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Fitocracy leverages text messaging for transparent referral program

August 4, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 1.09.28 PMFitness tracking application and social network Fitocracy is readying a new referral program that leverages text messaging to reward users for inviting a friend onto the platform.

Mobile referral programs often require offer codes to be input, creating friction that negatively impacts results. By partnering with Tapstream, which attributes app install ads back to an actual install, Fitocracy will be able to eliminate the need to input a code, making for a more seamless referral process

“We wanted to grow our user base,” said Vik Panda, chief marketing officer at Fitocracy. “Being a fitness app, the biggest challenge is motivation for anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“We found that community and the social aspect are the biggest drivers in keeping someone active and healthy,” he said.

“That why it was a natural fit for Fitocracy to partner with Tapstream for a referral product, because the consumer is going to bring their friends on board and doing it via text message is an innovative way to go about it.”

Rewarding activities
The program, which will be rolling out in two phases starting in the next few weeks, will encourage current users to invite their friends once they have performed certain activities.

Initially, the incentive will be a free month of the platform’s premium product, Hero.

Eventually, the program will also extend to Fitocracy’s group fitness classes, which are not currently on mobile phones but are being integrated with mobile in the near future.

Once consumers sign up for a group fitness glass, they will receive a prompt to invite their friends and, in response, will receive a discount that refunds back some of the cost of the class. .

Viral marketing
Fitocracy, which has almost 2 million users, has primarily grown organically but is now look to drive further growth via viral marketing.

Text messages have a high open rate and are a popular way for friends to communicate with one another, making it a good way for Fitocracy to encourage its users to invite their friends to join.

“We wanted to build out a more viral way to grow and that was through referrals,” Mr. Panda said. “People are not using text messaging quite as much for marketing so we wanted to be one of the first companies who was doing that.

“One of the biggest things in terms of getting people into group classes is friends bringing friends in,” he said. “So we are trying to replicate that within our online group fitness programs by having current members to invite their friends to come take these courses with them and they would receive discounts or special promos for inviting their friends on board.”

Fitocracy is using Tapstream’s new Word of Mouth product, which is built on the company’s attribution engine.

Tapstream is integrated with ad networks to track clicks ads for their customers and app installations in order to attribute a click to an install.

This year, following what the company’s says has been a period of rapid growth, it started offering the attribution services for free and selling value-add programs to marketers, such as Word of Mouth.

“We are providing an interface for our customers to provide campaigns and tweak their install campaigns, using our attribution engine to get rid of those codes and make it a transparent experience,” said Slaven Radic, co-founder and CEO of Tapstream

“What happens is a user will invite a friend, who receives a text message that will have a simple link,” he said. “When they click that link, we start tracking to see if it converts.

“Once the app installs for the first time on the friend’s device, our SDK fires again, realizes this is an invited fiend and rewards the first user that invited friend.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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