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Zynga partners with SessionM to launch in-game real-world rewards (exclusive)

Above: SessionM gives players rewards for playing.

Image Credit: SessionM

One day, we’ll get paid to play games. But until that day comes, in-game rewards are the next best thing.

SessionM and social gaming publisher Zynga have partnered to provide in-game, real-world rewards for players. Boston-based SessionM specializes in such rewards through its mobile loyalty and ad platform. It will embed its redeemable rewards in Zynga’s Scramble With Friends mobile social game.

SessionM will provide mPoints to players who unlock in-game achievements. Those points can be redeemed for real-world rewards, such as iTunes and Amazon gift cards. They can also be used to enter SessionM sweepstakes and contests. Their hope is to attack a big problem: about 70 percent of consumers drop an app after just one use.

Starting in July, players will see an icon within Scramble With Friends, giving them the option to play for achievements and earn loyalty points. The partnership will reward active, loyal players while giving brand advertisers new opportunities to provide valuable engagement-based video ads that are entirely opt-in.

“Zynga is committed to delivering the most innovative and meaningful ways for our global network of players to engage with their favorite brands,” said Adam Sussman, senior vice president of sales and distribution for Zynga. “Partnering with SessionM enables us to launch Zynga’s first mobile real-world rewards program to benefit our players while providing a unique value to brands, which can engage directly with their target audience.”

SessionM has been handing out these rewards to mobile game players for a while. It was founded in 2011 and its advertisers include State Farm, American Express, Degree, HBO, Ford, Old Navy, and Universal Studios.

“We are delighted to add Zynga to our growing list of partners as we endeavor to build the world’s largest mobile rewards network,” said Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at SessionM. “Zynga’s massive, engaged audience will love being rewarded for their gameplay and brands will love the results they see from this proven platform. It’s a true ‘win’ for both.”

SessionM has 60 employees and it has raised $26.5 million to date from Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Developer partners include Crackle, Runtastic, Moviefone, The Weather Channel, Family Feud & Friends, MTV News, and Dictionary.com. The founders include Lars Albright, Scott Weller, and Mark Herrmann.

Competitors include Kiip and PocketChange.


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