The rise of the internet and social media has overshadowed the once all encompassing power of billboards, print ads and television. With the waning of traditional media outlets, gone also are the days brands could just reach out and attracts customers with a single, linear message.
To tackle these new challenges, advertisers are changing their campaigning techniques by creating customized campaigns and content to engage a new generation of customers. However, to create customize content for a wide variety of online and mobile platforms ranging from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest just to name a few, can be both labor-intensive and time-consuming. Co-founders of fashion blog network Coutorture (sold to Sugar Inc. in 2007), Julie Fredrickson and Philip Leif Bjerknes believe that this process is neither efficient nor sustainable.
Fredrickson, the former head of digital marketing at Ann Taylor and Bjerknes, the digital director of NYC boutique agency Alldayeveryday, has incubated a startup named PlayAPI to address the growing demands of social engagement services. It is designed as a centralized self-service platform which enables brands to engage with audiences through social media. The co-founders envision the platform would attend to the various demands of brands such as to manage feeds of content, product and social data; built gamification-themed apps and analyze data collected through those apps.
At present, PlayAPI is focusing on building the core features of the engagement platform, the games library, and analytics platform. The library would consist of template games such as quizzes and classic games like Bingo and Memory for which marketers could deploy across platforms. Fredrickson foresees the template library will evolve beyond games into a “reusable library of engagement mechanics”. Meanwhile, the analytics platform aims to provide brands a better understanding of customer preferences for their products. In turn, the analysis of continuous customer engagement would allow brands to build more effective campaigns desired by their patrons.
The desire for further user engagement is ever present across brands and enterprises. The demand highlights the growing need for simple customizable engagement platforms which could be employed across a variety of media platforms. While PlayAPI is on the right path, it is imperative that the startup and other potentials realize that true user engagement lie beyond badges and achievements as well as fun and engaging games. Understanding the users’ motivations and engaging their primary social engagement loop would be key to ensure long term sustainability and growth.