Ibotta Debuts App-To-App Marketplace For Mobile Commerce Partners

ibottaimgThe shopping app Ibotta, which gives users cash back for purchases, has streamlined app-to-app buying.

Tech from deep-linking vendor Button now allows Ibotta users to make purchases from apps in Button’s network, which includes Hotels.com, Groupon, Jet and Spring.

Ibotta hopes to connect commerce apps into an easy-to-use marketplace.

While it’s easy to link and track desktop users to a page designed to convert a sale, “the existing affiliate networks [in the mobile app world] are fundamentally inept,” said Ibotta founder and CEO Bryan Leach.

Ibotta could theoretically partner and integrate with individual retailers one by one to direct users to their apps, “but that traffic would be going into a data blackhole,” Leach said. Ibotta would be able to charge for the traffic sent to its partner, but not for performance.

This method also frustrates users because it takes more time to confirm purchases and redeem rewards.

Because apps are siloed, it’s hard for individual shopping apps to catch on. (This is, of course, great news for Amazon.)

“You have to be cross-contextually relevant,” said Leach. “It’s why no one uses single-retailer apps.”

For instance, while Hotels.com’s app has 50 million downloads, according to Paul Cunha, senior director of business development, people tend to delete hospitality apps. They also only see steady traffic from regular travelers.

With Ibotta, Hotels.com can reach people shopping for travel deals outside its own property, and also pay to put a deep link in front of a relevant user, like someone who used to have the app downloaded.

On the web, a Google user or a fashion blog reader can seamlessly transition into a Macy’s shopper if he or she clicks on the right link. The app ecosystem lacks these kinds of jumping-off points.

During a beta period in August, Button’s app partners have seen a total of $1 million per week in spending via Ibotta. It’s incremental revenue, but a welcome sign for mobile-based players hungry for ways to find shoppers.


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