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GroupMe takes advantage of trending topics with new campaign

Microsoft mobile messaging application GroupMe is leveraging multiple popular themes with its new scavenger hunt contest in an attempt to stay relevant. 

Flo Finda is a new campaign backed by multiple big-name entertainment publications that GroupMe is launching to coincide with the last week of March Madness. App users attending schools associated with the college basketball event will complete scavenger hunt challenges through the app for a chance to win a private campus concert from popular music artist Flo Rida along with numerous other daily prizes.

?With the contest being supported by NCAA, ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed and MTVU, among others, the marketing on something like this is assured to be in front of the students,? said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta. ?It's pretty smart on the part of GroupMe to make this a college effort as it will allow them to grab a larger bulk of a demographic that is important for their app with students pushing each other to be the winner.  

?I would think as the deadline draws closer, the numbers could rise quite a bit higher for the competition aspect of the contest,? she said. ?This campaign is well thought through and very well executed.?

GroupMe is the mobile-age equivalent of what used to be instant messaging. Similar to WeChat and Kik, users can SMS-like messages on their mobile devices and desktop as well to group chat.

Flndas keepers
The campaign is encompassing a multitude of trending factors such as the popularity of the musician Flo Rida and hype around the basketball event. The app has a greater chance to publicize by including all these subjects in the contest.
Eligible students must download the GroupMe app and create group messages with friends and include their university. The schools involved are Duke, UNC, University of Arizona, UCLA, University of Kentucky, University of Connecticut, Ohio State, University of Florida, University of Maryland and Michigan State. 

Participants win points weekly for their respective schools by solving clues relating to locations nearby. The university with the greatest amount of points at the end will win the private Flo Rida concert. 

If the concert is not enough of an incentive, GroupMe is also offering daily prizes such as gift cards, wearables and an Xbox One. 

?If there was only one prize it might be a little more difficult to grab the interest of a larger group of students, with only one school winning the concert,? Ms. Troutman said. ?The option for other interesting prizes potentially could raise the number of participants.?

Back in the game
For GroupMe, the addition of group messages to iOS devices poses a problem since users no longer have to rely on accessing an outside app to send group messages. It is more seamless for iPhone users to group-converse through iMessage. 

Other device manufacturers have also added similar features in recent years. It is not surprising that GroupMe would want to polish its marketing strategy. 

Creating a campaign such as this latest effort will encourage more users to continue using the GroupMe or even draw in new ones. This scavenger hunt is offering something that traditional group messaging does not offer. 

The campaign is a fun activity that can pull in contestants for solely the intriguing factor but to add to it, the grand prize is a large enough pay off for consumers to get involved.

Scavenger hunts are seemingly in vogue.

For example, CBS Local Digital Media recently launched a new photo gaming app for iOS named Pingo from which different brands across the board will benefit. The app also follows a scavenger-like format and is building awareness for multiple brands (see more). 

The Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber also took advantage of mobile marketing with a game (see more). 

This type of contest could definitely benefit Flo Rida and March Madness along with the others participating such as NCAA, ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed and MTVU, among others, Ms. Troutman said. 

?Whether the contest benefits the college is to be seen," she said. "If anything, a contest like this could bring more students to interact with each other in this day of perceived 'schizophrenic' activity with students being constantly tied to devices. 

"A contest like this could help with interactivity that may not otherwise happen.?

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York