Mobile couponing has been gaining more and more speed over the last year. According to a recent eMarketer study, rising food and gas prices in the United States has lead 74% of US consumers to use more coupons this year.

In particular, the use of mobile coupon is on the rise: mobile coupons or app usage increased by over 100% in 2011, and 100% again in 2012. Furthermore, 79% of US internet users were using more mobile coupons this year—on par with print coupons and circulars. 

Mobile coupling is great, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could poll your mobile audience? Ask users ‘how many times have you purchased this product?’ and ‘how did you first hear of this product?’, etc. Want to have the consumer watch a video about your brand? For many brands, awareness is key – couponing is only one piece of the puzzle.

Enter, Ibotta, a mobile technology company that has completely re-imagined the way that consumers learn about and interact with their favorite brands. The result is a mobile experience that replaces couponing with a fun series of game-like interactions that give consumers what they actually want: personalized offers that can be redeemed in all the major retailers, and real cash rewards instead of credits or points. Ibotta currently works with 8 of the 10 largest CPG companies to deliver deals consumers – both loyal and new.

Inside of 21 days, the Ibotta iOS application rose to #19 most downloaded app in category, ahead of Walmart, Safeway, Kroger, Shopkick, and

We’re all guilty of downloading apps, using once, and leaving them out to dry. Ibotta has seen an impressive repeat usage rate of 85%, which is approximately triple the average for mobile applications.

How it works

Once you sign up and download the application onto your phone, you can get started.

1) Users can scroll through dozens of products to see which deals are available – and the value of each deal:

2) Users can learn about a product and get rewarded for it:

3) Brands can learn a lot from their users. A poll is a great way to learn about usage occasions, sentiment, etc:

4) Sharing the message with friends has never been easier. Always wanted to get paid to post on Facebook? Here’s your shot:

5) Ibotta even prompts users to rate the deal. Similar to Pandora, Ibotta learns from the end user. If a user likes this deal (gives a thumbs up), they will be shown similar deals more frequently: 

In order to redeem the money accumulated here, a user must purchase the actual product. A barcode must be scanned and submitted with an image of the actual receipt.

Ibotta uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to validate all receipts. Earned funds will either be transferred into a Paypal account or it can be donated to any school in America. Parents have already started to flock to the app, and will continue to. Remember ‘box tops for education’? This is the 2012 version of that.

But is it successful?

Only having been released in early October, the platform has seen much success. There have been nearly 1 million offers viewed to date. There have been upwards of 150,000 brand engagements as well. The content is sticky – there has been an 85% completion rate on videos and a 95% completion rate on facts, quizzes, polls, recipes, user endorsements, etc. To date, approximately 3,000 hours have been spent by all users on the platform. 

One of the best parts are the brand endorsements. Brands can reward users for sharing a message into a Facebook newsfeed. Today, when purchase intent is often validated by friends and family, endorsement amplification is a sure way to influence others. Ibotta builds it into the platform and brands reward consumers for spreading it.

Android users shouldn’t worry as an Android version is in the works. A release date has not been set, but if you’d like to be kept in the loop, drop in your email address here to be notified once it is released.

Do you plan on checking out Ibotta? Have you done so already? What are your thoughts?