Watching TV, listening to music and playing video games are fun activities, but so is getting freebies. New mobile reward systems help you do all of the above — with your smartphone.
Mobile app Viggle has just added music to its rewards platform, which over the last two years has had nearly 400 million check-ins by users of the app as they watch TV programs. By opening the app during a TV show, your phone or tablet (Android or iOS) verifies your viewing session and awards you loyalty points. .
"The same app that lets you recognize TV can let you recognize music now and we will give you points as you discover music," says Viggle president and chief operating officer Greg Consiglio.
Viggle partnered with tech company Gracenote to bring its 180 million-strong music track library to the music identification feature. "It gamifies the experience of finding music in programs and you get an instant reward," says Ty Roberts, Gracenote co-founder and chief strategy officer.
Points can be rewarded for prizes such as digital downloads of music in Viggle's music store, as well as coupons, free movies on DirecTV, gift cards at Old Navy and Best Buy, products including an iPad, exclusive passes to tapings of TV shows such as The Voice and tickets to sports events like the Rose Bowl.
These type of connections are more engaging than traditional ads, Consiglio says, at a time when "it's hard for marketers to get their message in front of consumers at the right time."
Meanwhile, newcomer Lootsie seeks to do the same for mobile games. The service just emerged from testing phase and gives players of games such as Lucky Lanesand Jet Set Scratchers rewards from retailers such as Starbucks and Wal-Mart.
The rewards are like "credit card 'thank you' points," says Lootsie CEO Marc Mitchell. "We offer a fresh way for advertisers to engage and create loyalty without being annoying."
Lootsie has opened up its developer kit for advertisers and developers to join in.
Mobile games is a market with proven momentum for competitor Kiip, which launched real-world rewards in games three years ago. Since then it has expanded to other apps including those for fitness, food, music and sports.
The company expects to be profitable this year after in 2013 delivering two billion rewards, such as coupons for free Propel Water and PopChips and credits to companies such as Uber, to 70 million mobile users.
"The targeting makes it very appealing to marketers," Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities.
"Kiip has a proven model and good advertiser relationships" and, he says, has shown the potential for mobile at a time when advertising and commerce is booming on portable devices.
Rewards "are sustainable," Pachter says, "and they work. "