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Pontiflex offers what it calls 'a new kind of digital advertising' - sign up ads, with the aim of letting users choose to receive more relevant advertising.
I've been asking CEO & co-Founder Zephrin Lasker about Pontiflex...
In one sentence, what is Pontiflex?
Pontiflex powers a new kind of digital advertising called signup ads— ads where people opt in to hear from brands and organizations they like without leaving the mobile app or website they’re on.
What problem does Pontiflex solve?
In today’s digital world, people are inundated with irrelevant advertising. Pontiflex signup ads put people in control of the ads that they want to see. With Pontiflex signup ads, people are able to select which ads they want to receive.
What’s more, people interact with mobile advertising that is completely respectful of user experience with Pontiflex signup ads. Take the example of mobile signup ads. Today, a large portion of mobile app advertising dollars are based on clicks.
However, clicks take the user out of the app to a clunky browser and just don’t work in a mobile world. According to a 2010 Harris Interactive Study, nearly half of U.S. adults say they click on ads more often by mistake than on purpose. This means that almost half of mobile advertising dollars are wasted.
With Pontiflex signup advertising, marketers can run relevant in-app ads. People can opt-in to ads and continue interacting with the app. Signup ads work on a CPL pricing model and advertisers pay only for valid signups, never for wasted clicks.
Signup ads work off a CPL pricing model. Advertisers can run signup ads across top apps and websites and pay only for signups — never for wasted clicks or impressions. They can finally run accountable mobile ad campaigns.
App developers keep people in the app and make real money by running mobile signup ads with Pontiflex AppLeads. People choose the advertising they want to see and stay within the app. Signup ads make for a win-win-win situation.
When and why did you launch it?
Roshan Bangera and Geoff Grauer and I founded Pontiflex in 2008 because they wanted to start a technology company that helps marketers connect to people and serve ads to relevant users.
Pontiflex was founded as a data transfer company.
The founders recognized that there was a need in the marketplace to connect publishers with advertisers for CPL campaigns and to be able to transfer user data in a 100% opt-in and privacy compliant way. The company later added a business layer on top of the data transfer technology.
This gave advertisers the ability to run CPL campaigns with the same degree of ease and control as they would a search advertising campaign.
Who is your target audience?
All our technology development at Pontiflex is focused on helping people stay in control of their digital experience. The results of this user-focused approach speak for themselves - last year, over 20m people signed up for advertising via Pontiflex signup ads, and this year, we estimate that 35m people will sign up for advertising through the platform.
As more users continue to opt in to brands via signup ads, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of advertisers and developers. Currently, over 300 major brands, hundreds of small businesses and thousands of app developers and publishers use the Pontiflex signup ads platform.
In addition, nearly every major Email Service Provider (ESP) partners with Pontiflex to help their clients replenish their lists in a 100% opt-in way.
What are your immediate goals?
This year, we estimate that 35m people will opt in to advertising using the Pontiflex signup ads platform. By the end of the year, more than half of these people will sign up via our mobile app advertising platform. Our immediate goal is to continue to build out our unique technology to support this explosive growth.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building Pontiflex?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a fundamental shift in the online advertising landscape—from impression-focused advertising to people-focused advertising. Marketers don’t want to buy mere impressions, rather they want to connect with real people, so that they can speak to them in a meaningful and relevant way.
Google helped move the market from impressions to clicks, and signup ads will help take this evolution to actual users. As with any disruptive technology, our biggest challenge initially was to educate the market that there was a new way of doing advertising.
Today over 300 brands and thousands of app developers work with us. They are telling our story for us, so market education has ceased to be a challenge.
How will the company make money?
Be it Facebook, Groupon or Living Social, user-focused companies are prospering in a social world. This year, more than three times the number of people will use the Pontiflex signup ads platform as compared to say, Foursquare.
As more advertisers and app developers adopt the Pontiflex platform, we’ll continue to grow.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
We have a technology-focused leadership team. This technology mindset extends to our entire team, we even have members of our sales team who watch Star Trek on a regular basis.
I have been in the online marketing industry since the beginning and founded Pontiflex because I wanted to do something fresh: help companies connect with people who actually want to hear from them.
I successfully launched two start-ups prior to Pontiflex: The North Road Group, an interactive agency, and Beautility, an e-commerce company, as well as working as Vice President of Business Development at i33 Communications and at Commerce One Global Services, managing Sprint’s new web initiatives.
CIO/COO Geoffrey Grauer handles all the complex stuff and makes it look easy. He oversees the short-term execution and long-term development of data transfer, security, distributed computing and operations. And he does it all without breaking a sweat.
Prior to Pontiflex he worked at Amazon.com, where he handled automation, security, web operations and data warehousing. Throughout his career, Geoff has lived and worked throughout Asia, including Tokyo, India and Hong Kong.
CTO Roshan Bangera makes everything happen. One of the first things he did after starting Pontiflex was design and build our innovative AdLeads platform, which makes it easy for companies to run CPL campaigns.
Now he oversees all of our software development, and works hard to make our front-end system even more ruthlessly efficient. Before founding Pontiflex, Roshan was Senior Software Engineer at i33 Communications, where he led large-scale web development projects and constructed bridges to connect clients and their data.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?
Because of their ability to deliver relevant, in-app advertising, signup ads work particularly well in mobile apps. That’s why in one year, we want these ads to be widely adopted in the mobile app advertising space.
In three years, we want every marketer, be it a Fortune 500 brand or a SMB, to add signup ads to their marketing toolbox as they look for brand safe, performance marketing.
In five years, we want to see signup ads expand from mobile, social and online media and take center stage in emerging media like interactive TV advertising.