Hooked on Phonics Doubles Success With Apps

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How Hooked on Phonics found a quality traffic source with mobile video ads

Hooked on Phonics
Hooked on Phonics

A recognizable marketing slogan does not automatically translate to the long-term success of a company.

While the slogan may remind consumers of the products, it is ultimately up to those in charge to entice them to return — a task that's becoming harder and harder in a modern crowded market. This is the challenge Hooked on Phonics encountered when it started to market its new Android app.

“Hooked on Phonics worked for me”

Launched in 1987, Hooked on Phonics is a commercial brand of educational materials, originally designed for reading education through phonetics. The brand  used systematic phonics and scaffolded stories to teach letter-sound correlations (phonics) as part of children's literacy.

The target audience for Hooked on Phonics was and still is primarily individuals and homeschool parents. The product was advertised extensively on television and radio throughout the 1990s with the slogan, “Hooked on Phonics worked for me.” The marketing motto became so ubiquitous in U.S. culture, it was referenced in television programs, stand-up comedy routines, and more.

The program has since expanded to encompass a wide variety of media, including books, computer games, music, videos, and flash cards in addition to books in its materials, as well as to include other subject areas. Today, the Hooked on Phonics program had been introduced in over 30 countries.

Hooked on Phonics responded to this expanding marketplace by launching an app for the Android phone in 2013. While the app initially succeeded, there was a growing need for Hooked on Phonics to capture more engagement from its audience.

Learning to love learning

In May 2016, Hooked on Phonics hired Austin Feld as director of mobile and digital acquisition and marketing. The move would turn out to be a game-changer for not only the company but the app as well.

In an effort to boost engagement with the app, Feld and Hooked on Phonics, met with Lucktastic, a free gaming and entertainment app developed by Jump Ramp Games.

Feld stressed to Lucktastic that the most important need was for Hooked on Phonics to enhance its quality of traffic, by establishing a consumer base that was willing to test out free trials, and eventually sign up for monthly subscriptions.

Targets for this Lucktastic video ad campaign were young parents, as well as any competing brands, including Nickelodeon and Curious George.

“For us, trial to conversion is very high and well above the industry average,” says Feld. “If we can get people into the door to test out the app, they will more than likely become paying customers.”

Hooked on Phonics displayed ads on Lucktastic's video feature which plays prior to giving players access to Lucktastic's mini games.

The result for Hooked on Phonics was double the amount of free trials and installs for Hooked on Phonics' Android app than traditional ad networks and organic search.

Hooked on Phones and Lucktastic will continue to run the campaign with an aim of expanding its consumer reach and quality of traffic.

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