As more and more Indians get online and increasingly shop online, it has become difficult for brands to get the kind of recall and retention that would mean more business for them. On top of that, the Indian consumer is very price-sensitive and always looking for the next best deal (read: discounts). How does a brand win consumer loyalty in this cut-throat online scene? Adtech startup Airloyal has the answer.
Airloyal is a digital mobile advertisement startup that aims to revolutionize advertising by diverting a part of the annual global $500 billion advertisement expenditure into the pockets of consumers in emerging economies.
“We have already launched our first product – Ladooo – a mobile advertising platform available on Google Play store that offers guaranteed engagement for every mobile ad campaign,” says Raja Hussain, Founder and CEO, Airloyal.
Ladooo enables brands and application developers to engage with their target audience in a cost-effective manner and thereby gain deeper insights and higher brand recall. Consumers win free airtime on completion of certain product related tasks such as answering a quiz, watching a video or trying out an application.
In my case, when I installed the android app, I got the following brand requests - INR 5 free talktime for installing the Flipkart app and running it for 30 seconds. Similar engagements were available for other brands like Paytm, Mobikwik, Snapdeal, Quikr, Tata, Jabong, Amazon, and Gaana etc. The app pays out only if there is guaranteed engagement from the user.
“At Airloyal, we are focused on Android and empower brands who want to reach and engage consumers in the 15 to 25 age group across the country. Both conventional brands, as well as mobile app marketers will spend billions of dollars to engage consumers on mobile. We are well-positioned to be a key player in the Indian mobile advertising space due to the unique nature of our model where we ‘guarantee engagement’. We are the first mobile advertising platform that is beyond the banner ad,” adds Raja.
Airloyal – a fantastic team
The Airloyal team has an Infosys veteran, Nithyanandan Radhakrishnan as the co-founder and Chief of Strategy.
“We wanted to do something disruptive and kept working on various ideas. Nithya was helping out externally and when we hit upon the idea to build Airloyal, it was obvious that he needed to come on board,” says Raja.
After a successful second stint at Infosys, Nithya came onboard in April 2014 to drive strategy, fundraising and BD for Airloyal.
Pandurang Nayak, the Chief of Products, was formerly with Times Internet Group as Business Head of BoxTV. Pandurang spent several years with Microsoft, CTS and Times Internet Group. He launched the video advertising business for Times Internet and built out their Netflix-for-India product called BoxTV.
Prasanna Jaganathan, founder & Chief of Engineering at Airloyal has done his MS in Engineering in the US and has worked with three startups in the consumer & cloud computing space. Prasanna was Head of Engineering for Chennai-based Orange Scape for eight years.
“The other three founding team members Sundar, Latha and Anitaa are each capable of operating as a one-person army. Our passion to 'make the consumer win' drives us day & night and has helped us achieve this scale in a short time,” adds Raja.
Raja has himself been a part of a few startup teams; first at Roamware Inc, a silicon valley based mobile technology company and later when he ventured out on his own in 2012 with Funspot in Singapore, a mobile social gaming company focused on helping game developers to engage millions of consumers across Asia’s emerging markets like India, Indonesia, Vietnam & Philippines.
The Airloyal differentiation
The fact that the team comes from a mobile social gaming background means that they know a lot about extreme engagement and retention models. This is a huge differentiator for the team. Add to that, the relationships that the team members have with the mobile operators, courtesy the Roamware days where they did business with 700+ mobile operators around the world and one can see why Airloyal could go on to build a very formidable business.
In particular, the two areas where Airloyal has been able to differentiate extensively are:
1. Post app-install engagement for advertisers - Airloyal claims to be the only ad platform that charges only for engaged app consumer.
2. Consumer poll service - This can get any brand an instant visibility about what 15 to 25 year olds feel about their brand, ad campaign, app or a promotion.
For a popular coffee chain, the team was able to get instant opinion about their product offering from more than 30,000 consumers from across the country with demographic data, in less than three days!
The journey so far – delivering 1 million engagements in just 90 days
The Airloyal team has been able to help more than 30 top brands in India meet their consumer acquisition and engagement objectives. Within 90 days, the app has delivered close to one million paid guaranteed engagements to its customers.
“Advertisers are thrilled by our scale to grow their campaigns fast and get them not just users, but engaged users,” says Raja.
The Airloyal team’s vision is driven by - “We exist to make the customers win.” The app is seeing high organic growth rate and retention. With zero marketing, the team has been able to grow the user base quite significantly purely on word-of-mouth.
“50% of our user base visits us at least 10 times every month.”
Zhenya Tsvetnenko, a successful entrepreneur and investor from Australia in the mobile advertising space has invested in the Airloyal and the team is in discussions with marquee Indian as well as Silicon valley investors for raising Series A funds.
The future plans
“We are growing fast and will soon be a force in the mobile app marketing space in India. Anybody who wants to promote their mobile app, will need to have ladooo as core part of their plan. We have specific areas of expertise to acquire engaged users, engage existing users, understand user insights and help advertisers to get their app go viral,” says Raja about ladooo’s future.
Airloyal intends to also expand its redemption offerings and options beyond airtime. They already support DTH.
“You will soon be able to use the ladooo cash to spend on variety of real world establishments,” adds Raja.
The market and YourStory’s take on Airloyal
The global advertisement spend is $500B a year. The global mobile advertisement spend is $18B. The Indian online advertisement spend is close to INR 3000 Cr or $500M. The growth potential for Indian mobile advertising is huge, as more and more brands are gaining a better RoI on mobile and diverting more of their budgets to mobile. Android adoption is the key driver of this trend. An INR 3000 android phone changes the game with the ability for the brands to interact with consumers.
Airloyal has quite a few things going for it:
- A very strong and experienced team who know the mobile space very well
- A unique business model which has a monetary reward answer for a user’s ‘What’s-in-it-for-me?’ question
- A customer base that is desperate for consumer engagement
Even with big brands on board, the team has their vision in place and is focusing on making it a winning game for the app users.
“At Airloyal, we want the consumer to win. Imagine if we are able to divert even a small part of the $500B ad spend to the pockets of consumers in countries like India. Out of the 880M mobile phone users in India, only 220M have mobile internet connection. The internet has changed my life. We believe that we have a shot at making internet free or more affordable to the other 660M consumers in India.”