Have you ever won a free airtime on your mobile after taking a quiz or watching a video? Do you think that the popular Indian sweet ‘ladoo’ can only be eaten? Here’s a reward-based ad platform called Ladooo, which aims to own the attention of one billion people for an average of one minute everyday and give away US$1 billion a year.
Today, businesses from around the world are flocking to emerging economies. But are they doing anything to encourage the consumers’ participation in the revenue stream, apart from spending? Airloyal, a digital mobile advertisement startup, was born as a result of the realisation that young Asian consumers base their purchase decisions on the question: “What’s in it for me?”
Airloyal aims to revolutionise advertising by diverting a part of the annual global US$500 billion advertisement expenditure into the pockets of consumers in emerging economies, and has therefore launched Ladooo on Google Play that offers guaranteed engagement for every mobile ad campaign.
“For an area where 95 per cent of Indian consumers (800 million) are spending 10 per cent of their daily wages on using prepaid mobile connections, the deal-sealer has got to be mobile internet connectivity. You pay only, and only if, consumers complete a specific app related task such as answering a quiz, watching a video or trying out an application. On the other hand, consumers win free airtime on completion of the task,” said Raja Hussain, Founder and CEO, Airloyal. “We are the first mobile advertising platform that is beyond the banner ad,” he added. It helps brands in reaching out to consumers in the 15 to 25 age group.
But ‘Ladooo’ is a sweet!
“We needed something original and different as we wanted to create an identity for a long time to come. Ladooo (the sweet) communicates celebration and gifting. As gifting is core to our model, we thought about it and realised that more than 90 per cent of the time you have had a ladooo, it was a gift you received; It’s unlikely that any of us would have paid for the ladooos we have eaten,” explained Hussain. The name has certainly cut through the clutter and is able to grab attention.
How does Ladooo work?
Ladooo is a mobile ad platform that drives consumer attention, engagement and action. When users install the Ladooo Android app and complete the offers (see an ad, try an app, answer a poll etc.), then they earn money in their wallet on the application. The money that goes to their Ladooo wallet does not expire and there is no subscription involved. They can choose to use this money to top up their prepaid mobile accounts or direct to home (DTH) accounts based on the top up plans supported by each operator.
“We don’t charge the brand if the engagement they want from the consumer is not delivered. Hence, they have access to an advertising model, where they have to pay only when a consumer has interacted and engaged with their ads,” Hussain explained.
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Airloyal has partnered with mobile operators, DTH operators and it is working closely with some retail experiences. The startup has received seed funding from Australia’s entrepreneur and investor, Zhenya Tsvetnenko. It is also working on the next round of raising funds.
Airloyal charges advertisers on a Cost Per Engagement (CPE) model, in which the advertiser pays only if the consumer completes the engagement activity defined by the advertiser. It gives part of this CPE to the consumer in the form of instant real value rewards.
Direct threat from Jana
Ladooo’s closest competitor — both in India and globally — is Jana, a mobile technology platform that connects emerging market consumers with global brands using mobile airtime. With this platform, individuals in emerging markets build relationships directly with brands through the company’s mutual data exchange. This exchange takes place on the company’s opt-in consumer facing platform, mCent.
“However, our approach is significantly different from that of Jana. We are building a tight community of users in the 15 to 25 years target group. We are focussed on India now and are able to engage with direct advertiser clients and brands, whereas, Jana is based abroad and is using a generic approach by just leveraging ad networks for offers,” said Hussain.
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There haven’t been any significant marketing campaigns from the startup and it has been growing organically based on the word of mouth and the natural inbuilt viral elements within the app.
Making the brand managers understand this new model is a challenge
For brands, the fight for consumer attention has become fiercer than before. Hence, they are trying to grab their attention both online and offline through multiple mass media advertising models.
“The major challenge is to help brand managers and ad agency execs to understand how these new models can help them make a much bigger impact at a fraction of the costs they are used to spending. Because the first generation mobile advertising was just about banner ads on mobile,” said Hussain.
“We are now offering a ‘money-back guarantee’ for every ad campaign. But it is just a matter of time that they will see the value and impact that new models like ours can create for them,” he added.
Launching services across Southeast Asia
The growth potential for Indian mobile advertising is huge as more and more brands are gaining a better RoI on mobile.
“In India, we plan to build sales presence across all metros. After India, we plan to launch our services across Southeast Asia which includes extending our services in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. We have already built all the backend required. We think by Q3 this year, we will launch in at least one new country,” he announced.
Toward the product expansion end, he said, “Ladooo, the core product is complete and is being used by thousands of users every day. We are now working on a lot of new features, both on the app and front end as well as the server side including multiple language support, self-care ad management portal for advertisers, data insights platform, and superior targeting capabilities, among others.”