Verizon’s Smart Rewards loyalty program—which allows users who opt in to be tracked for advertising purposes a chance to win prizes—has been far from sweeping success. As AdExchanger notes in their recent article, while it is a very compelling idea from Verizon/AOL, poor user experience doesn’t bode well for integration.
As it stands now, users cannot browse potential rewards until signing a 5,600-plus word T&C. Redeeming points is clunky and confusing, and there has even speculation that some of the gift card auctions are rigged and borderline unwinnable by humans.
However, while flawed in its execution, Verizon’s attempt to create win-win relationship between consumers and advertisers could give rise to better, more symbiotic advertising ecosystems. In fact, when AdExchanger reached out to our CTO Manny Puentes for his perspective, he said he was willing to forgive clumsiness in deference to the underlying idea. Rewarding users for sharing data is a “model that will continue to gain momentum,” he believes, and “any first mover with new technology is going to have bumps along the way.”
Complex loyalty programs have historically struggled from a consumer perspective, which could mean Verizon’s execution was doomed from the start. As noted by Zach Goldstein, CEO of loyalty reward startup Thanx, “In a successful program, the rewards are achievable, attainable and at least perceived to be of high value. But if a user can’t figure out what’s going on, it’s demotivating, which means fewer people sign up originally and fewer people continue to engage over time.”
We cannot, as an industry, be afraid to take risks. While Verizon’s Smart Rewards program may not have resonated with their consumer base due to its complexity, much is to be learned from their bold execution. As we continually search for ways to create a symbiotic ad tech ecosystem, these disruptive ideas are the ones that are going to bring us closer to harmony.
Read the full article on AdExchanger.