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Nike boosts Thanksgiving campaign via rewards-based mobile ads

Nike is building up awareness and mobile sales for its products with a new advertising campaign that rewards consumers for using mobile applications.

Nike?s mobile ads are running within SessionM?s network of mobile apps, including the ScanLife iPhone app. The ads are part of a Thanksgiving-themed campaign from Nike called Turkey Bowl to promote the athletic brand?s line of Hyperwarm clothes.

?Engagement in mobile apps is notoriously difficult, and there's a growing backlash to campaigns that interrupt the user experience,? said Mark Ghermezian, CEO of Appboy, New York.

?In-app rewards minimize this disruption by giving people something back for their time, which makes it worth their while to engage with an ad,? he said.

?Brands like Nike understand this value equation. It also makes sense for them to reward mobile users around the holidays, where the prevalent theme is giving.?

Mr. Ghermezian is not affiliated with Nike or SessionM. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Nike and SessionM did not meet press deadline.

Heating up mobile
SessionM works with publishers to reward consumers for interacting with mobile apps. Each in-app action that consumers make is tied to points that can then be redeemed for gift cards and other prizes.

For example, every time that a consumer uses the bar code scanning feature within the ScanLife iPhone he or she earns 10 points. They can be earned once per day.

After consumers click-through to redeem their points, a full-page ad from Nike pops up. 

The ad features a swipable slideshow with three images in it. 

Consumers are then encouraged to browse through all three images. Each image features a different Hyperwarm product that can be shared across Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Nike?s campaign also includes the hashtag #Bringthegravy that encourages consumers to get active over the holiday weekend and buy football gear.

After viewing all three images, another full-screen ad appears with copy that reads, ?Get the Gravy.? A logo from sports retailer Dick?s Sporting Goods appears on the ad.

When consumers click through on the ad, they are directed to a product page within Dick?s Sporting Goods? mobile site that features all of Nike?s Hyperwarm clothes.

From there, consumers can shop the products straight from Dick?s Sporting Goods? mobile site.

Mobile past
Last year, Nike ran a mobile advertising campaign during the holidays that also promoted its Hyperwarm clothing line (see story).  

As mobile advertising matures though, marketers are increasingly interested in testing some of the new, rewards-based advertising units to drive deeper engagement than display ads offers.

?The success of in-app rewards campaigns are an acknowledgement that regular mobile display ads - with their paltry 0.8 percent click-through rates - don't work,? Mr. Ghermezian said.

?In the same that marketers are looking beyond push notifications to new messaging formats like the in-app news feed, advertisers are looking to innovate on mobile ads,? he said. ?The common theme for both is the need for deeper engagement, not just a click-through.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York