Today’s episode features one of the most exciting new uses of loyalty marketing that I’ve come across.
Mistplay is a leading loyalty app for mobile gamers, where users can discover new games and earn as they play. As their platform has grown, they’ve integrated many of the learnings from top loyalty programs in other industries, and then experimented with them to find ways to serve the needs of their community of gamers worldwide.
With over 2 million people already active and playing games through the platform each month, Mistplay is focused on leveraging the best loyalty insights and levers from around the world in order to build both trust and engagement in a way that very few platforms can offer.
My guest is Nicholas Kerr, VP of Loyalty and Lifecycle at Mistplay who shares some of the early successes they’ve achieved by optimizing their onboarding and lifecycle processes, using a gamified system that gamers know and love.
Listen to learn all about Mistplay and please do enjoy our conversation.
Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.
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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty featuring one of the most exciting new uses of loyalty marketing that I’ve come across. Mistplay is a leading loyalty app for mobile gamers, where users can discover new games and earn as they play. As their platform has grown, they’ve integrated many of the learnings from top loyalty programs in other industries.
And then, experimented with them to find ways to serve the needs of their community of gamers worldwide. With over 2 million people already active and playing games through the platform each month, Mistplay is focused on leveraging that experience. the best loyalty insights and levers from around the world in order to build both trust and engagement in a way that very few platforms can offer.
My guest is Nicholas Kerr, Vice President of Loyalty and Lifecycle at Mistplay. Who shares some of the early successes they’ve achieved by optimizing their onboarding and life cycle processes using a gamified system that gamers know and love. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
So, Nicholas Kerr, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. Thanks
Nicholas: for having me, Paula. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Paula: I know you’ve listened to a lot of our episodes, Nicholas, and you have been doing some extraordinary work throughout your career and are here to share your latest journey and excitement in terms of, to me, a very innovative business model and creating loyalty at the heart of it.
So before we get into Mistplay and the role that you’re currently doing, as you know, we always start this show trying to get a sense from loyalty professionals about what they admire in their own lives. or of course in the industry overall. So just kick us off please by telling us Nicholas, what is your favorite loyalty program?
Nicholas: Thanks Paula. Yes, I have heard this question many times and excited to give you my answer. I thought I’d take a slightly different spin on it and talk about a company that I think does loyalty exceptionally well, that also has a loyalty program in it. And what I think about this company is they’ve really permeated loyalty throughout it, not just within the loyalty program.
And the company I’m talking about is American Airlines and the Advantage program. I know you had someone from Advantage on the show recently and I really enjoyed looking behind the scenes. And, you know, I joined Misplay from Microsoft where I helped run Microsoft Rewards and When I moved to Dallas, where I am based now, Mistplay is based in Montreal.
I, you know, had to switch from flying Alaska Airlines because they’re not much help to people who live in Dallas. But, you know, American Airlines is headquartered here. Yeah. And as a consumer and as a loyalty professional, I’ve really enjoyed over the past 15 months or so, Experiencing as a consumer, the touch points and the emotional engagement that been driving, but then also thinking about like, how did they do this?
You know, what would it have taken to implement this sort of thing? Because as I’ve been working on loyalty programs in the loyalty industry, I know how tough it can be. And Getting all the right minds together and getting alignment and getting all the operational pieces in place. So let me tell you a story that might illustrate how across both the company, as well as within the loyalty program itself, I really brought home to me, you know, the amazing things that they’re doing.
Yeah. So I had to fly. For business a few months ago, and I don’t like to spend too much time away from my family. So I booked a morning flight that would have gotten me there hours before my, my meeting. It was a really important meeting and I didn’t, didn’t want to miss it. And at about 6 PM the night before I got a text message and this wasn’t from the advantage program.
This was from American Airlines telling me that the next morning. There were reports of storms that might disrupt my flight. And it was super interesting to me because they weren’t telling me, your flight’s cancelled, your flight’s delayed. Yeah. They were just giving me a heads up. It was just information.
Yeah. That allowed me to make some quick decisions because I couldn’t miss this meeting the next day. So I immediately got on the line, the American, and because over the past year I’ve flown so much, I’ve really moved up the ranks of the loyalty program to the top tier there. Yeah. And so now, now I have access to a dedicated line.
So I called that line, of course with storms, you know, brewing, I had to wait a little while. So I had my earbuds on, I started packing. I hadn’t even started packing. And so. You know, long story short, I jumped, I spoke to somebody, understood that there weren’t any seats available, but I could get on standby and I hadn’t flown standby for a long time.
So the person helped me understand what I needed to do. She couldn’t ticket me, but if I, once I got to the airline to the airport, she told me what to do. Yeah. You know, blazed to the airport. My wife drove me and dropped me off. You know, advantage program comes in handy again, because there’s a line there for me to, you know, get quick service rather than having to wait in the other line because my status and my ticket.
And then again, because of my status, I was put at the front of the line for standby and got on the plane, got to my destination. Super happy about that. And the other thing that I really like about the program that I’ve learned is they they gave me these little employee recognition coupons and I got really great service on the flight.
And, and they make it super easy for me too. It’s not a coupon that I have to fill out and put some details in and everything. It’s all pre printed with my name, my. Yeah. Advantage number and everything. So I was able to recognize this employee. She loved it. You know, I felt good about, you know, the fact that I, you know, recognized her, but I didn’t take much for me to do that.
So all these different things, all starting with the text message that had nothing to do with the loyalty program and that they didn’t really need to send because they weren’t canceling anything or whatever. So I just think it’s brilliant that the way they’ve done this. And it feels to me like, you know, of course I’ve got the.
The benefit of, you know, the fourth, first loyalty program in the world. So they’ve got all these years of experience, but it really, you know, comes through super strongly.
Paula: Wow. You know, a couple of things, of course, my mind is, that, with that story. And the first is that we do need to have a story. I think in future, when we ask why people admire program, we always get a reason, but a story I think has so much more power.
So thank you for sharing the story. And I was of course going to ask. You know why you liked American Airlines first and foremost as a company. And you did make that distinction, you know, separately to advantage. So I think that in itself is worthwhile, but, you know, I had this exact same situation with the exact opposite results and the, the airline will rename, remain nameless.
But it did strike me at the time as a missed opportunity and a really serious one. And essentially the situation for me was during the pandemic that of course we try not to talk about anymore because we’re all a bit bored about it. But I did travel to a country during the pandemic that announced it was closing its borders.
within 24 hours of me landing in that country. I never heard from that airline who clearly knew that the borders were closing. And only because two of our friends messaged us to say it had appeared in the media here in Dubai, did I then have an opportunity of course, to rebook. And thankfully the COVID tests were still covered and get myself, I think on one of the last two seats out of that country back into into Dubai.
And I genuinely had that same thought, Nicholas, you know, there’s absolutely no point the loyalty program, you know, showering me with, you know, anything if they can’t get those basics, right? Like there’s a fundamental piece missing and, and maybe it was a case where, you know, they just can’t take everybody.
If they did send the message, they’d be inundated. So I also thought it through as a. you know, as a professional to go, would I send that message to say you cannot fly as planned next week, you know, but anyway, delighted to hear that American gave you that experience.
Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah, no, it was, it was great. And I, I totally, what you were saying resonates with me.
There’s no point in creating a loyalty program if you haven’t got your product or your service right, you know, that’s, that’s just a fundamental thing. And, you know, I’ve taken that, you know, throughout my career and, and applied that principle because, you know, the best loyalty program in the world isn’t going to do much for a terrible product.
Paula: totally. And I think Apple is always the example of that. You know, we’re all, you know, so hooked those of us who are, and I think actually on your side, now we’re going to talk a lot more about Android. So may not be appropriate in this conversation, but for me, I’m part of the Apple ecosystem. So so that is something that I do feel loyalty, as you said, for the.
The core product itself, nothing to do with anything they do to, to cultivate it in terms of a currency, as we know, so, so that’s a brilliant example, Nicholas I was half expecting you to say Microsoft rewards as your favorite loyalty program, given that you did spend, I think it was 16 years in Microsoft overall, was
That’s right. Yes. I was at Microsoft for 16 years and the last 11 or so. You know, great pleasure of helping to launch and then run Microsoft rewards you know, as a marketer, you know, I ran the life cycle marketing team as well as the marketing operations team there and had an absolute blast.
And I know you had Adam on the show you know, a little over a year ago. I had a, you know, six or seven managers during that period. And Adam was absolutely one of the
Paula: best. Yeah. Yeah. No, he was brilliant and I must reach back out to him. I know he’s doing different things these days, but you know, I don’t always remember the full conversation or any particular insights from all of the guests just because we do so many, but I think I mentioned to you all fair that I do have.
You know, very clear understanding of some of the things that I learned from Adam. So yes, if anybody hasn’t heard it, we’ll make sure to link to the Microsoft rewards podcast that we did, as Nicholas said, about a year ago to make sure that you can capture all of that. So let’s get into where you are now, Nicholas.
This is a company I had never heard of, and I don’t think you had in fairness either when you joined, but an absolutely brilliant concept, I think. So please introduce us to MistPlay and your role
Nicholas: there. Absolutely. Yes, you’re exactly right. I joined Miss play last June. You know, I had a great run at Microsoft and, you know, I had sort of grown Microsoft rewards from you know, an infant to you know, almost a teenager and had started to think about what my next move might be.
And, you know, the power of LinkedIn another Microsoft product came into play because a recruiter credentials, reached out to me over LinkedIn and told me about an opportunity. And I always think that it’s, you know, never hurts to, to talk to someone if the role sounds somewhat interesting, because you can always talk to them later about other opportunities if that one doesn’t work out.
Yeah, within a few minutes of hearing about Misplay and what they were up to, it really caught my attention and felt a lot like the stage that Misplay was at was very much the early phases when I was in Microsoft Rewards, you know, still very startup, lots of low hanging fruit and opportunities. The more I talked to that recruiter and then to the co founders and other people, the more I thought, what a great opportunity, but what amazing people too.
These are great people that I’d be interested in working with and misplay in December 2021, a private equity firm took a controlling stake in it and they brought in a new executive leadership team including myself as well as chief product officer, chief growth officer general counsel, et cetera.
And. It’s been an absolute blast. Totally met my expectations. Misplay is, as you mentioned the core product is on Android at the moment. Company started in 2016. And we have an active community of mobile gamers. We offer, you know, over 400 different games to mobile gamers. We make recommendations to users that, you know, try to connect them with the right game for them.
Oops. And our clients are hundreds of the top mobile gaming publishers like King Games and Moon Active, you know, the Candy Crush titles, Coin Master, Family Island, lots of the merge games and that sort of thing. And our clients Want to connect our engaged user base with their games and drive retention and drive in game spend if there’s spend opportunities within the games and misplay helps do that because it is a, you know, the number one loyalty program for mobile game is we have a currency.
We reward playtime. We also are able to reward spend within the games and. Then users can take the, the currency that we offer. We call it units to the misplay shop and redeem those units for, you know, the top popular gift card brands that you’d expect to see Amazon and Google play Starbucks, et cetera.
Paula: Yeah. That’s a great explanation, Nicholas. And I do remember from our conversation last time, this idea of a Netflix for mobile games just struck me as again, a simple and really compelling idea because I looked up actually just one of the statistics I found on your website, which I have to say, I was really impressed with whoever’s writing like your blog posts and stuff is really, really insightful.
So. I found myself scribbling lots of things and kind of going, Oh, that’s super interesting. So definitely again, they’ll be pleased to hear that. I hope so, please. Absolutely. And again, we’ll make sure to link to it in the show notes, but just one of the statistics that came through in one of those posts was in fact, there are 700, 000 games available to play in the Google play store.
So for clients like yours. who are trying to be, of course, you know, acquiring new, new gamers, I think is the correct term you know, in that level of competition. And I’m guessing that it’s, you know, perhaps one of the most digitally savvy sectors as well. So every one of those 700, 000 games, of course, is, you know, investing, I guess, in pay per click and all the typical acquisition channels.
So I think misplay coming to the market for clients like yours and, you know, focusing on again, I suppose, the loyalty mindset to make sure to make relevant recommendations. I know that’s a core part of what you do and then incentivize them. As I understand it, then to download those games directly, you might just talk through the user journey, Nicholas, just for absolute clarity.
Nicholas: Yeah, absolutely. Happy to do that. And Yeah. So what the clients like about us compared to the other acquisition channels that they can use, such as Facebook or Google is after Facebook, Google have helped them acquire a user. And Google don’t have any mechanisms to drive ongoing engagement, to drive that, that spend.
So that’s where Ms. Play, you know, really shines. We have ways to, we have checkpoints within our game to help users, you know, we’ve got some other gamified mechanisms to really bring users on through that user journey, reward them, incentivize them, build the habit that I know a lot of loyalty professionals on your show talk about trying to do.
Yeah. So where I come to play is. My colleague, Greg, heads up user acquisition. He does all the wizardry on the user acquisition side, brings in users, and then I onboard them, drive that ongoing engagement, try to build the habit with them, try to incentivize users to want to spend and continue playing the game.
So we’ve got some gamification within the app in terms of what we call daily play, daily streaks. We’ve got contests and those sorts of things. So the mechanics as well and I introduced a onboarding email series. Email wasn’t a thing when I joined misplay, you know, getting back to the point I was making about, oh my gosh, there’s so much low hanging fruit to have fun with at misplay.
So we’ve rolled that out and. We’re creating what we’re calling daily tasks that those are already piloting in a couple of markets and super excited to see how they perform the sorts of things that actually mobile game mobile games have within them. And so we’re sort of layering that on and bringing that into misplay because we think a lot of these users are familiar with these concepts and we know how well they work within the mobile game.
So, you know, our hunches and the data so far shows that this is driving really good user behavior.
Paula: Absolutely. And onboarding, of course, will be familiar to all of the loyalty program managers, you know, listening to the show. So a very common need to understand and optimize. So I think you, you shared that there was some pretty extraordinary results in terms of once that was put in place.
So I’d love to just, you know, hear your learnings from, I think you said nothing initially, if somebody did download. misplay. There was no initial perhaps loyalty until you brought that extra onboarding, I guess, piece into the life cycle, or perhaps it was limited. So tell us, yeah, I think you had some couple of very successful email campaigns that you’re proud
Yeah, that’s right. So as I mentioned You know, part of, I think there’s two reasons why we didn’t have email before. One is because within mobile games, email isn’t super common. If you install a mobile game, you don’t typically get on average an email welcoming you and onboarding you and everything.
So it hadn’t been top of mind for, yeah. You know, Henry and Eugene are amazing co founders. They were really focused on the core app and did just a brilliant job, which is what made this opportunity so attractive to me. Yeah. You know, the second reason is, is the resources. Up until, you know, this GrowthCove Capital invested in Misplay in December 2021, you, there weren’t a ton of resources to apply every single idea.
So. Yeah, it was certainly, you know, on the backlog to get to, I’m sure. And, you know, as, as I came on and all the rest of the other amazing talent that’s joined Misplay came on, we’ve started tackling this low hanging fruit. And so last October, I piloted the the first welcome email and then tackled a few permissions and, and such to, you know, drive news, newsletter subscriptions.
So starting in December, we started rolling out monthly emails email newsletters and yeah, the, the welcome email, you know, really performed super well driving tons of incremental revenue. You know, I got the amazing data team that we’ve got here who helped me crunch the numbers, do the analysis pre and post and Yeah, absolutely.
You know, hundreds of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue as a result of just the welcome email. And now the whole onboarding series is driving even more.
Paula: Wow. Wow. Thank you for sharing those numbers, Nicholas. Yeah, again I’m guessing it’s standard in most loyalty programs, but who knows, there may be somebody out there that has missed that, that particular step.
So so that’s exciting. And again, great that you’ve got the data analysts in house. Those resources are of course invaluable in terms of making sure that, you know, you’re doing the right things. And as we said, I think all fair. The one thing that I remember learning specifically from Adam is the importance of learning to say no, and knowing what not to do.
So of course we need the data to know what to do. So clearly you’re doing that
Nicholas: super well. Definitely. We’re, we’re a very data driven company. We’re. Running, you know, tons and tons of experiments weekly to see what works, what doesn’t works to say, you know, to see what we should stop as well as what we should continue or just make business as usual.
And yeah, it’s it’s great to have the amazing data talent on the, on the team to help with
Paula: that. Amazing. So tell us then, Nicholas, a bit about the profile of your gamers, because I know there is, you know, certainly in my mind, a traditional demographic, you know, the teenage boy in his room playing World of Warcraft.
And then, you know, I have, you know, often identified as not being a gamer, and then very quickly realized that actually I play a word game on my phone when I’m, you know, kind of bored. So, I guess I am actually. You know, a gamer just in a different demographic that I wouldn’t have really immediately spent enough time thinking about.
So I’d love to get a sense of misplaced demographics. And what are you saying?
Nicholas: Yeah, absolutely. In terms of the mobile gaming industry, the the demographic actually skews slightly female. So the stats that I’ve seen are 55 percent of mobile gamers are female. And we see the same at Misplay as well.
We, we definitely skew female and, and a little older, not the, not the teenage boy that you were talking about. Yeah. But yeah, we’ve got, you know, we span all demographics, but like I mentioned, we, we, we skew female. We, we take that into account and the user acquisition videos and creatives that we, we develop to make sure that we’re, you know, bringing on the right sorts of users who are going to you know, be able to, we can help match them with the right game and drive that engagement once they’re into the program.
Paula: And I know you’re Android only, Nicholas. Would you mind just explaining that piece just before I get into the next section? Because I know you’ve had extraordinary success so far, and it is Android only. And I know there’s plans of course, then for, for further development, but just tell us a bit about that at
Nicholas: the moment.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So there are different policies in the Google Play Store than the, you know, the iOS Apple Store, right? So the model that we’ve first created and, you know, been running since 2016 and developing and growing It works easily within the Google Play regulations and policies. And so, you know, as you can imagine, it’s such a huge opportunity on iOS that we’re exploring ways to bring something there, but we want to be compliant and we want to do it.
Do it right. So you know, all I can say is watch the space. Okay.
Paula: Okay. That feels like a follow up episode whenever you crack that particular one. The other piece I was just thinking through again, as I understand the customer journey. So the. The, the, the gamer itself, I have to make sure I use your industry terminology, the gamer itself, first of all, of course, does have to download misplay.
And as you said, then they, they do the discovery essentially misplay again, being almost the Netflix. Then it is a case where, as I understand it, they download the game, of course. So I guess my question is you’re, you, you are adding in a step. You’re adding in friction with rewards, of course, as we know, the loyalty proposition, but do you think there was ever any concern that there, you know, that there would be resistance from gamers, or do you ever hear that they have any concerns about having this new app that, that is essentially the required starting point.
And I’m thinking about. You know, the loyalty managers listening, Nicholas today are probably most familiar with affiliate programs. And I do think that that behavior is, is quite common. I think I understand it as a consumer. I don’t always remember to go there. So sometimes I feel like I’ve missed out on my, on my points or my, you know, whatever the offers might be.
So would love to just understand your thinking on the need to, to make sure people always do start in your application.
Nicholas: Yes, well it, in order for us to reward our users and deliver on the promise that we’re making to them, users need to launch the game that they’ve installed through the missed play app so that then we can track time and we can, you know, let them know when they’ve reached these checkpoints that I was talking about and so forth.
So, as part of the onboarding experience, you know, we have a tutorial my team, in addition to email we also do what. We call live ops it’s an industry term. And so that’s where we communicate to users using push notifications and then in app pop ups and things like that. So we educate users on the importance of that, the email onboarding series.
It serves as a reminder to always launch the game from the misplay app, that sort of thing. Okay. And we, we don’t find too much friction in that. One other thing I would note in terms of, you know, user sentiment is last September I helped launch the first customer survey of misplay where we took a pulse with an NPS score and we asked users, what do you like?
What do you not like? I built out some word clouds to see, you know, what sentiments were popping and What was super encouraging for us and we always look for this as loyalty professionals is that one of the big things that came through was trust. And one of the interesting things about the industry, as I’ve got to know it, as you know, I’m, I’m, you know, I’m new to it as of last June 15 months ago.
And. Our competitors, there are a lot of competitor apps that are really just scams. And so they’re good for us, good for us in the sense that, you know, when we get users they like us, they say, you know, you’re legit, you know, you would trust them. And they talk about how they’ve tried other apps and they didn’t get the gift card.
They got, you know, they didn’t get the payout that they were promised. So, so really great from this play that we’ve. built that trust and you know, that sentiment is coming through super strong. But, you know, we’ve got to maintain it, of course. And so that’s, you know, why we do all these different communications and using omni channel marketing to, to maintain that level of trust that you know, that, that puts us one step ahead already, which is great.
Paula: Amazing. Well, congratulations on that, Nicholas, because I think, you know, trust, you know, fundamentally is something that is hard won and easily lost, as we all know. And again, in preparation for today, I had a look at the misplay website and saw some. You know, wonderful achievements, of course, that the company, you know, has been rated by the likes of Deloitte and other very reputable business monitoring services, I guess, or just the PR around, you know, misplay as a fast growing company.
So I think your credentials for anyone who does go that direction versus of course, just the, I guess the community itself will, will obviously self regulate. So you probably get a lot of people just referring the platform to each other. Would that be fair to say?
Nicholas: Yes, absolutely. You know, that’s something we need to keep working on though.
I think you know, we’ve got a super engaged community. But we definitely want to move from that transactional loyalty to more emotional loyalty and harking back to my Microsoft Rewards days, one thing that was a real joy for me to see was in the early days of the program when you looked on the Microsoft Rewards Reddit page, it was really just people like you quickly.
thing, you know, how to hack the program, how to, you know, take advantage of it. And, you know, there was, you know, there was some complaints and those sorts of things, but no real community. But over time, I watched and as we rolled out, you know, engaging sweepstakes and we rolled out new features and so forth, added new things for people to use their points for, you know, the, the social good element that Adam talked about on your show.
The sentiment changed completely. People were sharing the photos of the sweepstakes prizes that they won. They were giving each other tips. You know, when someone complained about something another user would come in and help them. You know, sort of self serving customer service. And then the other thing I also saw in there was that users who went in there and like were sharing tips to try and hack the program were being shut down by other users saying, don’t do that.
That’ll destroy our program. We love this program. Wow. Yeah, so that was super great. And, you know, I think that’s, you know, misplay is starting to get that way. You know, we’ve got that level of trust, and I think as we continue to roll out these new marketing initiatives and other opportunities, build new features in the app, we’ll start to see that as well.
But we’re definitely on that journey. Amazing.
Paula: And you mentioned briefly in passing, Nicholas, that you did assess your, your NPS score. So that sounds like something that obviously you are, I guess, laser focused on in terms of a core KPI. Would that be
Nicholas: fair to say? That’s right. Yes. And so Since last September we’ve, we’ve hired an amazing market insights guy, Karan, and he has taken that survey from me and, and just does an amazing job every quarter of measuring that.
And we, you know, ask some of the same questions, but that’s also a great opportunity for me to say, Hey, Karan, I, I’d really love to learn about this. Can you drop a question in next quarter’s survey and get that. Those insights for us. And you know, I, I touched on sweepstakes that I, I used to run at Microsoft rewards and we’re, we’re, we’re dabbling in that a little bit at misplay and, and we think there’s a big opportunity for that.
And he just came back with some amazing insights that there’s a real appetite amongst our users for sweepstakes, because I feel like that’s a great opportunity to do not just offer, you know, standard gift cards, but I know. A lot of your guests talk about the value of doing experiences and you know, driving that sort of emotional loyalty, and I think sweepstakes could be a lever to do that here in a similar way that I’ve done it before.
So really excited to get that insight from that survey. Amazing.
Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Nothing beats user feedback. And yeah, on that journey from transactional to emotional, I guess fun has a really important role to play. I’m not sure exactly where it is on the continuum, but definitely much better than, you know, get this, do that.
So so that’s amazing. My next question was just around the scale, like anything you can share, Nicholas, in terms of I know there’s some wonderful statistics on your website but is there anything you can share? Is that confidential information? But just to give our listeners a sense of what what scale Ms.
Nicholas: had so far. Yeah, sure. So we’ve had over 30 million downloads of our app, and we’re in all the major English markets as well as Germany, France, and Korea as well as a big market for us. We went in there early, Henry and Eugene, I mentioned co founders decided that that would be a great place to expand to and did that well before I got here and we’ve got a really good active user base there too.
And. We have over 2 million monthly active users of the app which is amazing. We crossed the 2 million threshold after I joined and we’re just continuing to watch that. And naturally our biggest user base is in the US, but you know, substantial numbers and the usual, you know, Germany, France, UK, Canada as well, as well, as well as Korea, as I mentioned.
Paula: Incredible. Wow. 2 million monthly active users. That’s a huge milestone. I’m sure you guys were celebrating excessively around that. Yeah.
Nicholas: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It means a lot, right? Both in terms of, for our clients it also, you know, scale matters, right? That’s one of the things I learned at Microsoft is, you know, the power of scale.
And once you can scale like this, that’s when You know, things like sweepstakes start making sense and, and, and other opportunities for the company.
Paula: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m laughing to myself. I use the word celebrate excessively and I meant to say celebrate extensively. So apologies. Didn’t want to imply
I think we did. I think we did both of those.
Paula: We’ll talk about that off air. Perfect. My only final point again, coming from reading some of the content on your website and it’s always inspiring to me to, you know, find other kind of content marketeers who are, you know, focused on educating obviously your clients in this situation.
And this is just a general one that I thought might be useful for the audience. And it’s that an average app sees 77 percent of its users churn just three days after install. So to me, that was shocking because I think I’ve had a lot of people talk about the cost complexity and, you know, just the, the ongoing challenge of acquisition, acquiring new app users.
But I hadn’t really appreciated the importance of, you know, making sure that once that, you know, actual download happens. I think you mentioned something around checkpoints, which I think is obviously designed to address this 77 percent three day churn. So if you don’t mind, I suppose my kind of final question is around anything you can share on, you know, what particularly our audience should be thinking about.
And just before you answer, sorry, I just also remembered that American Airlines, your favorite loyalty program in my first interview did have their kind of, kind of key KPI. was around speed to first redemption. And I thought that was genius, because it’s not just about acquiring somebody into the Advantage program for them, because we all know how disengaged so many people either start or become.
So I think there’s something that you have insights around in terms of like, the job’s not done when they’ve downloaded the app. That’s when obviously your job starts. So yeah, anything you can share on that
Nicholas: piece? Yeah, absolutely. And that is something I think that isn’t unique to the mobile gaming industry.
I, you know, worked in telcos before before I joined Microsoft. And we struggled with that too. You know, churn is a big problem for anyone in the loyalty space, right? Yeah. But, you know, we are absolutely laser focused on with other metrics that we look at on a, you know, near daily basis is, you know, we, we have, you know, We look at D0, we look at D3 retention, we look at day 7 retention, day 30, etc.
You know, so we, we track that super closely and we look at what is working. I talked a bit earlier about all the experiments we’re running. Constantly testing different things. We, you know, coming up with hypotheses around what might work, looking at Other industry trends to see what other, you know, our competitors are doing, what other people in similar spaces are doing to try and address that problem.
And it’s all about, you know, building that habit that I talked about with you. So, you know, we have an onboarding series of emails I’ve talked about, but we also have all of the onboarding push notifications, in app pop ups. We have the daily play incentives and building your daily streak and you can earn units every day you come back and on consecutive days.
So we’re trying all these different mechanics. One other thing I’d say is, you know, our clients are amazing too and eager to try things out with us. And right now we’ve just launched a sweepstakes that. Is going to reward users or reward users of entries every day they come back playing a game by our client Playtika.
Called Board Kings, and every day a user plays for at least two minutes and completes their daily play and maintains a daily streak, they will get one entry into the sweepstakes and a chance to win 10, 000. So, if they come back every day in September they’ll earn 30 entries and a chance at the 10, 000 we’re offering, and Playdeck has just been such a great partner.
Eager to try things with us and test out things. We’ve had a couple of other less visible experiments that we’ve run with them, but this is the more visible one. And they’ve been amazing at letting us use some of their their creative to tie it in with misplay and promote the thing. So, you know, we’ll see how that goes, but it’s, it’s been a fun fun putting that one together.
Paula: Yeah, yeah. And I guess that comes to the point which, you know, I think a lot of loyalty professionals aspire to and I’m not sure how many have us, you know, in terms of, you know, top of their, you know planning list in terms of their life cycle, but that whole idea about a daily habit, you know, so many programs are literally, you know, built around, you know, stay in this hotel, fly with this airline yeah.
Or, you know, work with our partners, use the credit card. But I think that there has been, you know, until now, perhaps an under appreciation of the power of daily engagement, if you have a way to do that. Would that be fair to say?
Nicholas: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we work hard at that at Microsoft as well with being, you know, Gosh, the, the Google habit, that one’s a tough one to break.
And so, you know, we, we, we spoke about that all the time and how, you know, how can we get users to try Bing? And, you know, that was the whole genesis of, of the, the Microsoft Rewards Program, you know, that came out of binging and yeah. Then we had the, the Xbox program as well, and then brought them together under Microsoft Rewards.
And, you know, I, I absolutely agree with you. It’s, it’s all about understanding what works, what doesn’t work and how do you get users to build a habit and continue engaging with you. Absolutely.
Paula: Yeah. The one that comes to mind that I am very much on a streak with and I’m proud of is Duolingo. I did talk about it briefly on the show once, but you know, if anybody’s looking for an example of gamification you know, to me that’s extraordinary, you know, like there’s absolutely no way.
I think I’m on day 192 and because it only takes three minutes, like I have apps. Absolutely. No reason not to find time every single day to practice and learn my French. So yeah, I do think there’s something in our personalities. Maybe it’s just as loyalty professionals, particularly like loyalty junkies, you know, and obviously the collector mentality that all of our members do love.
So that sounds like something that’s super powerful
Nicholas: for you. Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that because the Duolingo is, as I said, we look out to other non gaming apps and programs and products for inspiration. And, you know, someone on my team who recently joined brought Duolingo to me as an example of something we might want to experiment with and mimic.
So yeah, I can totally resonate
Paula: with that. A hundred percent. Yeah, no, they’re, they’re absolutely genius. So yeah, all credit to them. So please, God, we’ll get them on the show as well. At some point, our job is never done on the education and inspiration. So, so much exciting. So I think that’s all the questions, Nicholas, I have from my side.
Is there anything else that you think is super important that again, I know you listened to the show for the last couple of years. So thank you for your loyalty on that. But is there anything else that you think the audience should you know, maybe know about or that you can share before we wrap up?
Nicholas: Yeah. One, one thought comes to mind and, and that is, you know, the importance of. Loyalty within a company, having a seat at the table, you know, I am blessed at misplay in that our program is our core product as well. So, you know, I’m able to, as a loyalty professional do all of the things that I want to do, you know, within reason and within the resource constraints that we’ve got, but I’m not having to try and get the attention of.
Stakeholders outside of the loyalty program to, you know, bring them in and, and, and help do the things that I know are gonna be successful within the, the program. Mm-hmm. And, you know at Microsoft, you know, the, the, the good thing was that the program initially, all of the engineers and marketing team that built it we, we built it together.
And, and that worked really well. But as the program grew and other brands were added, Then there were tons more stakeholders the marketing and engineering teams separated into different parts that Microsoft and, you know, only through the share personalities and relationships that have been developed, did that work okay for a while, but, you know, as I was leaving, I could start to see that there could become some tensions coming along.
And I’ve also talked to other friends who are in the loyalty industry too. Made the same point around programs they’ve run and the struggles that they’ve encountered. And it’s super important that I think that you have a seat at the table that the senior leadership understands the value and, and supports it.
I, I remember listening to someone else on your show talking about you know, brands and. And loyalty, the person who referred to, coined the term bland loyalty, right? He, he, he talked about the importance of some of these things that I’m mentioning as well. And that really resonated with me when I heard that.
And I think, you know, As a professional, you’ve really got to work the company to bring everyone together and, you know, coming back to American Airlines, clearly that’s happened, right? And I think I think the guest you had made a similar point around how the team just works so well together there and it’s just a well oiled machine and that is key to success of a loyalty program, I think.
Paula: Yeah, very wise words. Nicholas, you know, as I, as you were explaining that, you know, I was reflecting on, you know, what I hear on this show most frequently, and I guess there’s two. One is, you know, the ability to defend the investment in a loyalty program. I think that’s something we all, you know, I, I guess just as marketers, not even loyalty marketers, that’s just an industry challenge to prove incrementality.
But the other piece that I think is most commonly referenced and most people really do struggle with is this idea of having a seat at the table. So for loyalty to be taken seriously, I think I’ve only met one person with the title, chief loyalty officer. And I know that wasn’t that was in, in Asia.
I’m trying to remember who it was, but anyway, there was only one ever that I’ve seen with that title. And I was very impressed. And I think, yeah, let’s get more of that. And also I did once have a, an all fair conversation with a consulting firm who sell, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars of advisory services about loyalty programs.
And I thought they could be good partners for our show. And they said, absolutely not. We only sell to the C suite. So I thought that was also interesting insight, you know, there’s decisions being made, maybe not necessarily by the people who have responsibility for executing. So lots of learnings for us all, I think, huh?
Nicholas: Absolutely. No, that’s a super interesting insights.
Paula: There you go. Brilliant. Nicholas, we’re coming up on time. So I’m really grateful again for your loyalty listening to the show. It’s been phenomenal to to, to know that you’ve been tuning in and you know, thinking about some of the things that we’re talking about, cause that’s the fundamental purpose of what we’re doing here.
So yeah, from our side. just really want to make sure that we stay connected with Misplay. It’s a fascinating model. And again, you guys are clearly well funded, well motivated, and really making a difference in the industry. So do you have any final parting words now before we wrap up?
Nicholas: Look, it’s been an absolute joy to be on your show and to be here rather than the listener.
You know, you’re doing an amazing job. I am excited that you’ve just celebrated your fourth birthday. Congratulations on that. And I will continue to listen and learn. Thank you so much.
Paula: Amazing. Okay. Nicholas Kerr, Vice President of Loyalty and Life Cycle at Mistplay. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.
This show is sponsored by The Loyalty People, a global strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement. The Loyalty People work with clients in lots of different ways. Whether it’s the strategic design of your loyalty program, or a full service including loyalty project execution. And they can also advise you on choosing the right technology and service partners.
On their website, The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for loyalty practitioners, and they also publish their own loyalty expert insights.
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