Article-saving app company Pocket is finally starting to pick up revenue through advertising. In a blog post today the company announced that it’s beginning to display sponsored posts in the app, which works on web browsers, Mac desktops, and multiple mobile platforms.
But Pocket wants to be smart about this, so it won’t be taking just any ad that a company might submit.
“Pocket is a place for high-quality content and sponsored posts are no exception to this,” Pocket founder and chief executive Nate Weiner wrote in a blog post. “Our aim is that these posts, and the content within them, will feel natural to your Pocket experience, and will also be things you’re interested in reading and watching to boot.”
These sponsored posts will be clearly marked as such, and users will be able to hide content they don’t like and provide feedback to Pocket, Weiner wrote. And people who pay for the premium tier of the app won’t see these sponsored posts at all, he wrote. The sponsored posts may appear in different places, including a user’s List of saved articles, according to a frequently asked questions page on sponsored posts.
This is a big turning point for Pocket, which has built up a major following over the years as a free service for saving articles to read later. It’s almost as big as the launch of the premium tier back in 2014.
Just as some media outlets have resorted to turning on paywalls in order to generate more revenue, now Pocket is going to use another widely used method. Advertising is of course a far older moneymaker than paywalls, and now Pocket will be active in this area.
At least Pocket can now boast serious user adoption. The app now has 22 million users who have saved 2 billion articles, Weiner wrote. Last year the company started recommending articles that users may have missed.
While Pocket does offer analytics tools for publishers, Weiner wrote that “no sponsor will ever have access to what you save and do inside Pocket.”
Pocket started in 2007 and announced a $7 million funding round last year.