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You can now book advertising in the student app Jodel - we'll reveal what it costs

According to StudiVZ, can a German digital platform even reach a critical size in a world now dominated by GAFA? The Jodel app from Berlin has evidently built up a lot of popularity over the past two years, at least among students, and is reminiscent of the early days of many other, now large, social platforms. Now Jodel wants to start making money. OMR is showing the first advertising formats, researching conditions and talking to the founder about the monetization strategy.

Jodel users who access the so-called picture feed in the app have been shown advertising for the first time in the past few weeks. On the Jodel home screen, users are shown a mixed feed of the latest text and image posts from their city. Only by tapping and swiping up a picture post do users reach the picture feed, in which pictures are displayed in portrait format over the full area. The advertisements are also shown there in full screen size. A button labeled “More Ads” leads the user to the landing page of the respective advertiser. An explanatory video from a marketing partner of Jodel shows a ticket advertisement for FC Köln as an example.

Gross reach of 1.7 million users

Sky and Spotify were among the first customers OMR saw advertisements from within the app. Both are promoting their paid streaming offers; Spotify offers students a discounted product. The Nuremberg agency Varifast was responsible for the Sky campaign with the media agency Mediacom. Varifast specializes in the target group schoolchildren and students and offers other advertising customers the booking of campaigns with Jodel on the agency website.

Sky uses these creatives to advertise Sky Ticket within Jodel (Images: Varifast)

Information about the potential range and the conditions can be found in the yodel media data available to OMR. The Picture Feed records almost 1.7 million users a month across countries. Most of them (720,000) surprisingly come from Saudi Arabia; the number of German users is 650,000 users per month. In all other countries, the range of the Picture Feed is in the five-digit range. The users viewed an average of 18 images per session. The target group is young: 70 percent of users should be between 18 and 24 years old.

Entry barrier: five-digit

In view of the minimum costs, yodel campaigns are currently unlikely to be an option for all advertisers: According to the media data, a campaign with a duration of four weeks costs 65,000 euros; It is also possible to book a two-week campaign for 32,500 euros. Each user is only shown the respective ad once.

Alessio Borgmeyer (Photo: Jodel)

The yodel operators had already announced experiments with advertisements for their users in the official company blog on March 7th. At the request of OMR, Jodel founder Alessio Borgmeyer confirmed that further formats are planned. “What you saw was the first, very simple format - simple feed advertising. The creatives were tailored to yodel, but not local. And actually, with Jodel, we want to connect users locally with one another. In this respect, we will go even more in this direction in terms of marketing in the future. ”Last June, Borgmeyer had not ruled out selling location data to Handelsblatt in June. Is it conceivable that Jodel will introduce a self-booking tool for advertisers based on the model of Google and Facebook in the near future? “Well possible,” said Borgmeyer in an interview with OMR.

USP: Anonymous jokes

The basic concept of Jodel differs significantly from previous social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Because in the app, users can only post completely anonymously - there are no profile pages or user names at all. It is mainly jokes that users post on Jodel. An arbitrarily selected, current example from Hamburg: "It's funny that vegetarians always need an extra sausage." In addition, the users report on experiences from their everyday life ("can you please stop distracting me. I'm trying to learn #real # Doesn't distract me now ”), or snapshots as a picture.

The other users can comment on the posts as well as "up-" or "downvote" and thus influence their visibility in the feed. After opening the app, the users are in the chronologically ordered “Latest” feed, two further tabs allow switching to the feeds of the most commented and the “loudest”, ie the most “upvoted” posts. Only posts from users in the same city are shown in the feeds.

From Mannis, Paulans and Lörressen

Since the app was launched in Aachen in October 2014, a separate community with its own language has developed around Jodel. Posts are called "Jodel", the author of a post, for example, is called "OJ", ie "Original Jodler" (possibly based on the "OP" for "Original Poster", which is also used on Reddit). If the community suspects that an “OJ” has just made up the incident described in his “Yodel”, he is accused of being a “Paulaner” (alluding to the “Stories from the Paulaner Garden” in the advertising of the brewery of the same name). Cats are called "Gadse" on yodel, dogs are accordingly "Bellgadse" and bus drivers are "Mannis".

In view of the student target group, which traditionally tends to be promiscuous, it is hardly surprising that sex is also a big topic at Jodel. The male sex organ here is called "Lörres", the female accordingly "Mörres". Because users were more likely to post explicit selfies, Jodel allegedly flew out of Apple's app store before. Since then, the operators have had each posted picture individually checked in India before it goes online in the app, as Borgmeyer once reported at a start-up scene event.

How attractive can yodel be for advertisers?

Can an environment between naked pictures and jokes be attractive for advertisers? Snapchat - for comparison - may not (yet?) Have the same relevance as Facebook as an advertising platform, but the platform has at least succeeded in emancipating itself to some extent from the image of the nude pictures app. The target group of Instagram is likely to be as young as that of Jodel, but the environment on Facebook's picture platform is much more valuable. As OMR founder Philipp Westermeyer showed in his keynote "State of the German Internet 2018", this environment means that products can be sold on Instagram at a significantly higher price than, for example, on Amazon.

The yodel community is said to have counted 1.5 million users last August, as the operators told FAZ at the time. Obviously the number of users has increased again. If the number of picture feed users alone is 1.7 million, the number of all users should be even higher. Jodel does not offer advertisers really granular segmentation options: The targeting options are limited to the data that the users disclose themselves during registration and use: country, city, device, date, time and demographics (“middle school, high school, student , employee, apprentice ").

Does the leap out of the core target group succeed?

How attractive a relatively unsegmented reach is in a target group that, at least according to the cliché, has little financial means will also have to be shown. Apparently Jodel wants to attract more users from other target groups in the future. "We have more and more users from the young professionals sector," said founder Alessio Borgmeyer on the phone to OMR. So far, user acquisition has been largely organic, says Borgmeyer. "Almost everything is based on Word-of-Mouth and is ... I'll say: cannot be attributed."

An important instrument in this context is likely to be the Jodel Facebook page, which currently has 1.1 million fans. There, the yodel operators share the funniest and most exciting stories that their users share on the platform - including a link to the thread in the app. The FAZ has collected some of the most amazing stories in its article on yodelling.

Viral reach with yodel content on Facebook

Whether the events described there really took place or are “Paulaner” cannot be traced from the outside. One thing is certain: Even in times of declining organic reach, the yodel posts on Facebook sometimes have reactions in the five-digit range and shares in the three-digit range.

There are also various other Facebook pages on the subject of yodelling with names such as "Best of Jodel", which also collect and post funny yodels and have up to six-digit fan numbers, as well as local yodel pages. The page “Best of Jodel - Hannover”, for example, is followed by 12,000 fans. According to Borgmeyer, the yodel operators themselves are solely responsible for the main page on Facebook - all the others are operated by community members or resourceful viral publishers who want to build a cheap reach with virally tested yodelling content.

Six million US dollars in funding, including from the Quora founder

So far, Jodel has financed itself primarily with investor money. In June of last year, the startup claimed to have raised six million US dollars in funding. In addition to well-known German investors such as the Samwer brothers with Global Founders Capital and the Soundcloud founder Christoph Maire, Adam D’Angelo, first CTO of Facebook and later founder of the question-and-answer portal Quora, is also said to have given money.

After almost three and a half years, Jodel now has to prove that the app can last and earn money over the long term. Comparable platforms in the USA have had major problems recently. The US app Yikyak, of which Jodel was, at least initially, a nearly 100 percent copy, ceased operations in April 2017. Previously, according to Techcrunch, Yikyak had raised $ 73 million in funding and is said to have been valued at nearly $ 400 million at weddings. Before hiring, payment service provider Square took on the Yikyak development team for $ 1 million. The Secret app, which users could also use to post anonymously, was discontinued in April 2015. Only the Whisper app was able to assert itself from the ranks of "anonymous platforms" and last June, compared to Fastcompany, put the number of its monthly active users at 30 million.