Today, Viggle announced they reached the 3 million registered users mark. This is even more impressive considering they crossed 2 million users at the end of March – just over a year after launch. I often see folks refer to Viggle as the first 3rd party loyalty app for rewarding users for checking in to TV shows, but those of us who have been following the industry for a while will remember the now defunct app “Screen Tribe”. The experience was quite limited compared to Viggle and their rewards catalog consisted only of Fandango gift cards (if memory serves). Technically, you could call the stickers and occasional brands integrated into the GetGlue experience as a reward program which predates Viggle, but that’s not the primary purpose of GetGlue’s fantastic social TV platform. Let’s get back to Viggle:
To date, Viggle users have checked in to the app more than 250 million times. Considering how a user checks in to the platform, that number is even more astonishing. Check-ins to Viggle are done via audio-sync on your smartphone – there is no tablet or web version – and the app is geared only for movies and shows on television. Not all channels are supported and the audio is only stored for about a week so users must watch the program within that window. The announcement also mentioned monthly unique users were approximately 29% of registered users and that users generate on average over 68 minutes per session.
So what is it that Viggle is doing right to achieve such amazing success? Viggle has created a unique blend of user centric features and functionality combined with the integration of advertisers and partners to deliver attainable rewards wrapped in an engaging experience.
As a user, Viggle has created 3 different features that are designed to enhance the viewing experience which result in extended average session length times: Viggle Live, My Guy, and mini-games. Viggle Live is a trivia and content based second screen experience while watching a program. Points are rewarded for answering trivia style questions at pre-determined intervals. Advertisers and networks have leveraged this feature to keep viewers engaged in the show/film throughout the broadcast. USA Network took this concept one step further and brilliantly created their own syndicated sync content experience for use in 3rd party apps like Viggle. My Guy is geared for the sports viewer. It offers fans the opportunity to participate in single game digital fantasy league type experiences and allows fans to switch rosters around real time as the game unfolds to maximize their score – which is translated into reward points.
One of the features that hasn’t been used nearly as often is the ability for brands and networks to build other custom interactive experiences using HTML5. For example, Gatorade built mini-games like QB football passing and baseball home run hitting contests. While games like this are rarer than other interactive pages geared toward content consumption or contests, they do offer users a chance to interact in a fun and engaging way.
For advertisers and networks, Viggle offers opportunities to sponsor the previously mentioned user features, run advertisements, and participate in the rewards catalog – which provides a nice selection of easily attainable and higher level items. This affords brands the opportunity to get their message in front of a digitally engaged audience by creating interactive experiences in a cost-efficient manner. The ads can be targeted by demographics, user viewing profiles, and even for specific shows. Brands can tailor their ad experience with calls to action like visiting a special landing page for product info, contests, and email capture. In many cases, this can be a great way to reach a broadcast viewing audience for a particular network or show without actually paying for expensive on-air time.
Recently, Viggle has been experimenting with syncing specific commercials to provide advertisers with even more options on reaching and engaging viewers. The Viggle ad sales team will work with brands to create customized campaigns that are designed to maximize the marketing objective. This flexibility above and beyond simple banner ads is a win for not only the brands themselves, but for consumers as well.
From a second screen engagement standpoint, Viggle has created a platform that is robust, flexible, and fun to use. If there is a specific area where the app needs improvement, it would be in real-time social TV conversation. While generating conversation on social networks hasn’t appeared to be a primary focus for the company, it will need to expand functionality in that area to further build out a more well-rounded second screen platform. Perhaps something fun to stimulate conversation during shows will come out of the upcoming Viggle AppJam contest.
Three million registered users and 250 million check-ins in just under a year and a half is an impressive growth story for Viggle. I’ve been using the app since it launched and it has been fun to see the features evolve over time. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with the Viggle team on branded campaigns and even spoke on a Social TV panel with them at a conference. They are a leader in the second screen space and if your brand hasn’t considered them as part of your media strategy, then you should give them a look. If you’re just looking for a fun way to enhance your TV viewing experience, definitely give this second screen app a download.