Placecast, SocialVibe Partner to Combine Geolocation and Virtual Currency

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SocialVibeA new partnership between digital ad company SocialVibe and location-based mobile marketer Placecast will deliver virtual currency, accumulated via online browsing and gaming, to consumers looking for geotargeted retail discounts.

The partnership combines SocialVibe’s digital marketing platform with Placecast’s geofencing technology to facilitate offline consumer behavior. Shoppers must visit, or at least travel near, brick-and-mortar storefronts to trigger location-based discounts.

To start, a user must first opt in to alerts from a brand (associated with SocialVibe) in exchange for virtual currency related to the social game or online activity he or she is participating in. When a consumer comes near a physical storefront connected with that brand program, a geofence is triggered, prompting an SMS alert to that consumer, which could include an offer or reminder of earned currency.

The SocialVibe-Placecast partnership offers a way to take online interactions (consumers’ gaming and surfing habits) and translate them into a physical presence (in-store discounts and other offers). There’s no word yet on which games will be rolled out as part of the partnership, according to Chris LoRusso, SocialVibe’s director of business development, but a Best Buy campaign, which will run through this month, is already testing the technology.

Gaming is not an entirely new frontier for marketers. Rovio Entertainment, the company behind Angry Birds, partnered with Barnes & Noble and Starbucks to bring more visibility to the game’s merchandise. But here, the appeal is discounted prices at nearby storefronts — and simplicity. The partnership relies on SMS messaging, meaning smartphones aren’t required, and there aren’t any apps to download. Consumers must opt in to the service.

“Our ad unit allows brands to connect to the user on their terms through the 100% consumer initiated opt-in, giving the brand [a] 100% share of voice,” LoRusso told Street Fight in an email. “Adding this capability of taking the online relationship into the physical world closes the circle on the brand-user experience.”

Patrick Duprey is an editorial assistant with Street Fight. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickJDuprey.