Kraft has seen the number of downloads for its "iFood Assistant" mobile app triple since changing it to a free item in December, Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovation and new services for the CPG giant, told ClickZ. He declined to disclose actual numbers.
Prior to the switch, the smart phone app had cost 99 cents per download since launching a few years ago, while offering food-related content such as recipes and dinner ideas. The push the app has received on Kraft properties hasn't changed significantly, Kaczmarek explained, stating that eliminating the price tag was the key to its usage increase. Premium content is available for a fee.
"We got to a threshold," Kaczmarek said. "And for our brands, they wanted more consumers. I think we learned is that the best model is the 'freemium,' where you establish a free base and offer premium content. That's where we think the sweet spot is."
After speaking at the Ad Age Digital Conference last week, the Kraft exec chatted with ClickZ about the highlights of his brand's recent mobile efforts. He pointed to his firm's ongoing relationship with loyalty app Shopkick, which rewards consumers for in-store engagement rather than checking into locations like Foursquare.
"I think it's brilliant," he said. "Now that [Shopkick] has three million consumers, we want them to have 10 million. For engaging in store, it's so focused on the purchase funnel. I think it's the top shopping app we've seen so far. Foursquare is about checking in, while Shopkick is about checking in and shopping."
He also singled out the brand's partnership with Nokia that's centered on testing mobile marketing for properties like Oreo, Tang, Cadbury, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Though Kaczmarek, who has been with the Northfield, IL-based company for eight years, wouldn't divulge specifics about whether Kraft is significantly lifting its spend in the space during 2012.
"What I can tell you is the importance of mobile has increased and is reaching a new level this year," he said. "We think there is a lot to be explored in connecting with the consumer closer to the point of purchase."
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