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Mobile Advertising: E-Gift Loyalty Programmes show the way

At first glance, this may be surprising as it seems that highlighting the superiority of Samsung over Apple would be a highly effective communications tactic.

Consumer & Loyalty
10 Min read
Last Updated on
July 22, 2021

In today’s online age, mobile and online advertising has changed the rules of the marketing game. With the rise of a new breed of cloud-based, mobile-first start-ups and platforms; the likely emergence of more specialised digital agencies, marketing vehicles, integrated campaigns, branded content, e-commerce, and SMB-driven advertising; and publishers struggling to monetise their websites, and you recognise just how tough the terrain has become for the print sector.

To navigate these market forces, publishers must transform their content, business, and distribution models, and embrace a more collaborative and interactive media landscape, recognizing the potential value of user-generated content, blogs, social media activism, and even data-driven journalism.

They need to see this not as a threat to, or a dilution, of their time-honored role and status, but as an ally.

Remember, engagement does not necessarily equate to trust, and traditional news outlets retain greater credibility than their younger, digital rivals because of their capacity for objectivity and context and their reputation for expertise and insight.

How successfully they can weave old and new together, and recognize that digitization is not the enemy, will play a significant part in determining not only their relevance but their reinvigoration.

The task is made no easier by the emergence of leapfrogging, where consumers are skipping straight to mobile-first and cloud-first channels to get their news, bypassing PC, client-server and fixed-line access.

Everything is now a tap, swipe, or click away, and increased levels of interaction with media content mean consumers are now also creators.
The social, local, and mobile media triumvirate means the user truly holds news in their hands.

But for traditional publishers seeking to gain an online foothold and native digital players, this presents another challenge. They must already deal with a fragmented content ecosystem.

And their difficulties in meeting demand for ‘small-screen’ consumption risks leading to lower engagement, depressed pricing, and missing out on an audience that is growing and diversifying, but wants mobile-first.

Publishers must, therefore, generate content that is not only compelling, but tailored for the mobile-user experience, rather than simply being migrated from desktop interfaces without any appreciation of the fact that one size does not fit all.

They must understand how their audience discovers content, and ensure their advertising is engaging and impactful rather than intrusive.
And they must rethink their business models to reflect advertisers’ concerns about the effectiveness and integrity of mobile advertising.

They have to do this because the mobile-first consumption trend is not going to disappear. If anything, it will continue to grow, and the winners among the traditional media sector will be those who address it at source by understanding its specific characteristics and demands, rather than simply treating it as an easily-transferable adjunct to their existing content channels.

People are becoming more effective curators of their digital experiences. Yes, they want a lot of information very quickly, but they are prepared to invest their time in experiences and channels that satisfy and strike a chord with them, says gulfnews.com.

How to make your Mobile advertising appealing to the Audience

In-market research on mobile phone advertising shows that engaging stories that highlight the benefits of the advertised brand are more effective than stories involving the competitive product or side-by-side comparative ads.

At first glance, this may be surprising as it seems that highlighting the superiority of Samsung over Apple would be a highly effective communications tactic.

However, in the mobile device world, ads that produce brand affinity are much more effective than ads that attempt to make the competitive brand (and, by extension, those who have chosen it) look bad, potentially alienating future customers.

For example, Samsung’s current lifestyle campaign focuses on the device’s photo features, which includes a preview capability and a “kid mode” option.

This campaign is an attempt to build the brand perception that it’s a cool brand and worth more money, and improve purchase consideration for Samsung’s Galaxy phones.

In contrast, Samsung’s Apple-bashing ads, which label iPhone users as “wall-huggers” because of the iPhone’s short battery life, or portrays them as envious due to Samsung’s long-time lead with the trend in larger screens, do not improve brand perceptions or purchase intentions for the Samsung Galaxy.

In fact, these ads reduced its “cool brand” perception and have made parents less inclined to consider purchasing a Galaxy device for their children.

Microsoft’s Apple-bashing has produced similar results, reducing the “cool brand” perception for Microsoft devices and lowering brand-building results than its non-comparative ad executions.

Brands that have demonstrable superiority, usually over the leading brand on a single product attribute, are often tempted to communicate this through advertising that is directly competitive.

It may work in some cases, but it is often more effective in casting doubt on the competitor than in building your brand beyond the specific focus of the ad.

And, as in the mobile device wars, it tends to be less effective in building overall brand affinity than more positive approaches.
It may seem clever to bash the competition, but consumers don’t like it much, and particularly not in categories in which they want to like the brand they choose.

While Samsung’s “The Next Big Thing” campaign might have gained attention for the brand, advertising that presents positive reasons to choose its Galaxy device is far more effective for achieving brand-building and purchase consideration, according to ama.org e-newsletter on competitive advertising.

Running Loyalty Programmes Using Social Media

To create a loyalty programme, start by deciding on a business goal. Then determine what actions users need to complete to help you reach that goal. Finally, decide how to promote and encourage those actions.

Here’s how to run different loyalty programs using social media.

1: Reward Website Visitors

Facebook retargeting and Twitter retargeting allows you to show ads only to users who have visited specific pages of your website.
Use this technique to drive traffic through a range of pages within your website over a period of time, and reward users as they proceed to the next step or complete the process.

To do this on Facebook, use a combination of different website custom audiences. This same process can be adapted for Twitter.

jon loomer facebook remarketing

Use Facebook remarketing to target users who are already interested in your company.

Jon Loomer recently tested this. Over a few weeks, he provided new content only to users who had previously visited a specific page.
Jon was able to identify his most engaged audience. Plus, his campaign costs—including conversion costs—dropped as the campaign proceeded.

Jon Loomer facebook ad experiment

Jon provided exclusive content to users who progressed through the campaign.

How it works

Running a loyalty programme with this concept is very simple:

  1. Create a link ad to show to your target audience. Users clicking on that ad should be taken to a specific landing page.
  2. Create a website custom audience for visitors to the landing page associated with that first ad.
  3. After a few days, create a new campaign with a new link ad to show ONLY to users from the previous website custom audience. By doing this, Facebook will show your ad only to users who visited the first landing page.
  4. That second link ad sends traffic to a second landing page. Create a new website custom audience of users visiting this second landing page, and so on…

Create progressive ads. Each page creates a new website custom audience used to serve the next ad, thus filtering non-interested users.
Users cannot visit a specific page if they haven’t visited the previous one. At the end of the campaign, you will have a list of highly engaged users who visited all of the pages from the campaign.

It’s essential to provide something of value on each page so users have a good reason to click on your ad.

To avoid users jumping directly into an advanced step without having visited all of the previous pages (since this does not create a repetitive behavior), do not include any internal links on your website pointing at them and do not index any of these pages on search engines.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, as this method could have some complications.

You are dependent on Facebook. If Facebook doesn’t show an ad to a specific user due to an algorithm glitch or because you exhausted your budget, that user will be prevented from visiting the page associated with that ad. And that person will not be included in the custom audience for the next ad.

You are dependent on user settings. Some user actions like deleting cookies or changing devices could also affect the outcome of this process, preventing users from seeing a specific ad.

To avoid these, allow users to catch up on content they may have missed. This will also prevent them from jumping directly onto the last page to claim their reward.

Therefore, make page 1 accessible to everyone. Put the first link on your homepage. Remember, the ad for this page is targeted at a broad audience, so this is not a problem.

Edit page 1 to include a link to page 2 once the second ad is live and running (not before). This way, you give everyone the opportunity to revisit page 1 and keep the process going. Then repeat this process as you include more ads.

2: Reward Ongoing Facebook Engagement

If your goal is to increase your Facebook organic reach, you’ll need to increase user engagement. So for your loyalty programme, you could provide points for each like or comment on your posts. This kind of incentive is probably the easiest way to create a loyalty program.
There are two main advantages to this method. First, likes and comments increase exposure. As your fans engage with your content, that content will also reach some of their friends, and they may join the programme as well.

Plus, users will actively look for your content and engage with it, and that extra engagement will increase your page’s organic reach.
This technique is commonly used in the form of timeline promotions, where there’s usually a single winner. However, the key to generating repetitive behavior is making users feel they can earn something with each action.

How it works

Provide points for each comment or like. Then give users ways to exchange these points for something of value. Allow them to accrue and redeem points for some of your products, reward the most engaged user each week or month or offer users access to different tiers where they can obtain additional benefits.

Decide what you’re tracking and what counts as points. Then monitor the activity. Certainly, you can track activity manually. However, it may be a bit of a challenge, especially if you get a lot of participation.

3: Reward Loyalty on Multiple Platforms

Many times, conversions for your social media activities will occur elsewhere, like on your website, a newsletter or even offline at a brick-and-mortar business.

In these cases generating repetitive behavior on social media may not be enough to achieve your business goals. However, running separate programs on different channels could be difficult to manage.

Don’t make the program too complex by selecting too many actions. If users perceive your program as difficult to follow, they may disengage.

1. Decide on the programme rules.

The next step is deciding how you’ll incentivize users: will you be giving points for each action? Direct rewards? Badges? Rankings? And so on…

Antavo allows running several campaigns within the same program, where users’ actions could be rewarded in different ways:

  • Rewards: These are more “tangible” incentives, like free products, priority shipping or discount coupons.

You can reward for single actions or for the accumulation of several actions.

  • Badges: These are unlockable achievements that can be collected.Badges can be customized and branded according to your needs.
  • Points: Users can collect points that can be redeemed for rewards later.
points to redeem

Points must be accrued to claim a reward.You could incentivize users in two additional ways:
Levels: Program participants can reach different tiers as they accumulate points.
Ranking: Users can see how they rank compared to other programme participants.

You could show user rankings to provide additional incentives; for example, the monthly top five obtain a reward.

2. Create the rules and badges required.

Finally, you need to connect user actions with each incentive and specify their values.

For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic from Facebook (step 1) and you have decided to offer a 20 percent off discount (step 2), now it’s time to configure which actions will be counted toward that reward.

You will need to configure each rule for each action in each channel. For example, the image below shows the rule for when users purchase more than two specific products.

Creating the right rules could define the success of your program.

Connecting your website with Antavo’s loyalty programme is done through a dedicated API, while social media actions are tracked directly through connecting the programme with your Facebook account.

Furthermore, you could also design all badges, stickers and icons to include some branding in the programme.

Make sure you create some branding around your programme, as many users will surely share their achievements on social media.
Programme participants can see their performance via a dashboard, and thus how close or far away they are from achieving the next milestone. Understanding the outcome of each action will make users feel in control, which is another good incentive.

The ability to keep an eye on their progress will maintain users’ interest and thus increase engagement.


Loyalty programs are a step beyond promotions and competitions, where usually only a few people get rewarded. They are an effective way to boost your business results and increase user engagement.

Create a structure that rewards users after they complete specific actions. As users accumulate and redeem rewards, they only get more interested, involved and encouraged to do more, according to socialmediaexaminer.com.

Conversions by personalized e-gifts

Knowing shoppers are gravitating online isn't enough; successful retail marketers are amplifying shoppers' ecommerce experiences to meet and exceed expectations to stay ahead of the competition.
As you search for ways to grow your business as consumers spend more online, you may be neglecting to get the most out of existing tools that can drive online sales, attract new customers and better engage and retain customers.
Although they've been around for years, gift cards and egifts are often overlooked as versatile — and popular— marketing tools that can help provide added value to consumers' ecommerce experiences beyond the payment process.
Both can be spent online or in person and stored in mobile wallets, and can suit a multitude of shopper spending preferences.
Marketers should consider the following benefits of successfully leveraging gift cards and egifts as tools to engage consumers, and learn how both can be effective in solving marketing pain points:

Encourage shoppers to convert at checkout and prevent cart abandonment

One part of the ecommerce experience that cannot typically be sidestepped is the checkout process. What marketers may not realize is that they can help elevate the path-to-purchase process to provide more seamless and meaningful conversions while helping boost the bottom line.

Baymard Institute research found 69 percent of all ecommerce visitors abandon their shopping cart, translating to trillions in lost revenue.

But there's hope — recently researchAnchor found 54 percent of respondents reported that receiving a gift card would motivate them to complete an online purchase — converting what could have been lost revenues into sales.

One reason shoppers may abandon an ecommerce purchase is if a retailer doesn't allow split tenders.

Say a consumer is shopping online and the cart total is $68.50. The shopper has an egift for $50 they want to use, and would need to pay the remaining $18.50 balance via another payment method such as a debit or credit card.

But not all retailers have enabled this functionality and instead require the full balance to be covered via a singular method of payment.

Retailers may be unintentionally contributing to cart abandonment by creating a frustrating checkout process instead of urging consumers to complete the purchase seamlessly in a way that best suits their needs.

Drive customer acquisition and motivate shoppers to try something new

Now that there are increasingly more options at consumers' fingertips, marketers are finding it can be difficult to attract and retain new customers.

Shoppers are being inundated with direct marketing via email, social media and other channels and are trying to shut out the deluge using adblocking technologies that can nullify retail marketers' efforts.

Attracting new customers can be difficult, but gift cards and egifts can help cut through the noise. Nine in 10 of the respondents in our study would use a gift card or egift they received from a brand they had never tried before — opening the door to new reach new customers.

Offer innovative personal experiences

Consumers don't want to feel like just another face in the crowd and have come to expect personalized experiences in many facets of their lives — shopping included.

In fact, research from Accenture Interactive found that offering personalized experiences can translate to higher sales — the study found 56 per cent of consumers surveyed are more likely to shop at a retailer if the retailer simply recognizes them by name.

egifts are increasingly popular tools that can be customized in a variety of ways to keep retailers' brand and messaging front and center while providing consumers with an enjoyable ecommerce experience.

Retailers can use egifts as rewards for consumers who make certain purchases as part of promotions, as an incentive for consumers to visit a retailer's website or as a means to encourage consumers to try something new.

In each of these instances, marketers can customize the messages and provide a personalized experience that heightens brand recognition and affinity.

Conversely, when consumers give each other egifts, retailers can also provide customization options such as photo, video or written messages with minimal added time, cost or effort to enrich the gifting experience.

And, don't overlook the added value physical gift cards can provide to your ecommerce efforts. These can act as miniature billboards in a consumer's wallet when customized with the retailer's brand and can also be incorporated into mobile wallets — furthering the brand's connection with online shoppers.

Forge greater consumer affinity to brands and driving incremental spending


Research on loyalty and engagement found 44 percent of respondents that consider themselves "loyal" to a brand use gift cards and egifts for that brand, compared with 31 percent of consumers who say they are not loyal to a brand.

Additionally, our research found that of the surveyed gift card users, 95 percent are satisfied when receiving a gift card and on average, the consumers surveyed report spending $27 over-and-above the original value of the gift card.

Of the surveyed egift users, 93 percent are satisfied when receiving an egift and spend, on average, $29 over-and-above the original value of the egift.

Ecommerce is a growing part of the retail industry and often marketers don't make the connection to use existing tools in their marketing arsenal to strengthen their program's output.

Moving forward, marketers should use branded gift cards and egifts to help effectively attract new customers and deepen relationships with existing ones using informed marketing tactics.

It's worth taking a look and evaluating whether you're using gift cards and egifts to maximize your retail marketing efforts, says the retailcustomerexperience.com blog.

Industry example

Adam Hutchinson, Marketing Manager at Socedo, a social media management company, faced a dilemma with his webinar programme.

He was receiving positive feedback about the content of his webinars, but he was wondering how he could persuade more customers to attend the webinars and continue engaging with Socedo after the webinar was over.

For the next webinar, Adam tried something new to cut through the inboxes – he offered attendees a cup of coffee while they tuned in for the webinar.

“Sign-ups were through the roof! We more than doubled webinar registrations and increased attendance by 30 percent,” Adam found.

Adam used a digital rewards platform to send gourmet coffee e-gift cards to webinar attendees. The gifts arrived in well-crafted emails from Socedo.

The digital rewards platform even notified Socedo’s marketing platform when attendees claimed their gift so that Adam could continue to build engagement with another piece of content or a phone call.

Gift cards aren’t just another product, they’re a powerful marketing tool in their own right. You just need to know how to use them.

Customers Love Gift Cards

Before we get to all the ways gift cards can increase your customer base, it’s worth mentioning that if you don’t yet offer them for your store you’re almost certainly decreasing your customer base. Consumers want gift cards.

  • They want to receive gift cards:
    The National Retail Federation’s 2015 survey showed that “nearly six in 10 (58.8%) consumers celebrating the holidays say they would like to receive gift cards as a gift, making this the ninth year in a row that gift cards have topped the list of most requested gift items.”
  • They want to buy gift cards:
    For the 2015 holiday season, 74.3 per cent of people the National Retail Federation surveyed said they were planning on buying gift cards. The average person would buy 3.4 cards and spend an average of $153.08 in total.
  • They buy LOTS of gift cards:
    Research done by CEB Global revealed that 2015 gift card sales in the U.S. reached $130 billion, a 6 per cent increase from 2014, and by 2018, gift card sales are predicted to reach $160 billion.

Consumers especially want gift cards around the holiday season. Just take a look at Google Trends below:

google trends on gift cards

So if you don’t have gift cards available for your ecommerce store, you are sacrificing significant demand and a tremendous opportunity.

Gift Cards are an Ideal Gift

Once you have your gift cards, present them on-site as the ideal gift: personal and always appreciated by the recipient.
After all, if you gift your loved one with a specific item, he or she will know you put thought into it, but s/he may not always like the gift.

If the giver chooses a generic gift card (think Amazon), then in all likelihood the recipient will get an item s/he’s happy with, but s/he may wish you had invested more in the gift selection process.

Retailer-specific gift cards cover all the bases. They’re focused and specific, yet simultaneously allow for freedom to choose a gift that fits the recipient.

Often you can enhance the personal feeling by customizing the e-card or announcement that is sent with the gift card.


Emphasize and encourage personalization. Consumers appreciate personalization, as Marketing Charts’ Survey found: “53 percent of shoppers surveyed believe that retailers who personalize their shopping experience provide a valuable service.”

Your gift card is already personal because it comes from your unique store with your unique brand, culture, and products but you can make it even more personal for your customers and their recipients.

Industry example:

This is the gift card page of chic baby supply store, Milk Snob.

Milk Snob

Click the “Send Gift Card” button and you’re taken to a page where you can personalize the gift card announcement email that will be sent to your friend who just had a baby.

Give your customers the opportunity to personalize the gift cards they buy. Mention that as a feature of your gift cards in your sales copy: “Your recipient will get exactly what she wants while appreciating the effort you put in to make it just for her”.

Gift Cards as Shareable Experiences

Once your customer’s recipient gets such a socially shareable gift, she’ll want to share the experience with others. Abigail Posner of Google explains that “this ‘gift’ of sharing contributes to an energy exchange that amplifies our own pleasure – and is something we’re hardwired to do.”

We learn that shared joy leads to more joy – and when we have a particularly happy experience, we have the impulse to involve other people in that happiness and expand its ripples.

What’s the takeaway? The more positive emotions you can inspire in your recipient, the greater the chance that she will want to share it with others. The most sharing with others – the more user generated content (read: free publicity!) for your ecommerce store.


Encourage gift cards to be as personalized as possible to maximize the giving and good feelings between the giver and recipient. You could even give suggestions of relevant photos they could upload.

You could also streamline sharing by including a way to share the experience directly from the gift card email.

Industry example:

gift card email

Gift Cards Expand Your Customer Base

By way of your gift card, your customer just introduced the recipient to you. Now it’s time for you to get to know each other.
When the recipient has to peruse your site to select his gift, he earns a deeper awareness of your product selection rather than if he had just received a gift from your store.

Just getting a gift card with “free money” on it already gives the recipient positive emotions toward your store, now build on that by providing a good customer experience.

If the experience is excellent they’re likely to return again as customers, and sometimes you don’t even need to wait that long because the recipient will spend over the amount of the gift card. Respondents of a survey by First Data reported that gift card recipients spent an average of $23.41 beyond the original value of the gift cards they received.

Even if it’s less than that, it’s still a win. Says CBS, “Even if consumers manage to spend just a few dollars over, those dollars translate to millions in profits, company-wide. And customers who come in just a few dollars under the card’s value are enticed to come back for a repeat visit, where they will surely need to spend more to exhaust the leftover funds on the card.”

Gift Cards are More Than a Product: They’re a Powerful Marketing Tool

The marketing power of gift cards can increase your customer base and profits, both directly and indirectly. Givers introduce your ecommerce store to new customer audiences.

Personalization can create positive experiences that your recipients want to repeat and share with their circles.

Surprisingly low value gift cards can increase customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing among repeat customers, or awaken dormant customers. Invaluable data can inform audience targeting and marketing campaigns, according to bootstrappingecommerce.com.

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Challenges of e-gift cards

E-gift cards are extremely attractive for fraudsters because they are instant cash that can be exchanged quickly on online marketplaces. Fraudsters are smart and often have better technology than the security systems designed to fight them off. This leads to a significant amount of fraud when accepting cards but retailers also have to worry about a rise in false declines. Issues like these can turn even the best customers away and can be incredibly damaging for a business.

According to a report by payments processor ACI Worldwide, across hundreds of millions of transactions, electronic gift cards have the highest fraud attempt rates of all products sold by their merchants. Between Black Friday and Christmas in 2015, 9.5 percent of all online fraud attempts were on downloadable e-gift cards. With so many holiday orders appearing risky because the shipping address does not match the billing address more often than normal, the risk of cancelling a legitimate order, prompting a lost sale and unhappy customer, is greater than at any other time of year, according to cardnotpresent.com.


How to fix it: The answer is not to avoid digital cards or accept fraud as a necessary evil. It is to fix the problem. A company has two choices.

The more expensive option: Handle fraud internally by creating a fraud prevention department within the company.

The better and cheaper investment is to get a third party to do fraud prevention. These professionals have years of experience thwarting fraudsters and they will make your investment in digital cards more profitable and safer for customers and your business, says blog at giftcardpartners.com.

With the explosion of online shopping in recent years, retailers and in turn, their e-commerce developers, have been challenged to come up with solutions that integrate the retailer’s Point of Sale (POS) gift card programme with their online business.
For many POS systems that are installed on premise, there is simply no way for the system to share gift card information because the POS system does not provide any means of integration.

As a result, these retailers are forced to offer separate programmes that can only be used either in-store or online, depending on where it was purchased.

Or a riskier scenario would include trying to manually coordinate gift card information between the two systems as retailers often do with their non-integrated inventory and pricing information, according to modernretail.com.

They’re easy to spend online, but can create a hassle in physical stores. Some consumers must print out evidence of the card to use it, though increasingly, the e-gifts can be stored and spent on smartphones, one feature consumers do care about, InComm says. In fact, 96 percent of recipients said they were “interested” in storing the cards on their phones, says blog.credit.com.

Mobile marketing thus represents a massive opportunity for marketers, as this channel gives brands almost 24/7 access to their customers. It is an extremely effective tool in driving consumer engagement.

Mobile loyalty programmes are a retail marketing device that allows the company to virtually shop alongside its customers. The data garnered through a consumer’s use of a mobile loyalty program can be used to track shopping behaviors and draw conclusions, allowing retailers to accurately measure how effective the mobile program is.

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