Mobile Platform Vibes Launches WalletAds, Links Banner Ads To In-Store Sales

BrianBradtkeMobile marketing platform Vibes thinks all of the fanfare around Apple Pay might bring mobile wallets into the mainstream. Thus, it rolled out a related mobile ad product called WalletAds on Friday in anticipation of that shift.

WalletAds lets consumers download branded content, offers or coupons to Apple Passbook or Google Wallet directly from a banner ad. WalletAds is an extension to Vibes’ Catapult platform, a suite designed to personalize mobile push notifications or mobile web offers.

Retail marketers haven’t historically invested heavily in mobile formats, even though mobile accounts for more than half of some retailers’ site traffic. Many retailers still struggle to connect mobile conversions to sales or to move budget from the tried and true offline store.

One reason, according to Brian Bradtke, Vibes’ newly appointed VP of mobile advertising (and an Experian Marketing Services vet), is that mobile attribution lags, which has stymied mobile from becoming a viable sales channel, at least for now.

“[Advertisers are] generally pushing people down two different paths: Click the ad and you’re either redirected to the mobile site or to download the app in the app store,” he said.

Unfortunately, many site redirects still aren’t mobile-optimized, and a branded app – even if it’s downloaded – has a good chance of rarely being used past the initial download.

Thus, Bradtke claims Vibes’ value proposition will help unlock mobile dollars by helping consumers easily redeem coupons in-store, adding that Vibes also supplies unique advertiser opportunities to use data associated with WalletAds.

“Once the offer is saved in the wallet, it can be updated indefinitely and be made more ‘geoaware,’ so if the consumer gets within a certain radius of a store [and triggers a beacon] it can put up a reminder on the phone or push an update [to the lock screen] like, ‘Don’t forget you have this offer, come in and redeem it,’” he said.

Vibes also hopes to save retailers from the fate of plastic loyalty cards, whose printing expense can costs upward of $1 million per year, said Mark Tack, Vibes’ VP of marketing.

“A traditional loyalty program is a completely static experience,” he said. “One way to accomplish ground here is to [link] your digital offers in Passbook or Google Wallet with in-store redemption, so you’re able to tie back that mobile engagement” with point-of-sale activity.

Vibes has about a dozen retailer clients, including Pep Boys, The Gap and Home Depot, some of whom have used or are currently testing WalletAds. The company also said it has an agreement with a major agency holding company.

Bradtke said the WalletAds functionality is compatible with mobile ad formats sold by major mobile ad networks (he named Millennial Media, as an example) or rich media platforms and charges on a “very modest CPM” basis.

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