A new in-game ad startup has got $4 million to fund its concept of giving players branded coupons and product samples when they complete specific in-game tasks.
announced last week it had received $4 million in funding
from a variety of venture capital firms, but the company rolled out its achievement-based ad on 15 mobile titles today.
When players earn an achievement in a Kiip-powered game, a pop-up asks for an e-mail address which will receive a coupon or free sample offer, with no account sign-up required. Developers have a limited number of rewards they can provide in each game, and a "variable reward schedule" prevents players from expecting a reward every time.
Summarizing the system as "real-world rewards for virtual achievements," to Wired
, Kiip founder and former Digg employee Brian Wong says tying rewards to in-game accomplishments removes the game-breaking annoyance of banner ads and puts the message at a natural pause point in the game, when players feel they've earned something.
Wong claims up to 50 percent of users that earn an achievement in testing opted to receive the associated coupon, well above single digit engagement percentages for other in-game ad schemes.
Wong told Wired he didn't want to reveal which games were using the Kiip system for fear players would flock to those games just for the rewards. The company's web site claims over 15 million active players of Kiip titles and is currently seeking applicants
for its iOS and Android SDK.
Initial advertisers on Kiip include Carl's Jr., Dr. Pepper, GNC, Homerun.com, popchips, Sephora and vitaminwater.