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SessionM is redefining mobile advertising with customer rewards

Users are encouraged to interact with adverts, with their engagement being rewarded

The company currently works with over 1,000 app developers

CNN  — 

When it comes to advertising on mobile devices, banner ads and pop-ups are the norm. But for Boston-based company SessionM, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

Lars Albright co-founded the organization in 2011 with business partners Mark Herrman and Scott Weller. The company aims to flip mobile advertising on its head by allowing users to interact with apps and adverts, and then rewarding consumers for engaging.

CNN spoke with Albright to find out how SessionM is changing the nature of advertising on mobile.

CNN: How does SessionM work?

Lars Albright: The way it works is that the core software is getting integrated into a whole host of different applications. So it can be sports, news, weather, games. And with that base of applications that we have that gives us access to millions of users, we’re then able to deliver very, very targeted advertising and affective advertising to those users.

CNN: How do these rewards appear on-screen for users?

LA: What it generally looks like, is you have a program where someone reaches an engagement milestone, like you’ve checked in for the day or you shared content with a friend or you’ve watched a video and a little message will pop-up and say, congratulations you’ve unlocked this achievement. And that achievement is something they can choose to claim at that time. Or they can ignore and claim later.

Once they claim the achievement the loyalty layer comes full screen and they have a chance to then get congratulated by a sponsor and then they can go in and browse our store front the actual rewards they want to choose. And you can take your points and apply them for a sweepstakes, you can give to generate clean water, or get a Starbucks gift card.

CNN: You previously worked in Apple’s mobile advertising unit before transitioning to your own start-up. How did you make customers see the innovative potential in SessionM?

LA: When you’re truly doing something new, there’s the advantage that you may be one of the few players that’s doing something like this. But the challenge is that you have to educate the market and share your vision with the market.

For us, part of it was just being really tenacious and persistent with getting our first customers to sign on and really and really saying or pitching that this was a chance for them to be a first, to be innovative as an organization and to be cutting edge on what’s new and what’s gonna work.