What Makes a Performance Campaign Successful – & How to Replicate It

Every performance campaign with Kiip has the chance to succeed. However, more goes into it than just registering. We analyzed the data from our top-performing campaigns – Lucktastic, Scribd, Publishers Clearing House, Quidsi, Julep, Hulu and Rogers – and discovered a few factors they had in common.

performance campaign

Performance Campaign Profile

The first factor of basic success was the duration of the performance campaign. The longer campaigns ran, the better they typically performed. Performance campaigns that ran for less than a month brought in low revenues, but performance campaigns that ran between one and eight months brought in the most revenue and the highest engagement rates.

We also measured how mobile savviness played into performance campaign success. The best campaigns were mobile-optimized brands that set up mobile landing pages and had between 54,000 to 30 million monthly unique visitors. Even if a brand wasn’t a household name, a well-designed layout helped performance marketers reap the benefits of successful performance campaigns.


High-performing campaigns contained rewards that had broad appeal to smartphone users, versus rewards that fell into niche categories. In order to determine broad appeal, we looked at rewards’ usefulness. Two notable cases were Rogers Wireless and Quidsi.

Rogers Wireless, Canada’s largest wireless carrier, offered users $5 off their next bill. This directly saved its customers money, while building brand favorability and spreading information about discounts via word-of-mouth to tempt new users.

Even if a reward isn’t relevant to every user, it can satisfy a basic enough need for one demographic to reach overall performance campaign success. In this case, Quidsi gave users $12 off diapers. Aside from being a no-strings-attached offer with a high discount, it’s a product that every new parent needs for roughly two years. As parents spend on average $2,577.35 per child on disposable diapers, anything that can cut on costs has massive appeal.

Performance marketers should strongly consider user desires when choosing what rewards to offer. Entertainment (music and movie downloads), information (digital books and news subscriptions) and food (product samples) are just a few examples of ways small and large brands alike can reach their demographics within successful performance campaigns.


Kiip’s Real Rewards come in two forms: discounts and freebies, with freebies often performing at a higher rate. The science behind what makes “free” so successful is explained in Predictably Irrational, a study on behavioral economics by author Dan Ariely. In one experiment, Ariely tests reactions to the price of chocolate by selling Lindt truffles for 15 cents each and Hershey’s Kisses for one cent each. 73 percent of people chose truffles, the higher quality chocolate, while 27 percent chose Kisses. However, when he lowered the prices of each chocolate by one cent, selling truffles for 14 cents and giving away the Kisses for free, 69 percent of people chose the Kisses – up 27 percent from before. The lesson: when a product is free, people alter their preferences and take the deal.

“The engagement rates for free rewards

were much higher, with Hulu hitting
an incredible 12.9%.

The same logic applies to Kiip performance campaigns. The best rewards focused on a “free!” deal, rather than presenting a discount, appealing to the instinctive human joy of getting something for nothing. Out of the seven top-performing performance marketers that used Kiip’s Real Rewards to celebrate user achievements, five chose to use rewards that included the word “free.”

  • Lucktastic gave away free $100 and $500 scratch cards. This lead to a seven percent engagement rate.
  • Scribd gave away a free month subscription to its digital library. This lead to a 4.8 percent engagement rate.
  • Publishers Clearing House gave free entries to sweepstakes. This lead to an 8.5 percent engagement rate.
  • Julep gave away a free beauty box. This lead to a 7.7 percent engagement rate.
  • Hulu gave away one free week of Hulu Plus. This lead to a 12.9 percent engagement rate.

For context, Kiip rewards average 4-5% engagement rates (compared to the industry average of 0.5-2%). Here, the engagement rates for free rewards were often much higher, with Hulu hitting an incredible 12.9%.

In contrast, marketers with lower engagement rates offered users a percentage or dollar value off of already expensive products, requiring users to first spend money in order to redeem any value. If marketers want to offer discounts instead of free items, it’s important to discount already low-priced products, so users can discover the value in becoming customers without breaking the bank.

Final thoughts

Kiip helps performance marketers acquire mobile users through a moment-based rewards platform that targets “achievement moments” in the apps people use every day. Rewards are an effective form of advertising, but the success of a reward depends on more than just when and where it’s sprung on users. Marketers must optimize performance campaigns by paying attention to mobile set-up, broad appeal and reward type. Follow these, and you’ll establish trust, build a loyal user base and increase engagement for the long haul.

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