A unique business model prompted Google to ask AdWallet, a seven-week old startup, to join its Advantage Program, an invitation-only ad program aimed at helping brands reach consumers through apps. Similar to a mentoring program, the invite provides complimentary access to Google’s digital marketing experts, summits and services for 90 days.

The program helps the startup, but it also assists Google to learn more about AdWallet’s business model, one that Google has yet to explore for itself.

Adam Greenhood, CEO of AdWallet, said Google invites companies to join the program each quarter, and one or two of them are startups. Some are established companies.

Two pending patents might stop Google from running with the idea to increase the number of ads seen on smartphones, they wouldn’t stop Google from trying to make a possible acquisition.

Supercuts was the first national brand to advertise on the platform. Most of the brands are local to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the product launched.

AdWallet, a free app that became available for download August 1, hooks up with advertisers that pay consumers 50 cents to watch an advertisement and 25 cents to share it on social media.

With about $1 million in funding, the company publically launched on August 1 by Greenhood, a long-time ad exec who worked at several agencies including TBWA, and Esparza. He set up shop in Albuquerque with a business model that pays consumers for their attention because these days brands spend millions of dollars with less return.

“The goal is to have between 50,000 and 75,000 users by the end of the year,” Greenhood said. “I want to prove that in a local market this type of platform can scale. Then I’ll take it national.”

The platform allows advertisers to select a target market, define a maximum budget and send the advertisers directly to the consumer’s AdWallet app via text message. The platform cross-references everyone who has downloaded the app to search for the perfect customer to view the advertisement.

The consumer goes to the platform to watch the 15-second or 30-second ad and answer a question about the ad to verify that they paid attention. They then rate the ad and download an exclusive offer from the advertiser. The consumer receives 50 cents for paying attention and 25 cents more for sharing it.

When the campaign ends, AdWallet will send a report with geographic, social and behavioral analytics of the people who watched the ad to the advertiser. It tracks when the consumer downloaded the ad, when they received the offer, and when they used the offer.

AdWallet also pays consumers $1 for each referral who signs up. The company claims that as of September 15, about 7,000 people in Albuquerque, where it is being tested, have downloaded and use the app. He said the company has paid about 1,000 people $10 or more.

Tori Horan, an AdWallet user, says she uses AdWallet to get paid for viewing ads in her spare time. She chooses to get paid through her PayPal account. “At first I would get nearly two each morning and you can choose the time of day to receive text notification of ads, but lately it’s about every other day and sometimes only one ad at a time not two,” she told Digital Daily News through Facebook Messenger.


Originally Posted on MediaPost, by Laurie Sullivan.

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