Why You’re Losing Your Customers

Say you’re having a conversation with your neighbor. You get on the subject of politics; you lean one way and he leans the other. You’re trying to sell him on your views, but instead he ignores you. Frankly, he finds what you’re saying annoying. What’s your initial reaction? Most people would speak louder.

This is the current state of mobile advertising. If ads are ignored, advertisers start yelling until users notice. Cue flashing banners, interstitials that freeze over app content and video ads that drag on for a full minute. In other words, ads become more annoying.

Inventing a New Permission

Image source: Death to the Stock Photo

Raising one’s voice to a deaf ear is pointless. When users find ads tiresome, they switch from free to paid apps, thereby eliminating all future promos. Users are paying to remove advertising as an industry.

It started with TiVo, evolved to AdBlock and then, to millions of users paying to remove ads from individual apps. It’s a crisis that’s plaguing advertisers – one that’s growing every day. Consumers could erase the industry because we failed to do our job well.

As an industry, we don’t want to lose permission to interact with our audience. We want them to enjoy our mobile advertising so much that they continue engaging in free apps and clicking on ad content.

The solution is simple: respect the consumer.

Respecting the relationship

If technology is the means to an end, the end goal should be to forge an emotional connection.

We must take control of the industry by creating advertisements that people want to see. An ignored ad is a lost ad. Our goal is to engage users so that they’re interested in our content. We must get our permissions back.

Tech titans have accomplished this before by finding new ways to thank users, and in their own way, create new categories of advertising. Facebook thanks users for connecting by giving them content that comes from trusted relationships. Twitter thanks users’ for tweeting by providing real-time access to world events, via brand promotions. Google thanks users who use its search with relevant Adword results that answer their inquiries. Consumers here invite advertising in certain contexts. This additional information is welcomed; it’s not viewed as intrusive.

It’s time to invent a new permission.

The secret to permissions

There are two elements to advertising success: timing and invitation.

1. Timing

Timing is the first step to creating an ad that’s a welcome part of the user experience.

To master perfect timing, marketers must generate serendipity during moments when users are most engaged. On TV, commercials play after plot cliffhangers. On e-commerce sites, ads materialize on product pages to alert shoppers to similar items. On publisher sites, promotions pop up when users have scrolled halfway down page content.

In mobile, users are most engaged when they have achieved a task in-app: when they win a level in a mobile game, cross off a task in a productivity app or log a finished workout in a fitness app. During achievement moments, users are 40 percent more excited. That excitement funnels out of the app and applies to whatever they see next – including brands.

Achievement Moment

When brands appear serendipitously during optimal times, they don’t run the risk of annoying users. Instead, users view the interaction as a “thank you” for loyal in-app behavior. Serendipity enables brands to surprise and delight users.

Serendipity isn’t predicted. Serendipity is human. It’s how we live our lives: how we grow and create experiences. By adding this layer of subjectivity, the moment becomes human-driven. Serendipity is a great method to creating digital products that feel more powerful, especially in an age when the world is driven by instant gratification.

2. Invitation

Show something of value when reaching out to a consumer.

Mobile phones are the most personal devices users own. They envelop our social media profiles, which tell our interests and likes. They include mood trackers, indicating our happiness through the day. They trace our fitness, food, finance, shopping, correspondence and even our photographed memories. One phone can tell the story of someone’s entire life.

The availability of this information makes it a responsibility for brands to add value to consumers daily lives. In the Golden Age of advertising, brands could introduce new products during television commercials. Viewers would see the novelty and inherently understand how their lives would improve. Now, we’re so aware these products exist, that it’s not enough to have them flash before us. We need to know why they matter; what needs they can they satisfy.

When users pick up their phones, they’re often trying to meet a need: entertainment, fitness and so forth. Marketers can tap into this smartphone data. They can discern what that moment is and introduce themselves at the perfect time. The interaction becomes less about impressions and clicks, and instead about real-time needs addressing. Advertising is invited when it improves consumers’ lives.

The magic of congratulations

With an industry in more danger than ever (we see you, Google Contributor), the only way out is to evolve. Connected devices aren’t just a new medium for ads. They open the doors to connecting with users on a more human level. Smart marketers monopolize this by creating new permissions.

Kiip has been inventing a new permission for the past four years through the magic of congratulations. We’ve pioneered a concept we internally call the “n’th moment”. We don’t just focus on aggregating data on the high score a gamer reaches, but locate the moment users accomplish something meaningful. We swoop in when they hit their 100th point, 10th task or fifth recipe. We can acknowledge and reward user accomplishment, at the exact moment that they reach it.

RunKeeper reward

These moments aren’t limited to phones. They expand across all connected devices. Reward drivers in connected cars when they cross their 1,000th mile on a road trip. Commend runners who reach their 10th mile of the day on their fitness tracker. Thank residents who cut their energy bill in half with their Nest Thermostats, and much, much more. We’re excited to reward billions of n’th moments along with the best brands in the world.

When we built these congratulations, we set principles to be responsible and relevant. Don’t hit consumers over the head with a new coupon or product promotion. Ensure you deliver the right reward to the right person at the right moment.

By telling users why they earned this exclusive reward, we offer users solutions to their problems, and in turn, create loyal consumers. And that’s why last week, we enabled brands to take this new permission and leverage it as not only an advertising solution, but a loyalty solution. New permissions can be harnessed many ways. We felt that as a platform, we could help brands take moments and customize them into their own applications.

It’s not enough to remind users that we exist. Marketers needs to prove themselves valuable to each moment. Speak when users want to hear your voice. Turn ads into conversations. Invent your own permissions.


Kiip redefines how brands connect with consumers through moment-based rewards. Rewards increase engagement and purchase intent, and 84 percent of mobile users say they prefer mobile rewards over ads.

Hundreds of brands already use Kiip. To learn more, visit kiip.me/brands.

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