How a Trivia Game Helped Brands Reach Mobile Users

Upstream uses texted responses for targeted marketing

How do you reach a consumer on the go? Mobile marketing technology and solutions provider Upstream got 33 million mobile users in Brazil—about one out of eight people in the country— to play along with its strategy by enticing them with a text messaging-based trivia game.

The quiz campaign, called Megabolada, resulted in more than 212 million text messages sent, and $44 million in revenue, per the company.

"Megabolada was a perfect example of how mobile marketing campaigns should be designed and launched in emerging markets," said Marco Veremis, Upstream co-founder and CEO. "Upstream's experience and market data show that consumers in these markets are 'triggered' only via campaigns with localized content, carefully selected prizes and gaming mechanisms."

The London-based enterprise wanted to target the mobile subscriber base of four of the major networks in Brazil (TIM, Claro, Oi and Vivo), so it came up with a trivia game that asked random questions about news, sports, history and entertainment. Users texted a shortcode to opt into the program.

While the average person probably thought this was a just a fun activity, Upstream was actually mining their answers for marketing opportunities. It used its mobile marketing technology platform (MINT) to sift through the responses and created  specific promotional offers with local copywriters and marketers that fell in line with user preferences. The mobile networks also were able to use deal proposition interest to divide their customers into specific segments, which then helped them strategize how to monetize their bases.

"Selecting the right free prizes for each market is key to unlocking the right incentives and triggers that drive subscription and engagement rates," Veremis said.

Veremis added that the important takeaway is that users need to be engaged with their specific likes, dislikes and cultural proclivities in mind. However, mobile providers must also be able to accept payments since users are more than likely going to want to make purchases with their fingertips.

"On a practical level, to effectively reach consumers, brands must overcome payment barriers. For instance, in this campaign we used text messages in order to use a channel compatible with all handsets and tariff plans, which in effect encouraged mass user participation and allowed operators to upsell their services," he explained.