Lock your phone, unlock free data – meet Postr, the Wellington start-up revolutionising advertising
Businesses these day spend ridiculous amounts of money on advertising to audiences who just aren't interested and will more often than not, press skip, press the |X| button, report spam, unsubscribe or just keep scrolling. In reality, spam emails and unwanted pop ups are more likely to convince people to not buy a product than they are to pique interest in a product or service - purely from sheer annoyance.
What if there was a way to incentivise people to actually pay attention to advertisements? Where they could engage with adverts that they were actually interested in, in a way that didn't disrupt a video of a baby goat in pyjamas doing parkour or cause my parents to think I have a gambling/porn addiction due to pop ups from streaming movies.
Wellington tech firm, Postr, has come up with this very solution. By simply downloading the Postr app, locking your phone and allowing adverts to play on your lock screen - you can earn rewards while businesses can reach a willing audience - a win-win.
I had a chat to Postr founder, Milan Reinartz about where the inspiration for Postr came from, the challenges he's faced along the way and what's next for his ingenious kiwi startup.
Natalie: Tell us about POSTR and how it works
Milan: Postr helps telecommunications companies monetise their subscribers through lock screen apps. Telcos can reward their users of the Postr lock screen with ad-sponsored credit. Users can choose to engage with an ad or not and will earn their reward regardless. They earn mobile data, minutes and/or loyalty points just for installing the app and keeping it active.
Natalie: Where did the inspiration for Postr come from?
Milan: I studied design and started my career working as a designer and creative, and later as a digital designer and UX lead for ad agencies (in Wellington). I was often frustrated with the limited media opportunities in mobile from a creative angle – in particular, the ad sizes and thought that lock screen was a great opportunity for a more impactful mobile medium.
Natalie: How have you grown Postr’s presence in the market?
Milan: We pivoted from a B2C based app to a B2B based service, partnering with telecoms on the ad-funded model. Working with major carriers has enabled us to grow faster and rapidly expand globally. Having great investors who are well connected in the space has also helped.
Natalie: What are the biggest challenges in the industry you’ve had to overcome?
Milan: As a smaller, up and coming publisher, you always have the problem of reach – how many consumers you can reach – at the beginning. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation. I believe many publishers have this problem and there are a number of tactics to get past this, but at the end of the day we still have to build scale and combine this with “relevance over reach” and delivering results and good service to the advertisers, as well as building out our programmatic capabilities.
Natalie: How have you found being a start-up in New Zealand? Has it been a positive or negative experience?
Milan: Being a New Zealand start up has a number of advantages in my view. For one, New Zealand is a small market, which means access to the “big guys” is a little easier than being in a larger market, I suspect. Another advantage is that New Zealand has a very mature Angel investor scene and a great set of government support for start ups. We are proud to be a Kiwi company and are looking to keep our core product hub and holding structure New Zealand based.
Natalie: What’s next for Postr? Do you have plans to grow or expand?
Milan: Yes absolutely. We are fast becoming a global leader in ad sponsored data and lock screen apps across the telco world and are looking to continually expand this and solidify our position. We are now also now starting to build out a small number of new and supplementary business models, which draw on our existing strengths, connections and infrastructure.
Natalie: If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming entrepreneur, what would it be?
Milan: Don't give up too easily but also acknowledge the failures and learn from them quickly. Be very pragmatic, non-emotional and fact based in your decision making and focus on your key metrics early so you can pivot quickly when you see something not working as you expected. Also, expect that many things aren’t going to work the way you hope, especially if you are really innovating and doing new things, which haven’t been done before.
Postr is a fantastic example of a Kiwi business whose innovation has the potential to revolutionalise a whole industry. Telecommunication providers in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and the Phillipines have already eagerly jumped on board and advertisers are seeing higher average revenues per user and a 30 to 40x average click through rate. Postr has mastered a formula for effective advertising and we're incredibly excited to see what they do next.