SNW INTERVIEW -- Apr 18 -- Offerpal Media has recently raised $15 million in a second round of funding to continue developing its platform for generating money from social applications via advertising offers. Offerpal Media’s platform monetizes social traffic by enabling users to earn points or other types of virtual currencies in exchange for taking part in advertising offers such as free trials, online surveys, big-brand discounts and more. Here is our interview with Offerpal CEO, Anu Shukla.
Can you tell us more about Offerpal? How does it work?
Offerpal Media provides a managed offer platform for social web properties like social networks, social applications, virtual worlds, online games and even mobile applications to monetize their virtual currency while driving high-quality leads and high-value customers to online advertisers.
What are your top 3 offers right now? What is monetizing the best?
We have 2 types of offers. It’s either a soft offer that doesn’t require a credit card, or a hard offer that does require a credit card. In the soft offer category, market research surveys work really well. In the hard offers category, subscriptions to game rentals like Game Fly or movies like Netflix are working really well.
Could you walk us through the end user experience?
Let’s say you are playing poker, for example. You can acquire the poker chips by either using a credit card, or you can take an advertising offer which will reward you with chips. So you might want to apply to Netflix and that might be worth a couple of hundred chips, or you might fill out a survey which would be worth 50 chips, and that’s exactly how it works. Once you accept an offer, we would credit you the chips into your poker account so you can continue playing.
Who came up with the idea?
Offerpal co-founder Mitch Liu and myself came up with the idea. We actually built an application where friends could help friends by participating in offers so they could donate money to their favorite or personal cause. We decided to make our back end available to a variety of other applications. That took off and was so successful that we actually never launched our own application.
What would you say is your favorite or most unusual use of Offerpal?
People use our application to get a free piece of software, clothes for their avatar in a virtual world, poker chips and dating as well.
What we sometimes find surprising is how much money people are willing to pay. For example, there is an application where you buy and sell your friends. We’ve had some players, mostly from the Middle East, that want to spend $15,000 or $20,000 to buy a whole bunch of friends. So rather than unusual users, we’ve seen unreal amounts of transaction value coming through.
Have you worked with any internet dating companies as well?
Yes. PerfectMatch.com has been an advertiser with us for some time. Also we work with the HotOrNot, Owned! and Friends For Sale applications.
If an internet dating company came to you and said we want more customers, how would you be able to help them?
We would make them an offer in our system, and registration to their site would be worth a certain amount of virtual currency in our 1000 publishers. I think we could get them thousands of new registrants pretty quickly. We could also target this very effectively. So they could tell us “we’re looking for more women or for people over 21” and we would know exactly where to find those people.
What tricks have you found for making sure that the advertisers receive more high converting traffic?
What we have is a lot of validation into the submissions for registration, for example, and a lot of work that we do in the offer instructions themselves. Also our back end optimization technology will serve up offers only to users that qualify. Then lastly, we have a feedback loop from the advertiser where they will return leads to us saying this was a bad address or a bad phone number and we’ll be taking some corrective action if that happens.
What kind of fraud control do you have in place?
We discovered the hard way that fraud actually does occur. We have a variety of encryption and fraud management tools in place along with a manual review so we can make sure the people aren’t gaming the system.
How can an internet dating company or perhaps even a major brand work with you?
They can work with us two ways: as an advertiser or as a publisher. If they’re looking for more subscribers, they can have an offer in our system and we can find the right consumer match for them. If they have traffic which they want to monetize, then we can provide our system so that they can make our offers available to their consumers.
What kind of traffic are you generating at this stage?
We support 1,000 publishers. Our reach is about 50 million consumers, primarily US based (80%). We have about 7 to 8 million monthly active users on our system and the demographics range from 15 – 50 (52% women and 48% men).