This Mobile App Pays You for Your Selfies While Giving Custom Data to Brands

Narcissism, monetized for all

Do you want to pay for a fresh box of golf balls or to get your nails done simply by doing what you are already doing all the time? Well, Pay Your Selfie has just what you need—an app that doles out cash for your moments of mobile narcissism. 

The Chicago-based company has attracted 100,000 users since launching in September, accruing 500,000 photos from consumers, many of whom pose with brands. Here's why they selfie up with marketers: They get paid up to $1 when they upload a picture with a brand in it after Pay Your Selfie posts a request for such photos.

Unsponsored selfies—photos in which users do not snap pics with a specific product—pay just a few coins. At any rate, once their digital piggy bank (see below) gets to $20, the company will mail them a check for the amount or donate it, upon request, to their chosen charitable organization.  

What's more, brands are forking over cash to Pay Your Selfie on a per-engagement basis, taking the data and utilizing the insights to inform future marketing efforts like creative for ads and packaging for products. The lion's share of the app's users are millennials, the all-important demographic marketers are trying to target. 

Crest toothpaste and Goose Island beer are two of the early testers of the platform, and some of the results for the Procter & Gamble toothpaste brand are particularly interesting.

"What they found was that a surprising amount of people are brushing their teeth between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.," said Pay Your Selfie co-founder Kristen Holman. 

So, in theory, Crest will be able to take that information and apply it to its messaging and even digital media buying. 

Holman described what a produce client learned from her app's selfies. "They want to see if consumers are keeping fruit on the counter or in their pantry," she said. "If it's on the counter, it's part of their daily life. If it's in the pantry, it's something they bought, ate once and then probably didn't go back to."

The tech entrepreneur did however warn that Pay Your Selfie users shouldn't quit their day jobs.

"If they post two or three times a month, [over time] we are talking about $20 that they can use for a manicure," Holman said.

Meanwhile, Holman's company isn't the first digital player to offer consumers money for content. Launched in the fall of 2014, Tsu has attracted more than 5 million users while paying them an average of $63.50 a month for their posts.