Editor’s Note: There’s a big job ahead for marketers as they adjust and update their loyalty program structures to engage Gen Z consumers. Carly Ostasiewski, Growth Manager at adjoe, shares insight into something that was new to us; applying gamification techniques to the mobile ad space as a key component of brand strategy. Rewarding non-transactional behaviors such as game-playing and surveys has been done, but this approach is presented as a seamless part of the user experience and has the results to show. Adjoe is a German based ad tech company and so these examples are important for marketers in other geographies to digest and understand. Play along with Carly here and we bet you’ll have some good ideas to improve your own customer connections!
As Gen Z surpasses both Baby Boomers and Millennials to take the crown as the largest global generation, brands must grow to adapt to the needs of a new dominant digital consumer. Considering that this generation was basically born with a smartphone in hand, its no surprise that they spend on average over 4 hours a day on their device with mobile as their most effective point of sale.
Given that mobile is the social fabric of this commercial powerhouse, brand strategists must expand their digital connection in order to engage and retain this maturing economic force. Among the most effective retention strategies is the consumer loyalty program, which drives customer engagement with a brand across multiple touchpoints.
Today consumer loyalty programs have been valued as a $2.5 billion business with the expectation to grow to approximately $10 billion by 2027. However, in order for brands to be successful and survive with the upcoming mobile-savvy generation, they must evaluate their digital connection to consumers and continue to find ways for customers to earn and redeem points across multiple channels.
Southwest Airlines was recently named the number one consumer loyalty program in America for its flexibility to earn not only through airline purchases but by offering consumers a way to monetize their lifestyle for points. The inclusive program offers their customers a way to earn for traveling, shopping, dining, credit card usage, non-transactional engagement such as surveys, and even things like enrolling in home security plans. These collaborations effectively try to connect with a customer at every aspect of their life.
Southwest Airlines’ strategy is diverse however not unique. Since the cost of acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5-25 times more than retaining one, keeping a consumer connected and loyal to your brand is vital.
With the value of the retained consumer incredibly high, it is important to understand how these programs influence buying behavior. According to Bond’s Loyalty Report, 67% of Gen Z and Millennials have indicated that loyalty programs highly influence their behavior. However, as a generation, they are the least satisfied with the programs in which they are engaged in. This leaves marketers to ask, where can we do better?
The Missed Opportunity of Non-Transactional Offers to Loyalty Consumers
As brands expand their reward and cashback offerings to users for their digital consumption, a major aspect of a user’s lifestyle seems to be missing from brand’s loyalty programs, rewarding users for their mobile gaming habits. Today there are an estimated 2.7 billion gamers on the planet who are spending more than $143 billion on mobile games with over 70% of Gen Z and Millennials playing. With the significant proportion of the aging population playing mobile games, it only makes sense to use their relevance when modernizing a brand’s loyalty program.
German ad tech company adjoe GmbH has made this concept their mission. Founder and CEO Jonas Thiemann has been working in the rewarded engagement part of the mobile ad space for over 5 years and recognized a lacking presence of gaming in brand strategy. Thiemann states, “Gaming has been booming over the past few years and with growth accelerated during the pandemic, adjoe saw an opportunity to help brands to connect with their users in a way that is accessible in the current consumption landscape.”
Through adjoe’s mobile white-label-solution for loyalty programs, namely Playtime, brands can add a gamified earning experience into their mobile apps. How it works is, Playtime offers users points for their time spent playing mobile games. Therefore, for every minute a user plays, they are then receiving points into their brand’s program. The mobile games pay a commission per install to loyalty providers. This model has taken off for leading consumer loyalty providers like Prodege and DeutschlandCard. Prodege even saw their mobile revenue double after adding adjoe’s gaming experience into their loyalty program, as users rushed for the opportunity to earn for their mobile gameplay.
The inclusion of solutions like adjoe’s Playtime solve more than just modernizing a program to fit the consumer’s lifestyle, they also fulfill their need for a more rapid rewarding experience. According to Merkle’s 2020 Loyalty Barometer Report, nearly half of those enrolled in loyalty programs wish the reward experience didn’t take so long and it doesn’t have to. Solutions like Playtime or rewarded surveys have the potential to level up your users’ experience by offering them immediate and sequential non-transactional opportunities to earn points towards a brand.
The continual diversification of loyalty programs to be more inclusive of the digital native will be vital for brands when addressing the dissatisfaction of Millennials and Gen Z towards the programs in place. Games offer loyalty strategies an effective way to connect to where modern consumers are the most present and in a way that can be the most fulfilling. Therefore, for brands looking to build a lasting connection with younger generations, they will need to seek more ways to align their programs with habitual user consumption patterns and that begins with their mobile behavior.