StorefrontBacktalk

Mobile-Use Incentives Look Good Until You Use A Calculator

Written by Evan Schuman
September 13th, 2013
In another compelling pitch for consumers who are not really good at math, a Korean vendor (AppDisco) is offering Android mobile users money every time they unlock their phone (and look at an ad). How much money? Although they don't mention the figure on their site or in their news release, it turns out to be one-half of one penny—and no money is paid until the user accumulates $10. That comes to 2,000 screen-activations before the consumer gets anything.

Like other programs of this incentive-non-purchase-behavior, the company is also incentivizing other behaviors (such as asking for more information) but it's not saying what the dollars (excuse me, pennies) are for those behaviors. This is reminiscent of a program that e-tailer Gilt announced in July, where it offered an incentive for visiting the site on consecutive days. Turns out to get the promised gift card reward, a shopper needed to visit the site every day for 3-and-a-half years.

But there may be a glim of possibility here from a corporate mobile perspective. What if this app was pre-installed on every corporate-issued phone from a large company, such as 305,000-employee General Electric or 174,000 employee Boeing. If every mobile-equipped GE or Boeing worker generated a half-penny for screen activation (a power user might have to unlock the screen two dozen times a day, depending on the phone's settings and the worker's habits), that could start to add up, especially if the company agreed to the pre-install in exchange for getting to keep all the cash.

What's your view? Should companies trying to incentivize non-purchase behavior pay more? Is it a good idea for companies to make this approach mandatory for employees and then make it an (albeitly small) profit center?