According to Telecom's annual report, an average smartphone user reaches for their phone 150 times per day. For some, including Banksy, whose latest piece is a commentary on the scourge of mobile addiction, that's a bit sad. But that level of interest makes it an appealing place to be for advertisers, so local start-up Postr is hoping to get brands into consumers' pockets by serving ads on their smartphone homescreens.
Founder and director Milan Reinhartz says the crux of the idea is that Postr is a publisher, so advertisers pay it and then passes a portion of that money on to its users, who download the app, fill in their details and then get ads on their homescreens. He says about 50 percent of the revenue goes back to the consumer, which could equate to up to $30 a month if all the ad inventory is sold, so it could bring a new meaning to the term pocket money.
He says there are similar ideas out there, notably Locket, which has around 150,000 users and, in New Zealand, Little Lot, which serves ads on screens and gives a chunk of the proceeds to charity (Postr users can either cash out or donate the money they make from swiping, although Locket moved away from its pay-per-swipe model recently because some people were abusing the system).
Reinhartz says it has been able to look at those businesses and some of the issues they've faced and "find ways to deal with them".
"Our ad serving system is quite different. It's like TV. You pay for slots."
He says the ratecard is $60 CPM and Postr ads are served in time slots of 30 minutes, with an impression only counted if a user swipes their phone at least once within a slot. It only charges for one impression per user per 30 minute time slot. But people swipe their phone around 150 times a day during waking hours so he says advertisers will receive loads of free impressions. During unbooked ad slots, it will serve users daily inspirational messages on background images.
Based on the details users enter at the sign-up stage, he says it can also target specific demographics, whether it's students, professionals, home owners or car owners, and serve ads that align with their interests. It does plan on charging more for targeting rather than run of platform advertising, but it's currently offering an early adopter deal which offers targeting for free. It's also building a proximity platform that will allow advertisers to show ads to those within a radius. Advertisers can also get real-time analytics that cover paid impressions, total impressions, click-through-rates and a/b testing.
He says it chose to use the Android platform because it has 65 percent market penetration in New Zealand. But it might also launch an iOS app in future, although the approval process with Apple is harder.
Reinhartz started developing the app in October last year, although he says the idea has been bubbling away in his brain for a lot longer than that, and it required a senior software engineer "to build a robust back-end" and a designer. Reinhartz is a designer himself, but he has stepped away from that area and is focusing on running the business.
He says he's talking with all the big media agencies about Postr, and a few of them have already booked campaigns, although he was unable to say which advertisers will be onboard when it launches officially on 2 June.
He says it's starting locally (initially the app will only work in New Zealand) and it's promoting the app through Facebook, a poster campaign and traditional PR. But once Postr's profile increases, he hopes to expand into Australia and to the rest of the world.