Reading can be a rich and rewarding experience in more ways than one. It’s not just the boosting of the intellect being referred to here, but the accumulation of actual riches in one’s pockets.
So, if earning money became as easy as unlocking your smartphone, swiping your fingers and just reading, it would definitely draw a large crowd.
That’s exactly what a new platform called SlideApp is attracting.
Launched in November 2015, less than a year ago, SlideApp founders Amrita Gujral and Nakul Sethi claim the app has amassed a user base of 1.6 million and has downloads set to hit 10 million.
The average person unlocks their smartphones over 100 times a day. SlideApp, they explain, is a lock screen app for Android phones that provides users with content of their interest at their fingertips and rewards them for every swipe and slide. The reward points can be redeemed to recharge the phone or even shop online.
The idea had been germinating for a while, for almost a year before launch, the founders admit. But it took them some time to arrive at a seamless model.
“We partnered with an extremely skilled development team and worked towards achieving an app platform that's sheer delight to users in terms of interface and especially made easy to claim rewards. We now work with a complete CRM, creative and marketing team,” says 27-year-old Nakul, Co-founder, SlideApp.
The platform was conceived with three ideas: that the concept of lock screen seemed unutilised in the Indian market; that 'reading content' should be and could be turned into users’ habit; and the plan to marry what an advertiser and a prospective consumer look for.
By rewarding users each time they read, the founders created a platform to enable advertisers to target their audience in the form of content most relevant to them. It has thus tried to create a multi-benefit usage model for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B).
It’s also a new-age advertising tool that helps marketers promote brands/companies by reaching out to the right target audience, as well as a sort of media platform that offers updates on topics that are of interest to the user. It incentivises users for reading more on the app, be it content that’s from publishers/advertisers or curated content from bloggers.
“We have worked closely on consumer insights, media targeting, technology innovations and content development. The idea of the app stems from right here and takes shape to serve the purpose we most believe in—that ‘knowledge is a right of all’, to guide them to what they want is where SlideApp steps in as a technology solution,” says Amrita, 31.
“Our platform allows the advertiser to reach targeted customers as per requirement of the product and the user is also accessing content only relevant to him, thus a sweet spot,” chimes in Nakul.
While Amrita is the India Business Head for SlideApp, Nakul is the Digital Head – the duo contributing a healthy mix of an advertising professional and a tech marketer, respectively.
In the last six months, the user base for Slide App has grown exponentially and the app has received a tremendous response due to focussed marketing efforts, the founders report.
“It’s very difficult for an app to acquire users but SlideApp has already acquired a huge user base and has been able to retain it as well,” says Amrita.
The platform is funded by Bon angels, which is one of top early stage investor in Asia. On the revenue model, she says that they charge for displaying ads, and promises to share more about it in a few weeks.
“A lot of investment has gone in rewarding users, improving the app and development and marketing. We have demands coming in from various parts of the country where they desire content and we optimise our strategy accordingly,” she adds. The platform recently tied up with MobiKwik as a wallet partner.
On customer acquisition, Nakul explains that they run like a complete media platform, playing ads and new content on a daily basis. Thousands of pieces of content get loaded daily. User complaints are resolved patiently and they ensure social media is dealt with in a highly engaging manner.
“For a long time, rewards meant giving talk-time within 24-48 hours, but now we are trying to change that and letting users redeem for movie tickets, shopping and more,” he adds.
For the founders, the market is huge and they are looking at acquiring a 10-million user base by early next year.
On challenges, Amrita points out that it is primarily retaining users for a healthy expanse and ensuring inflow through virality at the same time, which in turn would enable success in overcoming the challenge of sustained revenue.
According to an EY report, the Indian digital media segment is set for disruption, with growth expected to reach Rs 200 billion by 2020, and digital ad spend expected to grow at 23-28 percent.
Experts say that recently to harness the available market opportunity, there has been a steep rise in platforms targeting mobile users via online content.
There are many other platforms in this category that are offering similar kind of products. Gurgaon-based Planet GoGo, Unlockar and Paisa Swipe, among others, are unlock screen apps that offer rewards to users on unlocking their phone. And all these platforms are vying out there on Playstore to make it to users’ app list.
The EY reports that demographics are all stacked in India’s favour for digital consumption. By 2017, India will have more than 350 million smartphones. Inexpensive smartphones and the roll-out of 3G and 4G broadband infrastructure are coming together rapidly to boost traditional distribution and democratise online access. Together, these factors lay the foundation for accelerated digital media consumption.