It's definitely the case that the higher the incentives the more users will be engaged. That being said, many of our users use the app even though they don't make much, if any, money. Users like the motivation of competition and seeing how many points they can earn. Many commuters just need a small nudge in the right direction and then regardless of incentives they will start to change their behavior permanently.
Hi MaCie' Moore thanks for the response! Regarding the objective, I think we are a hybrid between promoting fitness and promoting active commutes. We do have plans to add cycling (in fact we used to have it but removed it due to the difficulty in verifying whether a user is actually cycling. We are working on advanced activity detection systems to bring it back).
Regarding incentives, we have a system where we pay out 50% of what we bring through in-app purchases and advertisements. Of course, the current system does not allow for everyone to get paid and rewards only go to the top users along with some random rewards. It's not perfect and we would love to pay everyone but that is obviously a hard nut to crack.
Our goal to increase incentives for phase 2 is to create a pay per check-in system that is based on driving local traffic to local businesses. For instance a local business could pay to add exclusive offers on our app. In return, we would create a "local offers" tab in our app. Users would get cash for checking in and redeeming an offer. This would allow local businesses to drive foot traffic into their businesses and we would track engagement through a "check-in" and "redemption" system. I believe this "pay per visit" model is the best way to raise money for larger sustained incentives in the future.
I'm open to hearing any ideas you and the community have to help raise incentive dollars because the more we can pay out the more we can change commute behavior.