Using our real reward platform boosts retention 48%, reveals SessionM's Bill Clifford

Also increases in-app activity 260%

Using our real reward platform boosts retention 48%, reveals SessionM's Bill Clifford

From saviour of the industry to big fat zero over the past couple of years, gamification is now the trend that dare not speak its name in polite industry gaming circles.

That doesn't mean the concept of infusing digital activity with ludic feedback - especially when it's rewarded in a well defined manner - has lost any of its power, though.

Indeed, within the mobile monetisation space, the growth of real reward companies such as Kiip, Beintoo and SessionM demonstrates that aging multi-billion dollar dog, the advertising industry, is learning new tricks.

Incentivise me

The mechanism behind such success is very simple.

App and game developers integrate their content with the real reward platform, which enables them to reward users for performing actions such as unlocking achievements, watching videos ad, or using social networks to interact with digital content.

In the case of SessionM, when it comes to the big advertising brands, it's got the likes of Ford, Pepsi, American Express, Adidas and McDonald's signed up.

The money they provide is filtered through the value chain, with users able to 'cash-out' the virtual currency they earn - in this case mPOINTS - via gift cards, entering prize draws or donating to charities.

Hidden benefits

So far, so obvious; people will do things if you give them something they value in return.

What's significant about the rise of these platforms, however, is how they're impacting other parts of the app ecosystem.

For example, SessionM claims that apps using its reward system experience a 260 percent increase in terms of user activity compared to standard apps, while retention rate rises 35 percent and bounce rate (the people who only open your app once) drops 25 percent.

In terms of games, the improvement is even better with retention up 48 percent.

Powerful weapon

"We're becoming a high value user acquisition channel," says SessionM's chief revenue officer, Bill Clifford.

His point is that with over 40 million monthly active users in the system - thanks to integration with apps such as Shazam, Weather Channel and MTV News - SessionM has a large and committed audience .

"And people want to see what other apps and games they can download and user to earn mPOINTS," he explains.

Of course, in terms of the overall user acquisition market, SessionM currently only makes up a small part, and it's still more focused on apps than games. Yet Clifford says developers want quality users not quantity.

"We're not a burst solution to gain you chart position. There are other companies who provide that," he points out.

"But we have highly engaged users, who will drive up your lifetime value."

Every download helps

In this way, SessionM has started to run its own CPI (or app install) campaigns.

"Developers are looking for new acquisition channels, because the existing channels are getting cluttered and have duplicated audiences," he argues.

And, such is the quality of users it generates that some developers are happy to spend their own marketing money within the system to gain users who they know will be very active in their apps and games.

But, there's plenty still to work on. SessionM is only integrated within around 400 apps (around 100 games), and its key game studios - Skyworks, Battery Acid, Fluik - are hardly household names.

With a major update to its self service portal this week, Clifford is hopeful the company can increase its rate of growth; something that will receive another boost when the service goes international at some point in 2013.

You can find out more about SessionM via its website.

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.