Kiip bills itself as “mobile advertising people like,” but now it’s trying to apply that model outside of advertising itself.
The startup is also announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Verizon Ventures and Michael Lazerow, co-founder of Buddy Media. (As part of Salesforce, which acquired Buddy, Lazerow had an announcement of his own today.)
Kiip’s model is a combination of loyalty and advertising. (Kiip isn’t the only one pursuing the model, but co-founder and CEO Brian Wong has certainly done a lot of evangelizing for it.) Basically, when users hit big moments in games and other mobile apps, they’re presented with a reward from a brand, which is treated as an ad from a monetization perspective — but, as the tagline says, it should be an ad that the consumer actually likes.
Now, Kiip is offering the same loyalty platform to brands who want to use it in their own apps, instead of (or in addition to) buying ads in someone else’s game. That means they can use Kiip to improve engagement with their own users, and they get complete control over the rewards, rather than trying to compete with other advertisers.
Correspondingly, Kiip is selling the platform under a software-as-a-service model, rather than an ad-based one.
“So to be very clear, nothing is happening with the existing business, which continues to thrive,” Wong said. “This is a new customer for the same product.”
But if you take advertising out of the equation, isn’t this just another loyalty program? Wong argued that Kiip’s mobile focus sets it apart: “If you look at all the existing CRM and loyalty tools by the big SaaS companies, they’re all social media centric — very rarely are they mobile first.” He also pointed to the technology that Kiip has built for targeting the right user with the right reward at the right moment.
“We took the moment concept for advertising, and now we’re using the same moments for the purposes of retaining loyalty with the existing customer,” Wong said. “It’s a testament to the flexibility of moments as a concept in consumer engagement overall.”