The Jodel app is especially popular among students. During numerous lectures, the eyes wander to the smartphone and the boredom is gone: “You know you are a good student, if your decision to go to the lecture in the morning depends on the offer in the cafeteria!” – This is only one example. Meanwhile, Jodel has gained many followers and is used in typical German student cities like Münster and Göttingen.

The app was developed in 2014 already; but only at the end of last year it achieved the breakthrough. The idea behind Jodel is that students can exchange news and information about upcoming events. So far, the app is popular especially in Germany, Scandinavia, parts of Western Europe and Saudi Arabia. Five million posts per day are published on Jodel. In 2015, the platform cracked the magic mark of one million users which has multiplied in the meantime. However, Alessio Avellan Borgmeyer, the founder of the app, is not willing to reveal by how much exactly.

Now the United States are about to be infected with the Jodel virus as well. For this purpose, the start-up received six million dollars from investors in the Silicon Valley and plans the US-expansion. This is remarkable, because until now all successful social media platforms have been developed in the US. This could be the breakthrough for a social network from Germany. In particular, because the American competitor YikYak – which also offered a platform for anonymous communication – has been suspended several months ago.

But how is Jodel actually financed? This question is still unanswered. According to Borgmeyer, the platform concentrates on “winning new and good users” for now. The founder believes that relevant posts of users will lead to new users. The monetarization will be a topic for the future. Location-based advertisements could be a conceivable option. However, the exact strategy for the future is still not clear. In any case Jodel should remain free of charge, said Borgmeyer.

How does the app work?
As a user, you can publish short texts which can be read within a 10 kilometers radius. These texts can be commented and rated; the most popular entries are shown first. The Jodel activity is measured in form of karma points which can rise and fall. Moreover, older posts disappear after a certain period of time, because they are replaced by new ones. In this way, nothing lasts forever on Jodel. The app is anonymous and regionally limited. Therefore, other topics will be discussed in comparison to Facebook or Twitter. Furthermore, news and tips are exchanged and widespread. The goal of the platform is to make the content stand out rather than the person.

No problem with insults and racism
Social networks are often affected by racial and insulting comments. The anonymity of the app could be a problem as well, because you don’t know who the person behind the posts is. With the help of the downvotes, the evil comments are disappearing quickly though. Also, so-called moderators take care of a peaceful social interaction between the users by deleting bad comments and tracking these messages.

Obvious advertising is forbidden
Besides jokes, questions about numerous possibilities for going-out, the next police control and a lot of stories from our daily lives, you can find surreptitious advertising on Jodel, too. Events and current activities are communicated and by doing this, visitors and customers can be attracted. Important is the territoriality, which needs to be within a range of 10 kilometers. Conventional advertisement is not allowed, because it disagrees with the idea of anonymity. Companies should not represent themselves too obviously; it can lead to rejection and downvotes on the side of the users. Therefore, advertisers should post in a way that users don’t perceive it as obvious advertising.

In the future, Jodel is likely to gain even more users worldwide. Companies and advertisers already try to get a direct, anonymous contact to potential customers through the platform. However, from a marketing perspective, it is important that advertisement posts are not too obvious, so that they don’t annoy the users. Information on local events or locations is conceivable. Especially because of the locally limited communication, the app offers possibilities for guerilla marketing. Whether the platform will be and stay interesting for advertisers on the long run, remains to be seen.

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