After dipping its toes into lock screen charity donations in August, Locket will now let its users choose the next few charities it will feature.
Locket initially launched with the goal of putting ads on Android smartphone lock screens, opening up new screen territory for advertisers while also giving you a cut of the profit. With Locket Cares, the company let users donate their earnings to the LA charity Free Arts for Abused Children, an effort that led to more than $3,000 in donations.
Now the company is launching “My Locket Cares,” which will let its more than 200,000 users vote on their favorite charities to feature on Locket’s platform. Locket saw a big response from a similar initiative to let users vote on their favorite brands, and it says it expects an even bigger response for this charity initiative.
Locket’s users will soon see ads on their home screens promoting the new My Locket Cares program, and from there they’ll be taken to a site to suggest and vote on their favorite charities. Locket will add the top three charities to its platform on November 15 (assuming they accept, of course).
While mobile ad firms struggle with the best way to monetize smartphone screens, Locket may have struck gold with its impulse to focus on the smart screen with attractive, magazine-like ads.
Yunha Kim, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, tells me that Locket’s users have taken to Snapchatting their lock screen ads and sharing them with friends. Locket is delivering more than 8 million ad impressions a day, and Kim says it’s seeing a surprisingly high click-through rate of 4 percent (significantly higher than online banner ads, which typically see CTRs of around 0.25 percent).
“The types of users we drive to these advertisers, they tell us that they’re higher quality,” Kim said. “These users are there not because of the money … but because they like unlocking their phone and seeing a cool pic, or discovering a new product.”
Locket recently brought on Charity Sabater, the former head of U.S. sales at Candy Crush maker King.com, to lead its sales team. It has raised $600,000 in seed funding so far.
The New York City-based company also moved its engineering team to San Francisco, due to the difficulty of finding engineering talent in NYC. (Locket is renting out an apartment in San Francisco to house some of the engineers and serve as its West Coast base, just like it’s doing with a large apartment in NYC.)
“Our next steps are towards making these things on the lock screen add value for you,” Kim told me. “Like showing cool cafes and restaurants near you, or showing the weather and breaking news.”
Locket may have just started out offering lock screen ads, but soon it could be powering all of your lock screen content.