A number of mobile apps—primarily games—are experimenting with real-world rewards as a way to boost loyalty and engagement. For example, Playstudios' MyVegas Slots game allows users to earn points towards stays at MGM's Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and other resorts, and Zynga's Scramble with Friends offers points towards iTunes and Amazon gift cards.
Some developers run their own rewards programs, but others turn to service providers like P4RC (pronounced "park"). The company claims to be able to increase session frequency and duration by 1,000 percent.
Experts say that the trick to making real-world rewards work is to find the right prize—not necessarily an expensive prize—for a given app's audience.