San Francisco-based startup Kiip knew about the great potential in Internet and mobile ads in Japan – that is exactly why they jumped across the pond, arriving in the country in January with loyalty program Ponta as its launch partner. Kiip incentivizes in-app ads by giving rewards for users who share, tweet, or click on any incentivized content. Now the startup is bringing its wares into what is possibly its most significant deal to date, a partnership with the big dog of Internet and media companies in the country, Yahoo Japan.
Yahoo Japan, a joint operation by Japanese mobile giants Softbank and Yahoo Inc., is already embedded into the Japanese psyche as Japan’s most visited website (Yahoo.co.jp). Although this does not necessarily translate to success in mobile apps, Kiip founder Brian Wong says that Yahoo has “tens of millions” of users across its Web and mobile offerings. Kiip will be used by Yahoo Japan to boost engagement with users of from its main app for iOS and Android. Kiip will serve users with ads and rewards for completing activities within the app, such as sharing a weather forecast, reading news and more. The rewards will be in the form of Yahoo Japan’s virtual currency, T-points. The initial campaign, called “Use Yahoo! Japan Apps Get T-Points”, is scheduled to run from July 24 to August 23.
Wong said Kiip is also looking into similar deals with “about a dozen” publications. For those prospective partners, Kiip serves as less of an ad network and more of a technology provider to optimize and promote existing rewards programs on their mobile apps. “Yahoo is playing publisher and advertiser in this case, leveraging the technology we’ve created over three years,” he said. “It’s not easy to deliver these promotions at the right moment and the right place,” Wong added.
As the partnership matures, Yahoo Japan plans to embed Kiip across a wider range of its services, including games services and apps, news portals, to name a few. The idea will remain the same, the more that users interact with Yahoo Japan services, the more opportunities they get to earn virtual coins. The partnership looks very positive right now that Wong doesn’t discount the possibility of Kiip being used for Yahoo Japan’s strong desktop web presence. “Online-offline conversions are a big deal in Japan,” Wong says. “Yahoo Japan has traditionally been strongest on the desktop, but we’re helping them leverage their own system to provide a more compelling and serendipitous experience for users to keep them coming back.”