now choose to download an app instead of paying for their Wi-Fi.
When a consumer tries to connect to Wi-Fi, a screen pops up promoting one of the many apps that use Boingo’s service. If a consumer downloads the app, he or she will get free Wi-Fi.
In other locations such as the subway, Boingo provides free Wi-Fi to everyone. In these locations, downloading an app is optional, and a consumer can choose to skip the screen and continue to free Wi-Fi.
More than a dozen brands have partnered with Boingo to use the app download service.
According to Boingo, 20 percent of its users take advantage of the app download option.
Boingo also offers other creative platforms, where consumers can watch a 30-second video or engage with an ad in some other way to get free Wi-Fi.
Boingo’s interactive campaigns average a click-through rate of 12 percent, which the company claims are higher than the rates the company sees with banner ads.
Boingo offers free Wi-Fi in exchange for engaging with ads
One challenge that marketers are having with apps is that it can be very difficult to get consumers to engage with an app on a frequent basis beyond the initial download. Especially with the crowded app market, consumers may download an app and then a couple weeks later realize they are not using it and decide to delete it.
According to Mr. Tonkin, Boingo’s platform combats that challenge by providing ads for relevant apps in appropriate contexts.
For example, consumers in an airport will be prompted to download travel-related apps to get Wi-Fi.
“From that standpoint, we’re putting the app in the hands of the right person, in a positive context,” Mr. Tonkin said.
“From that point on, most of our marketers understand that part of the responsibility is theirs to drive post-download activity,” he said. “The biggest indicator for us that we’re getting that post-click engagement is that they continue to spend money with us.
“We will guarantee that the install has been completed, and we will guarantee that its targeted to a particular audience. From there we need to work with the advertisers to make sure that their apps get used.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York
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