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Yahoo Japan tries in-app rewards to increase app retention

Yahoo Japan is equipping its mobile applications with rewards to better connect with groups of engaged mobile users.

The site has partnered with Kiip on a campaign to reward consumers with currencies that can be used to buy goods, services or donated. The campaign points to the growing trend where publishers create content that resembles a brand advertisement.

?It?s a growing trend when you see publishers becoming brands, and it's another way to grow brand relationships with those app users,? said Kevin Fishner, business intelligent lead at Kiip, San Francisco. 

?You are seeing a blurring line between what is a brand and what is a publisher, and Yahoo Japan is really both,? he said.

Mobile engagement
Yahoo Japan?s iOS and Android apps are deploying in-app rewards that consumers will unlock by engaging with content.

App users will be served a Kiip-powered piece of content in exchange for completing specific tasks.

For example, a consumer who bookmarks articles within the app might be offered an in-app reward. Similar to Kiip?s other efforts, the goal is for the in-app rewards to pop up sporadically as consumers engage with content.

The rewards will dole out Yahoo Japan?s T Points, which claims to be the largest shared loyalty program in Japan and includes more than 46 million unique members. Consumers can use T Points to buy goods, services, tickets and make charitable donations at 100 companies in Japan.

T Points are already available on Web sites but the move will transition the reward points over to mobile.

The campaign will run from July 24 ? Aug. 23.

The mobile initiative is aimed at retaining app users because the amount of app content that consumers interact with is directly tied with more rewards.

According to the companies, the Kiip partnership is the first time that Yahoo Japan has integrated a third-party platform into its apps.

T Points on a desktop

New advertising opportunities
McDonald?s, Pepsi and Hasbro are all examples of brands that have worked with Kiip in the past year to reach in-app and engaged consumers.

For example, McDonald?s recently ran a campaign to promote its Big Mac sandwiches. The campaign gave consumers a chance to redeem $2 worth of MP3s for playing their favorite music apps (see story).

The Kiip and Yahoo Japan effort is part of Kiip?s mission to expand beyond serving up brand messages within mobile apps.

For publishers, in-app rewards could be effective at helping to monetize content as more traffic moves to smartphones and tablets.

?It?s great to see Kiip associated with such a big name as Yahoo Japan,? Mr. Fishner said.
?We?re really just giving our developer partners the tools that they have been asking about, and you will see other apps using the same kind of technology,? he said.

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