Kik has launched a new video ad experience—and it appears to really get people watching by offering rewards for their time. The millennial-minded messaging app is letting users choose which ads to watch in exchange for points, and one of the first major brands to try a campaign is K-Swiss, a footwear marketer looking for a resurgence.
K-Swiss is running one-minute videos that pitch "The Board," a campaign fronted by the popular DJ Diplo. The Board is an effort to reach out to aspiring entrepreneurs and collaborate on projects, while participants become de facto advisers and a part of the
sneaker's "comeback story." App users can opt to view those videos to win Kik Points, which they can redeem for stickers and other premium messaging features.
Kik users who have seen the sneaker's clips so far reported 25 times higher brand awareness for the sneaker company. And 55 percent of viewers signaled intent to purchase the brand's gear, according to the companies.
K-Swiss is leaning on social media— including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter—to redefine the brand that was founded in the 1960s, had a stylish 1990s but fell out of favor in recent years.
"We want to bring prominence back to the company that hasn't been in the spotlight," said Ashley Deverell, K-Swiss marketing manager. "We are bringing it back to create more awareness on a global level."
Kik, which claims more than 200 million users, has been building its ad business with Promoted Chats that let brands grow and text their consumer contacts. The Ontario-based startup has also built some targeting technology and embraced video as an ad format.
Video ads are becoming a top priority for most mobile companies, and Kik is up against hot rivals like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. And Kik has caught the attention of more and more brands while building up its ad offerings.
The video ads are served in an automated fashion, and they are powered by a company called Samba. "We aggregate programmatic demand so Kik doesn't have to," said Samba CEO Ben Atherton.
Samba's server shows Kik users a number of video options from top brands, enticing them to sit through commercials in exchange for the points. The user decides which one he or she wants to see.
"When you get the user to choose the ad, you are driving strong engagement," Atherton added.