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Will People Pay Attention Instead of Cash to Level Up Non-Gaming Mobile Apps?




Freemium is a concept that works in mobile gaming. Freemium apps brought in almost 10 billion in revenue last year and 80% of that went to games. We’ll pay to level up faster, get the hottest virtual goods and unlock areas we’ve never seen before. We’ll pay to keep playing. But Tapjoy has discovered that people are also willing to pay attention instead of cash.

Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange model lets players earn credits and upgrades by completing brand tasks. Want to play a few more rounds of Family Feud? Watch this ad for a new shampoo and you’re in.

earn coins

Tapjoy is taking this concept a step further by branching out into other types of apps; non-gaming apps and that’s where it gets interesting.

We know people are addicted to their games, but will they watch an advertisement in order to get more cooking lessons from the Top Chef University app? Premium wallpaper from University Wallpaper? Free calls and text messages through Ping? Sounds like just the ticket for young, cash-strapped, mobile junkies. But is it a good thing for marketers, too?

Incentiveizing people to do something they wouldn’t normally do works. The downside is that you’re delivering your message to someone who isn’t interested in the product, they just want the prize. We see this with big giveaways. People will happily “like” your Facebook page for a chance to win, but most will “unlike” you when they realize they haven’t won.

So why bother offering ads for perks? Because in the majority of cases their action does have a positive effect. A recent SocialVibe report states that 48% of people who were incentivized to interact with a brand message actually paid attention to the message. Brand perception rose 22%.

The trick is in matching the incentive with the target audience and that doesn’t always happen. If I’m using Top Chef University to learn how to cook, I’m okay with ads that relate to food. Don’t try to sell me insurance or ask me to sign-up for a credit card. Pretty basic and yet I can’t believe some of the off-the-mark things I’m asked to do in order to get a perk.

How do you feel about incentivized advertising? A good way to get more eyes or a waste of everyone’s time?

  • Andrew Verescak

    It’s an interesting dichotomy. A peer I spoke to about this called it “pay or pain” which makes me think there is a negative connotation surrounding it already. With that said, it’s all about the relativity of the ad – and I think that this is something that will come with time. To know specifics about who I actually am and deliver advertising based on ME is much different than showing me a “download an IM smiley pack for Friendster here” advertisement.