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Kiip contributes to mobile advertising evolution

All the big brands know mobile gaming is hot right now, but it seems like no one is entirely sure how to leverage the appeal of these games into mobile advertising dollars. 

Industry leaders iAd and AdMob offer text and banners ads that allow gamers to click on standard ads within the game but that may not be effective enough for the response clients demand. Advertisers are starting to realize there may be a better way to advertise within mobile games beyond just text and banner ads to engage consumers.

Enter Kiip, the seven-month-old startup specializing in mobile advertising. The Kiip advertising model is designed around the way people play games. Kiip wants to take the same feeling of joy gamers
feel when reaching a certain achievement or leveling up, and use it as the basis for its mobile advertising platform.

For example, upon beating a level within a mobile game, gamers will receive a full screen special ad offering a voucher for discounted or free goods in the real world. To redeem the good, a gamer simply has to enter his or her email address. Already partnering with major brands like Sephora, popchips, Homerun.com, Sony Dash, Vitamin Water, 1-800-Flowers, Dr. Pepper, GNC, Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, Kiip hopes to cash in on a new level of consumer engagement within mobile gaming.

“Achievements are the universal currency for accomplishment and every game in the world has achievements,” said 19-year-old Kiip co-founder Brian Wong in an interview with TechCrunch. “The achievement itself isn’t the cool thing, it’s the moment. We realized that the moment was worth something. The natural evolution is to put something there that actually matches the achievement.”

Advertisers are still trying to breach the bridge between the virtual world and real world through real-life rewards through mobile applications like Foursquare and Gowalla.

The Kiip platform allows brands to access customized and targeted rewards based on a player’s preference and past mobile gaming behavior.  When players reach a certain achievement and are offered rewards, they can enter an email address to claim it. Suddenly the player associates the happy feeling of achievement with a certain brand and is physically rewarded with it to drive customer acquisition when players are in a happy mood.

The Kiip Rewards Network plans to roll out across 15 games this evening, reaching 12 million users. Brands pay per acquisition, at a cost that ranges from 25 cents to $3 per sign up and the algorithm is based on game demographics. For example, if males primarily play the game, there will be no lipstick or mascara rewards from Sephora.

Kiip received $4 million in Series A funding from Hummer Winblad and True Ventures last week.

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