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Microsoft has made a big push to topple Google Chrome from atop the Internet browser throne, and the brand’s latest steps are undoubtedly its most innovative. This is because users of the Microsoft Edge browser will soon be working toward incentives for doing little more than surfing the web.
Offering value for using Microsoft web tools is nothing new: Bing Rewards has been offering up value for users of the search engine since launching in 2010. Building on the program, the tech giant is now rebranding Bing Rewards to Microsoft Rewards, an indicator of its newly expanded scope.
“Microsoft has taken an innovative approach to rewards,” Evan Magliocca, brand marketing manager at Baesman Insights & Marketing, told Loyalty360. “They’re essentially trying to reverse-engineer loyalty to take market share from Google. They’re struggling to compete on product alone, incentivizing has worked with so many other industries, why not search and browse? By providing prospective consumers with incentives, they’re building an active user stream for a product that needs a major boost in awareness so it’s not overshadowed by Chrome or Firefox.”
To earn points, Edge users just need to browse as normal; the program will detect that the user is still actively using the platform based on mouse clicks and other activity, but even watching a full screen video will earn points.
As in all loyalty programs, among the keys to success will be a relevant and valuable rewards mix. Thanks to the market presence and impressive portfolio of partners available to Microsoft, there should be no issues on that front. Already available via the existing Bing Rewards, incentives include products and gift cards from Skype, Xbox, Windows, and more.
Magliocca added that while the brand is offering a strong rewards mix, there’s no substitute for a quality product.
“While the rewards mix for Microsoft is a powerful incentive with their range of products; there’s a reason Chrome is the top tool in the industry,” Magliocca said. “Microsoft can’t forget about the user experience of their tools and browsers. No matter the reward, consumers will abandon the program if the product doesn’t meet expectations and needs.”
The program makes use of both points and tiers. While the points are the primary method of earning rewards, users will be able to raise their account to the Level 2 tier by collecting 500 points each month. This ensures continued engagement, something that has seemingly eluded the Edge platform since launch. Level 2 users will earn more points, as well 10% redemption discounts on Microsoft brand rewards.
To avoid overlooking existing users in favor of newly acquired ones, Microsoft is providing all current Bing Rewards members Level 2 status through the end of October.
The concept of rewarding consumers for actively use a product is nearly as old as marketing itself, and is the basis upon which nearly all loyalty programs are built. What Microsoft hopes to do with the new Microsoft rewards, however, is to expand on this idea to reward passive engagement, hopefully resulting in customers using Edge as a means to gain points, eventually building the practice into a habit and providing Microsoft with the data and user base it needs to finally catch up with Google’s browsing powerhouse.
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