Talk about your tough customers. When Dailybreak Media founders Boris Revsin and Jared Stenquist set out in 2008 to monetize the college crowd through CampusLive, their first online venture, they quickly learned some hard truths about their target demo.
“They don’t click on banner ads,” Revsin says. “They want to be entertained by their advertising, and they want to be rewarded for spending time on the site doing anything.”
Those lessons formed the basis of the duo’s 2010 pivot into Dailybreak, a Boston-based marketing company that creates gamified brand experiences for the likes of Procter & Gamble and Chevrolet. These days clients shell out anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 for interactive content that engages potential customers by rewarding play and click-throughs with prizes: raffle entries, concert tickets, even a new car.
The car was the prize offered for a Dailybreak campaign for Chevrolet, which the automaker hosted on its own website. Called “Home for the Holidays,” it asked visitors to take a quiz on winter driving and submit an electronic postcard that included a photo and brief story. The winner was chosen based on the quiz results and the inventiveness behind the submission.
The campaign drew 70,000 participants, all of whom became potential sales leads for Chevy. But perhaps more significant, each user engaged with the brand for approximately 12 minutes—an eternity in marketing time, according to Revsin.
That success, coupled with a growing stable of Fortune 500 customers, has helped Dailybreak secure a total of $13 million in venture capital from Highland Capital Partners and GSV Capital, among others, in the past three years.
Reinforced with that funding, Revsin’s team has set out to build dailybreak.com into a destination gaming site in its own right, a place where repeat visitors can log in and pick from a menu of timely brand-sponsored “bite-sized games” (as Dailybreak calls them). Campaigns from last fall included “Which Halloween candy are you?” and a fashion trivia game, “Who are they wearing?” linked to the passing of Oscar de la Renta. Each time a visitor plays, he or she accrues points that can be used toward prizes such as gift cards and computer games.
According to Revsin, dailybreak.com and the contests hosted on clients’ sites attract, on average, a minimum of 10 million users per month—results that helped the company reach revenue in the seven figures in 2014 and expand its staff to 30.
Not bad for a couple of guys who met six years ago in college and believe that admittedly frivolous games make for a shrewd marketing strategy. The secret, Revsin says, is refreshingly straightforward: “We don’t try to shove something down your throat.”