WASHINGTON, August 23, 2013 — Getting someone to pull out their credit card and buy something on their mobile phones is near to impossible; it’s a problem every major ad network is trying to solve. As the consumer, we close popups and immediately exit banner ads, never seeing the advertiser’s product and if anything, we’re irritated and probably a lotless likely to want to engage with that advertiser.
Last month, a San Francisco based startup called Pocket Change launched a mobile ad product with the thesis that they could drive meaningful purchases on mobile - by creating a positive consumer experience around advertising. Their mission, according to CEO and Co-Founder Ari Mir, is to align the interests of the consumer, publisher and advertiser.
Despite going against common industry practice, Pocket Change’s model seems to be working. In the 30 days since the ad product has been live, their advertisers have raved that this is the best traffic quality they have been delivered by a mobile ad network to date - topping even industry giants AdWords and Facebook ads.
In an interview, CEO and Founder Dan Murillo of Little Black Bag, a popular e-commerce webite that has advertised with Pocket Change for the past several months stated, “One of our core competencies at Little Black Bag is performance marketing. We’ve tested a lot of mobile ad networks and Pocket Change is delivering the highest quality traffic.”
It’s estimated that 20 percent of consumer time will be spent on mobile in 2013, but only 4 percent of ad dollars. That’s because, if you look at all the mobile ad networks today, they focus most of their energy on driving installs to apps rather than purchases. The problem with this model is that there are a ton of advertisers who don’t have apps - and if you don’t have an app but you want to reach consumers on mobile, what are you going to do?
Speaking to this issue, Mir explained, “Paying for installs is a short term phenomenon. What ad networks need to do is figure out how to drive purchase on mobile, and then mobile advertising will make sense for advertisers. With Pocket Change, we’ve figured out how to drive ROI positive traffic acquisition.”
Pocket Change is a universal loyalty currency rewarded to consumers for positive organic moments across their favorite mobile apps. The 80 million plus users can then redeem their Pocket Change for virtual or physical goods, some of which are sponsored.
Pocket Change launched last year and has raised $6.3M to date from Google Ventures, First Round Capital, and other notable investors. The digital loyalty currency can be found in over 500 apps. Ari Mir previously co-founded GumGum.com, the world’s largest In-image Ad-network, which reaches over 100 million unique visitors per month.
Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has contributed to Mashable and The Detroit Free Press.
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