Rewarded Video Ads: Beyond Gaming Apps

Rewarded video ads have shown strong growth year-over-year on the Smaato platform, and the trend is catching on outside gaming apps. This ad format allows the advertisers and app publishers to give something back, which makes it a favorite among users who receive a reward for their attention. On the buy-side, demand for rewarded video stock grows as more functionality and brand marketers learn of the effectiveness of the popular ad format.

What Are Rewarded Video Ads?
Rewarded video ads offer users the chance to opt-in to watching a full-screen, non-skippable video ad in exchange for an in-app reward. For gaming apps, the reward usually comes in the form of an item that gives the player a boost from the game (e.g., additional coins, extra lives, new degrees, special tools, or objects). For non-gaming apps, incentives could differ from access to premium content, a free trial, or any other kinds of free top-level feature for a limited time period.

For the User

Rewarded video allows the users have control over their experience inside the app, because of the ability to choose when to watch a movie ad. In return, they can enjoy premium in-app content in exchange for their participation. One survey showed that 80% of consumers think rewarded video provides a positive user experience.


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For Your Publisher
Since rewarded video ads offer some of the highest eCPMs out of all video ad formats, apps leveraging this format may generate some significant revenue. The average eCPM for rewarded video is about 2.5X greater when compared with other video ad formats on the Smaato platform.

For the Advertiser
Rewarded video ads are highly viewable and non-skippable, so they are a wonderful way to have a message in front of an audience. They draw more attention and interest from the users compared to other ad formats, due to their hierarchical nature as well as the reward that necessarily comes after engaging with it.

It’s clear that this ad format is adopted by gambling publishers because of its smooth integration within that environment. When thinking about implementing rewarded video at a non-gaming app, app developers have to recognize certain moments where the consumer would want to acquire a boost or benefit, in addition to figure out what a suitable reward is. The ideal reward is one that provides value to your users and at exactly the same time encourages them to spend more time in the app. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand what they want or what they need more of. We have put together four illustrations below to get you started with some thoughts.

  1. Offer Your Premium Product
    In case you’ve paid attributes contained in your app, let users unlock the premium version in return for watching a rewarded video. Using the example of a music streaming app, you could offer users a rewarded video ad in exchange for a period of ad-free listening or playing.

2.Earn Virtual Currency to Unlock Paid Features
Did you know that less than 5% of app users make in-app purchases each month? By offering users a choice to experience paid attributes, you are providing the user with a positive experience which in return increases user retention and session time. The benefit, in this instance, could be a virtual currency that can be used to unlock certain features. By way of instance, within a photo editing app, users can collect credits to unlock a filter or editing tool. For a fitness app, users could unlock new exercises or additional tracking functionalities.

  1. Help Users Retain Their User-Level
    If your app doesn’t have premium features built-in, you can still recognize an existing or new feature that you can offer to your users in exchange for viewing a rewarded video ad. For example, in a cooking app, users can begin building their user level from beginner to chef by logging into the app. Each successive day they log in counts towards their points, and if they miss a day, they have to start over again. This would be an opportunity to employ rewarded video ads to allow your customers return their previous user level.

4.Create a Rewarded Video Wall
If your app is also available in a premium version, you could still award the user with a limited selection of attributes from the superior version. Pick a premium feature you want to offer and limit the number of videos that are rewarded that your users can watch within a particular period of time to make certain that the reward doesn’t lose its appeal. For instance, within a paper app based on a subscription model, the reward for the user could be getting three additional free articles for watching a movie.

Regardless of which category your app belongs to, you are very likely to find a way to implement rewarded video on your app monetization strategy. As a non-gaming app, you might find yourself struggling to find the perfect value for the incentives that you wish to offer your users. Calculate the perfect balance between the consumer’s interest along with your own. The reward just needs to be attractive enough for the consumer to opt-in and just unique enough to have the user continuously come back for more — all without affecting your premium app sales. If you’re not certain what works for your app, try out different rewards and strategies to identify which is best.

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