Pepsico and US sandwich chain Arby’s have become the latest examples of brands offering consumers rewards for engagement through digital channels.

It demonstrates that brands are catching on to the fact that consumers are increasingly expecting to receive ‘free stuff’ in the form of offers or discounts for brand engagement.

Arby’s has signed up to a virtual currency loyalty programme run by startup Plink which offers Facebook Credits in return for in-store purchases.

Taco Bell and Dunkin’ Donuts were among companies that signed up to the scheme in January, which we highlighted as a cost effective way of driving additional footfall

Arby’s customer can now earn 10 Facebook Credits for every $5 spent at more than 3,500 US outlets.

It could turn out to be a useful way to monetise its existing social media network which includes 900,000 Facebook fans and 45,000 Twitter followers. 

In similar news, Pepsico has announced a tie in with reward company Kiip to offer fitness enthusiasts ‘achievement rewards’ when they log a run through fitness apps such as Nexercise and MapMyRUN.

After a workout, bike ride or run users are rewarded with PepsiCo’s Propel Zero drinks mix packets.

Kiip has had success with similar schemes and now delivers more than five rewards per second spanning over 20 apps and 30m global users.

Pepsico director of digital engagement Jason Thalappillil said it had found a meaningful way to target consumers when they’re the most engaged, “while providing an opportunity for our brand to reward them for being active.”

The two examples are slightly different – Pepsico is offering physical rewards for digital engagement while Arby’s is offering digital rewards for physical purchases – but in essence they are part of the same trend.

Consumers have come to expect discounts and rewards and increasingly we are seeing that brands are willing come up with the goods.