Smartphone app Postr, which puts brands and money into consumers' pockets by serving ads on their smartphone lockscreens, added its name to the list of apps trying to own the mobile last year. It's managed to attract 12,000 downloads so far, and it's hoping some new features that will enable users to browse news, weather and deals from The New Zealand Herald, GrabOne and MetService without having to unlock their mobile phone will grow that number significantly.
Previously, founder and director Milan Reinartz told StopPress that Postr is a publisher in the sense that advertisers pay it to distribute a message to its user-base. The difference, however, is that a portion of the revenue is also shared with the users, who download the app, fill in their details and agree to have ads on their lock screens.
After downloading the app, personalised advertising appears on a user’s lock screen, and the user can either swipe left to engage with the advert or swipe right to enter the phone. By allowing advertisers to take over their lock screens, users can make up to $30 per month, which will then either be transferred into a selected bank account or donated to charity.
The smartphone is a new media battleground. And that's not surprising when you consider that, on average Kiwis unlock their phones around 100 times a day. Recently, Snapchat announced its Discover platform and numerous brands were involved in it and there has already been plenty of action from brands hoping to get onto the Apple Watch. Even so, there's still a lag between the time spent and the ad money spent, here and around the world, so it only makes up a sliver of total interactive spend.
"We’re giving users instant access to their favourite content in one place and removing the need to unlock, find and run individual apps."
Users can now customise the news content they see according to their areas of interest and deals and weather by their geographic location.
“We’ve enriched the app to keep users informed throughout the day while ensuring minimal data and battery life usage,” Reinartz says. “The new features will also help to reduce emails and inbox clutter through consolidated, quick access to personalised, up-to-date content.”
GrabOne marketing director Keeley Sander says: “We are excited to be part of this breakthrough technology initiative by Postr. It represents a real first for us in terms of the way we are able to serve content and engage the New Zealand online consumer,” she says. "The percentage of our customers who are browsing and transacting on mobiles continues to rise, so this partnership works well with our mobile retail strategy."
Postr says it's anticipating continued growth by bringing more content partners and advertisers on board in the near future, “…connecting brands, customers and quality content in a relevant, personalised way.”
Postr users have clocked up almost $40,000 in total earnings, says Reinartz.
“While the app has been an easy way for users to get a bit of extra pocket money, we expect the new, dynamic content offering to attract more diverse user demographics, and therefore expand our offering to advertisers as well.”
Reinartz explained earlier that the crux of the system is to make consumers voluntary participants in the advertising, in the sense that they stand to gain from seeing an ad.
“We don’t want people to feel like they’re getting spammed," he says. "We really want people to enjoy the content and look forward to it. All ads on Postr are beautifully crafted and personalised to the user’s interests. You get rewarded financially for hosting the ads, and it’s entirely up to you whether you engage or not. You still get paid.”
There are similar ideas out there, notably Locket, which has had over a million downloads, raised $3.2 million in funding and was named as one of the best apps of 2014 by Google, and, in New Zealand, Little Lot, which serves ads on screens and gives a chunk of the proceeds to charity. Locket moved away from its pay-per-swipe model because some people were abusing the system. And its ScreenPop app also allows users to message friends without unlocking the phone. Facebook's attempt to own the phone with Home was a failure, but it's just launched its next attempt, Hello. And Google has its own product, Google Now.
Postr is available for free download on Android devices via Google Play.