During your time online, you’ve filled out dozens — probably even hundreds — of forms of all shapes and sizes, covering everything from usernames to billing information. Unfortunately, nobody actually enjoys filling out these forms, which can lead to serious conversion problems for web apps: new users will often happily wander around a site to learn about a new widget, but as soon as you ask them for their email address or credit card information, most of the time they’ll shrug their shoulders and head back to FarmVille.
That’s a big problem, and it’s one that Reward Level, a new startup launching today, may have a solution for: it’s incentivizing users to fill out forms by offering them hot deals as a reward. It sounds simple, but that’s exactly why it might actually work.
The startup is the latest from entrepreneur Noah Kagan, whose other projects include Kickflip, Gambit, and most recently, AppSumo — a deals site for premium applications and web software. Reward Level, he says, is a bit like a distributed version of AppSumo.
From then on, when a new user arrives at that form, they’ll see a deal associated with it — these deals will vary, but include things like free gift cards, or discounts on premium accounts at another site. Finish completing the form, and Reward Level will send an email with the discount code or whatever other information is needed to redeem the reward.
That’s it, at least as far as the publishers and users are concerned. Kagan says that initial results have been promising. Over the last several months the service has been in testing with twenty publishers, and it’s displayed nearly 100,000 reward offers so far. He says that publishers have seen conversion rates increase “as high as 20.1%”, though obviously this probably isn’t the norm.
So where are these rewards coming from? Reward Level is offering a self-serve platform that will let companies sign up to offer rewards. These rewards are then syndicated to Reward Level’s publisher sites — an algorithm is used to determine which rewards are best suited for each publisher, and companies can create a blacklist to ensure they won’t appear next to their competitors.
Reward Level is free for publishers, but it charges companies offering rewards for each conversion (which is defined as a user who clicks the redemption link Reward Level sends upon completing a form). Reward Level charges $5 per conversion, but if the company offering the reward is also a publisher with Reward Level’s widget installed, they only have to pay $2.50 per conversion.
I like this idea a lot, but there are a couple issues Reward Level may have to deal with. First, users may simply fill out forms with dummy data in order to get access to the ‘good’ deals (Kagan says that the service hasn’t run into this yet, but that it will deal with it accordingly if and when it does).
Reward Level also has to make sure it can offer attractive rewards for products that users will recognize by name (it doesn’t do much good if users are getting offered 30% off on something they’ve never heard of). Right now it sounds like the site is focusing on building out its distribution footprint, which will hopefully help it attract high-quality rewards. For starters it seems to have some good ones though, including $5 Amazon gift cards.