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HBO sees success with in-app marketing through incentivized holiday campaign

The campaign used mobile video to create hype around holiday DVD sales with the end goal of getting consumers to use accumulated in-app points to buy gift cards. HBO worked with SessionM on the campaign.

“The strategy for this campaign was to build awareness of four different HBO shows available on DVD with the goal to generate sales,” said Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at SessionM, Boston.

“The video helped increase awareness of the DVD offerings and the custom HBO gift card was used to encourage mobile viewers to actually make a purchase,” he said.

“This campaign is a great example of how a brand can bridge the gap from ad impression to actual transaction.”

How it worked
The campaign ran from Nov. 19 – Dec. 24 and was targeted towards consumers aged 18-49 years old.

Ads promoting holiday DVD sales ran within SessionM’s network of apps.

After interacting with app content, a call-to-action at the bottom of the screen prompted users to collect their mPoints, which are SessionM’s reward-based points.

From there, consumers had the option of watching a 15-second clip in exchange for earning more points.

Once the video finished, consumers had the option to buy a $5 HBO store gift card by using their mPoints. The gift card was also promoted within the Session M Reward Store.

In addition to the 30 percent of consumers who watched the video and clicked through to buy the gift card, there was also a strong correlation to the engagement with HBO content within the Reward Store.

Per SessionM, 70 percent of HBO gift card redemptions in the Reward Store came from consumers who watched the ad.

Engaged users
In the past year, rewards-based mobile advertising has gained some traction with brands including American Family Insurance and Skittles using the channel to leverage groups of engaged mobile app users.

Some mobile experts believe that banner ads are losing traction as more consumers become annoyed with ads that either are not relevant or creative enough to catch their eye.

“At SessionM, we provide a unique experience for both mobile users and brands,” Mr. Clifford said.

“Our platform enables brands to amplify achievement moments, giving consumers the opportunity to collect bonus points by engaging with various in-app ads,” he said.

“We’ve seen mobile users get excited about earning bonus points because it lets them unlock rewards faster. Though points earned are redeemable for all kinds of rewards, the HBO gift card was prominently featured and was the most popular during the time period of the campaign.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York