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The man on a mission to make people ‘love advertising again’

The founder of a mobile app that gives consumers data in exchange for hosting ads on their Android lockscreens has said he hopes to make people “love” advertising again, as his start-up expands into South East Asia.

Milan Reinartz, the founder of Postr

Milan Reinartz, the chief executive officer of New Zealand-founded adtech company Postr, said he originally started the company in 2014 after becoming “frustrated” with the poor design and intrusiveness of mobile ads.

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia following the start-up’s launch in Indonesia and Singapore with plans to open other offices in South East Asia soon, he said giving users “value exchange” to view ads could help restore user faith in the much maligned medium of banner advertising.

“I was working in advertising as a designer and the core reason why I started a mobile publishing company was when I was designing ads for mobiles, and the execution would be just a tiny banner. From a creative perspective this was a frustration and I wanted to prove there was a better way.

“I came across a company in the US that was showing ads on a lock screen [Locket], which I thought was a fantastic medium, where you could earn coins for credits in gaming. I thought it would be an awesome idea to do that for data. I think we became the first mobile app that could earn you mobile data by placing ads on your lock screen.

“Many people don’t like advertising, even those in agencies, so what I am quite proud of is making display advertising more enjoyable – to make it great again. Or even make them love it again. The opt-in model does make people more positively biased towards advertising because it’s not something that has been forced upon you like on a news site

Following the Asia expansion, Reinartz relocated from Wellington to Singapore and hired Krishan Patel – the former VP of global business development and strategy at Singtel-owned Amobee, as chief revenue officer.

The pair are now recruiting a business development manager with plans to scale up the business further in Asia and eventually go to the European market too. The company has recently partnered with Indonesian telecom giant Hutchison 3 Indonesia and local systems integrator company AQN to offer internet data to the country’s large Android user-base.

An example lock screen ad by Postr

Speaking about the advantages of operating in South East Asia, in particular the developing markets, Reinartz added: “We focused on Asia because the market lends itself well to sponsored data because it is not quite as commoditised, as it is in very developed markets like North America and Europe.

“In developing markets, we can see that people are very keen on getting the free data. We usually see that the higher the data on offer, the higher the app retention. It does very much depend on the state of telco plans;

“There are vast Android audiences, such as in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. Because this penetration is very high and mobile budgets are growing, these are great markets for our business model.”

He added: “In Western markets, there are a lot of plans with unlimited data; I think in those markets, we have to focus on other approaches, like giving people a discount on their data or points as part of a loyalty system.”

The Hutchinson deal is Postr’s third partnership, following agreements signed with Skinny Mobile in New Zealand and Optus in Australia. The company also has two additional partnerships with Indonesian-based telcos, but was unable to disclose them.

Postr is not the only lock screen advertising company operating in Asia. In Korea, Buzzvil  Korea, allows users to earn cash in return for flipping through ads on a mobile app

Meanwhile, Australian-founded start-up Unlockd, which gives users free credits for viewing ads at the point of unlocking their screens, recently announced plans to expand into Asia. 

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