Incentivized Advertising: A Given For Some, Underused By The Rest

The reasons for brands to engage with affluent consumers are simple enough. Affluents have larger disposable incomes and can purchase more goods and services. If their peers are other affluents, positive referrals from happy consumers can produce a powerful and profitable ripple effect. If they’re prominent and respected in their offline lives, their influence can spread in their online networks to all sorts of consumers.

The complicated part is getting them to engage with your brand in the first place. How do you appeal to the consumer who could potentially have pretty much anything? And how can you be more relevant and differentiate yourself from the “other guy” with affluents, who are likely in every brands’ crosshairs? 

In reaching any consumer online, brands face many basic challenges. Over 30% of online ads are never seen by users, because they appear below the fold. Typical click-through rates, which hover below 1% on industry average, indicate the other 70% is often ignored or not engaged with. Simply put, people ignore advertising and this leads to millions of dollars in wasted ad spend. 



There’s an assumption among some brands and marketers that affluents aren’t moved by rewards. There’s also a presumption that rewards and deals only appeal to younger people or those without much disposable income. Neither is true. Airlines and credit card companies have incentivized the middle to upper class for decades now and have succeeded in large part by making affluents feel like they are getting exclusive access and rewards based on their affluent lifestyle. Credit card companies have been chasing after affluents for years. The American Express Black Card and the airlines’ elite membership statuses are great examples of this in action. Their proposition to their users is simple, buy more or travel more and you will be rewarded in ways that give you privileges. 

Recent studies have shown the average affluent belongs to 10 rewards programs, with credit card companies leading the pack. Travel and financial businesses obviously see the value in engaging affluents and earning their loyalty. It’s time for others verticals including CPG, retail, fashion, entertainment, etc., to look to what they’re doing right and generate similar engagement.

It’s unreasonable for some of these verticals to create their own loyalty programs, however with the ineffectiveness of traditional online advertising, there are ways to take advantage of outside rewards programs in order to increase user engagement through partnerships or participating as an advertiser and sponsor within programs. 

If a user is rewarded for engaging with your brand, their reward is the receipt of engagement. No longer do you as a brand have to pay for unviewed ad-impressions; you can pay when users actively engage. Rewards and loyalty offer your brand a guaranteed engagement, which means more effective spend. For example, is an incentive-driven browser that works with many advertisers to reward users for watching their TV commercials online.

Many advertisers might initially scoff at the idea that you’d pay for a user’s attention, but the reality is that advertising typically offers no value to a user. An advertisement is literally “adverting” a users’ attention from what they actually want to do; watching a video, a TV show, or to experience a website for free. Offering rewards for users to engage with your brand forces the user to at least pay attention at the very minimum. 

Rewards and loyalty programs were created to differentiate commoditized industries. However, offering rewards to gain loyalty from affluents shouldn’t be the domain of just a couple industries, it should to trickle down to lower priced, higher volume good and services. The interest and the willingness to participate in rewards programs is real among affluents, and for brands, it’s extremely valuable. Brands stand so much to gain by speaking to affluent consumers who want to save money over a long period of time, by speaking to them in a way they can respond to in the moment they see that ad that promises them what they want.

1 comment about "Incentivized Advertising: A Given For Some, Underused By The Rest".
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  1. Ronald Stack from Zavee LLC, April 3, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.

    Rewards can be the connection between a business and a customer that can help promote engagement, but a rewarded customer isn't necessarily an engaged one. Rewards work best in connection with activities that improve the customer experience, give the customer more control and convince the customer that loyalty is a two way street.

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