Locket To Pay Users To View Ads On Phone Lock Screens
July 19, 2013

Locket Uses Lock Screen For Ad Space

Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

In an effort to grab every available pixel on your Android phone, startup Locket is using the lock screen as the next billboard. Users who sign up for the service can get paid to let their phone's lock screen run ads.

The average smartphone user checks their phone up to 150 times per day, or as often as every six minutes, according to research reported by the Daily Mail. That frequency creates a basis for advertising opportunities. When a user picks up their phone and presses the power button to wake it up, it lights up with a somewhat blank screen directing users to swipe to unlock. While many mobile phone users will put a photo on that screen, there's a big opportunity for advertisers to take over that space.

Enter Locket, a New York City-based startup operating out of a Manhattan apartment. The company has created an app that will put an ad on the lock screen. When a user wakes the phone, he will see an ad and be able to swipe to view more information, or swipe to skip the ad and use the phone. "More information" might be a landing page or company website, coupon, or even a movie trailer.

Why would someone want to opt in to such a program? Locket will pay users for viewing the ads that run on the lock screen. Rates for viewing the ads, even if users don't click through to view more information, will be one cent per swipe with a cap of three cents per hour, TechCrunch reported.

Locket plans to employ ad targeting based on social profile data or information gathered from a Locket questionnaire. That means ads should cater to a user's interests, rather than blasting aimless ads at subscribers. That, of course, means that Locket has to have a number of advertisers on board. At launch, the company has eight advertisers that rotate on the lock screen, plus a handful of house ads for Locket’s service. The company expects to have more than ten advertisers within a month and is in the process of signing on two Fortune 500 companies that have yet to be disclosed.

The lock screen is coveted screen space. Facebook has met with some criticism for its Facebook Home app that utilizes the lock screen to show friend posts and other messages. Locket is also not the first company to sell the space for ads. Among other companies looking to build similar apps is SmartAds, a company that ran a campaign on indiegogo to raise funds to create a similar program where users would be paid as much as $50 per month to view ads on their lock screen.

What is the lock screen worth to advertisers? That rate is still to be determined. Locket hopes to build to $10 CPM, and even has goals to top Flipboard's $30 CPM for its in-app, full-screen ads. "We want to be able to charge more than that because we're front of your mind, right in front of your face. Whatever you're dong, you'll see the ad on the lock screen," company co-founder Yunha Kim said, in the TechCrunch story.