The deal should make it easier for Publicis clients such as P&G, Mars and Georgia Pacific to purchase and integrate mobile ads based on user engagement.
Kiip, a company that unexpectedly rewards mobile users who accomplish a task with special brand deals, has entered into a partnership with VivaKi, the ad tech solutions subsidiary of communications giant Publicis Groupe.
"VivaKi has turned to Kiip to connect Publicis Groupe agencies and their brands with consumers in a more meaningful way," says Kiip on the company's blog today. Publicis Groupe owns 1,307 agencies worldwide and is currently in merger talks with Omnicom.
Kiip already sells its "moments marketing" via thousands of mobile apps to brands including McDonald's, PepsiCo, P&G, Mars and George Pacific. The moments can include rewarding a user who completes a workout, finishes a game task, or crosses an item off their to-do list.
The company rewards users for actions when they are not expecting them and, if possible, links the brand reward to the task, such as giving someone who works out a fitness-related drink sample.
"We like to preserve organic behavior patterns. We never preannounce what the user needs to do or ask them to watch something. Brands are buying a moment," says Kiip chief executive and co-founder Brian Wong in an interview with ClickZ.
The deal with VivaKi is designed to make these moments easier to purchase at scale, according to Wong. VivaKi engages in programmatic ad buying on behalf of Publicis clients and integrating Kiip's technology into its own platform should help automate and streamline the purchasing process for brands, akin to what they do when they purchase a banner ad.
"This will make it easier for clients to buy in the moment. Right now it's not that easy for clients to buy non-traditional advertisements at scale," Wong says, referring to ads that are based on user engagement metrics rather than traditional metrics such as CPMs.
Publicis brands will also have access to Kiip's dashboard, giving them analytics that help them target different customer segments.
Asked whether Publicis' planned merger with Omnicom-whose clients include McDonald's and PepsiCo-would widen the potential number of clients using Kiip, Wong says it is too early to comment on that until a deal is finalized.
For its part, VivaKi sees its role in the partnership as two-fold, according to Michael Wiley, managing director at VivaKi Ventures and chief social media officer at VivaKi.
One goal is to help transition Publicis' agencies away from banner advertising. "The desire to do something beyond banners from both brands and publishers is strong right now. Having a technology partner to help improve that ecosystem will encourage publishers to be more innovative," says Wiley.
But wearing a different hat, as head of VivaKi Ventures, whose role it is to identify opportunities around emerging startups, the company also has an interest in helping foster Kiip's growth. That will entail helping them expand their network of participating publishers, Wiley says, particularly outside the U.S.
VivaKi Ventures acts as an accelerator for the startups it selects, with partner Iris Capital acting as investor. But an investment in Kiip, Wiley says, "could come down the road."
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
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