In response to the increase in mobile check ins, Starbucks China has integrated the action directly into their mobile advertising campaigns. For this holiday season, mobile skins, or artistic ‘themes’ that redesign the app for the holidays, can be downloaded that include embedded advertisements that directly engage consumers. The advertisements, which send consumers to a holiday themed webpage encourage them to check into Starbucks, making them eligible for an increased drink size.
By integrating checking in directly into the advertising it focuses more attention to the ad campaign itself on top of making checking in faster. The advertisements automatically launch and are featured among China’s most popular social networks including SinaWeibo and Jiepang, the equivalents of Twitter and Foursquare, respectively. Weibo has approximately 3 million users and Jiepang has about 1.5 million users checking in twice a day on average.
The campaign has the two fold effect of increasing incentive to check-in as well as creating increased brand awareness. Checking in also has the effect of announcing to friends where someone is shopping thus generating interest via social networks and friends. Rewarding this action only increases the frequency of check ins. And as more people check in, the more likely it is that people will see them and follow suit.