Ari Mir of Pocket Change on creating a loyalty currency

With $6M in funding, can Pocket Change become a leading way to spend your ad dollars?

Entrepreneur interview by Bambi Francisco Roizen
July 14, 2013
Short URL:

Mobile advertising almost doubled last year to $8.9 billion, with not surprisingly - search - bringing in the lion's share of that amout. That's because someone searching largely means they have the greatest intention to take action upon that search. 

But Pocket Change has emerged to challenge that notion, or at least deliver to advertisers other mobile users whose intentions are at least as great, or pretty darn close enough. According to Ari Mir, Pocket Change - whose clients are advertisers that want to reach mobile users - only delivers mobile users who opt-in for a particular product. 

Backing up, Pocket Change essentially aggregates products, such as an Amazon Kindle, a plasma TV, a Reebok gift card from advertisers who want to find new customers or engage with existing ones. Pocket Change then works with publishers of apps (at the moment it works with 500 of them) and these products are presented as give-aways to users who are on the apps. The give-aways are rewarded to those who achieve certain milestones on the apps. Basically, Pocket Change is a rewards or loyalty currency. 

Founded in May 2011, Pocket Change has raised $6 million. Mir says, "Think of Pocket Change as American Express points for mobile apps."

Here are some highlights:

1) Pocket Change is available on more than 500 apps, of which 65% are gaming.

2) There are two million people actively earning Pocket Change rewards daily, of which 25% visit the Pocket Change store. (Basically, people are doing certain "engaging" actions on these apps - downloading a book, messaging a friend, etc. - and earning points. Throughout the day, they see a pop-up that says they've been awarded enough points to redeem them at the Pocket Change store. Of those who see the pop-up, 25% go to the store and browse. Mir would not disclose how many are redeeming, however).

3) The way Pocket Change works with brand is this way. "The majority of products are sponsored by big brands. The reason we can do that is the big brands want to acquire mobile users. Right now their only option is to advertise with annoying banner ads. When we talk to Reebok, we say, "Why associate your brand with that experience, give us a $10 to $20 gift card. Then when an user spends chooses to buy the Reebok gift, he's shown a tremendous amount of intent. Quality of user is orders of magnitudes higher than traditional advertising."

4) Advertiser pays on cost-per-click (CPC) basis, meaning Pocket Change doesn't handle the products or buy them from the advertisers. Rather, the advertiser (or brand) pays each time a person clicks on a link to redeem their rewards. The average CPC is75 cents vs 25 cent to 35 cents on other networks, said Mir.

Watch the video to learn more about Pocket Change.  


Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs