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Rewarded video ads are a popular way to boost app engagement and increase user retention. They’re also the most favored advertising format for gamers who want to make in-game progress. But along with improving gamers’ in-app experiences, rewarded video ads are powerful for advertisers and publishers. So they’re a win-win-win option for all.
If you’re a developer, publisher, or advertiser, this comprehensive review of rewarded video ads is for you. With the benefits of better retention and engagement on offer, you’ll want to understand how this format works before considering how it could benefit you and your campaigns. Plus, finish up by reviewing our comprehensive list of dynamic companies that you could approach for support in this area.
According to the IAB, over 80% of users prefer this advertising format. It’s also the most popular advertising format for game developers. To stand out from the competition, marketers should consider building user experience into their rewarded video strategy. This should start with a focus on audience identification. Then, appropriate targeting to ensure ads are well placed as part of the user experience.
Types of ads displayed in a game – By genre
Because users can only claim their rewards when they watch an entire ad until the end, advertisers can glean many benefits from rewarded video ads. Users have to watch entire ads to the end to get their rewards. For example, Sydney-based game developers Not Doppler maximized engagement through well-placed ‘double-rewards’ variable ads in their game – ‘Earn to Die 2’. And this led them to a 38% higher than average engagement rate after implementation.
Users are more willing to watch videos in their entirety when they know they’ll get a reward for it. And since they’re a user-initiated format, video rewards are non-skippable. This offers significant value for advertisers looking to increase their visibility and gain new users.
Increased ad revenues
With a boost to In-App Purchases, higher usage, and better retention, rewarded video ads have the potential to boost revenues by over a third. For example, when Avid.ly introduced rewarded video ads into one of its games, users bought in-app items almost 20% more often. Plus, total revenues grew by 40%.
How can you increase rewarded video ads revenue?
By offering users a reward in return for watching a full-screen video ad, marketers create a value exchange that enables the monetizing of rewarded video ads. When users know the reward they’ll receive, for instance, in-app currency to progress with their game, they’ll need to agree to the terms outlined. After they’ve completed watching the video for the allotted time, they’ll need to then pick up their reward.
The US holds the largest market share for rewarded video ads. To help illustrate current rates, we’ve split out some average eCPMs you could expect to pay across Android and iOS.
Average eCPMs on Android and iOS (US)
Android - eCPMs on Rewarded video ads
iOS - Average eCPMs on Rewarded video ads
Average Android eCPM - $10.16
Average iOS eCPM - $16.33
Facebook - $22.62
Facebook - £32.32
AdMob - $13.46
AdMob - $15.12
BidMachine - $13.57
BidMachine - $13.57
Rewarded video ads best practices
Successful video ads tend to show some of the following attributes during high-performance campaigns:
Prioritize ad placement: Successful ads will enhance gameplay through strategic placement and avoid distracting users or interfering with their experience.
Reward gamers with in-game tips: Gamers want to find ways to progress through a game or enhance their experience. And great ads offer help or tips on gameplay which will encourage them to stay around for longer.
Mediate ads from third-party users: Users get put off if they see too many ads flying around. Successful marketers include ads from third parties but make sure they don’t interfere with gameplay or activity.
Offer users a surprise or unexpected rewards: Users who didn’t expect to get a chance to claim a reward during gameplay are more likely to come back and stay for longer.
Use advertising filters: As an integral part of their in-game playability, users also expect to receive relevant offers. So advertisers often use filters to understand their target audience before designing their rewards.
How can you run successful rewarded video ads?
So, it’s clear that including rewarded video ads in your app can bring you rewards. But how can you run a successful ad campaign that generates the results you want?
To give you more detail, we’ll explain how rewarded video ads work and show you the best ways to engage with them.
How do rewarded video ads work?
Users have to agree to any rules of engagement before they initiate rewarded video ads. But they must also agree to view the whole video without skipping. Once initiated, ads usually appear as unskippable, full-screen interstitials in both video ads and interactive or playable ad formats.
With this opt-in and user-friendly approach, users experience less intrusion than in other forms. For developers and advertisers, rewarded videos can apply to almost any kind of app. In general, they’re most often used in free-to-play mobile games with rewards appearing at strategic points in gameplay.
So, if you want to start showing rewarded video ads in your next campaign, consider the key points you should consider as part of your efforts:
Target your users
Advertisers should maximize the benefits of rewarded video ads by ensuring ads get in front of the right audiences. Rewarded video advertising companies can help with reviewing existing customer personas and then matching them with appropriate app developers.
To increase sales further, consider offering discounts for in-app purchases as a reward in your videos.
Impact of rewarded ads on IAP
Integrate ads smoothly
Most rewarded videos will appear in games. So, advertisers and publishers need to work together to ensure a seamless experience for the users. Rewards need to be relevant and useful to gameplay but also appear at points that won’t intrude on players’ enjoyment and experience of the game.
For example, some good ad positions can include:
Daily Rewards Multipliers: App owners can increase retention by offering more incentives in return for watching several videos per day. These multiplier ads are often best placed at the start menu or at the end of the game.
Out of Lives Ads: Games in the casual category offer users a chance to buy extra lives when they need them. And when users get the opportunity to ‘watch another video for another life’, they see ads in a more positive light. In turn, this can lead to higher retention scores.
Out of Action/One More Try Ads: This is a good option if your app game isn’t based on the need for more lives. Ads should give players the chance to reset and try again without losing any progress made up to that point.
Booster Ads: App developers can gain higher engagement rates by placing ads during critical points of gameplay or during app interactions where they’re needed most.
Use static end cards
Advertisers tend to gain higher engagement rates when they add static end cards to video ads. Users get to see what’s on offer and URLs are clickable. Make sure any video formats support the use of static end cards.
What are the challenges of working with rewarded video ads?
Some areas to think about when running rewarded ads include the following:
Could be seen as inauthentic
Some skeptics see rewards ads as disingenuous. Often, they assume users are only engaging with them to get their prize and will ignore the ads. But studies suggest this isn’t the case and rewarded ads may even increase conversions. This may be because of the mutual agreement made between each party.
Restricted to in-app only
Rewarded ads are only available in apps. Marketers may have to consider the customer experience and user journey if they do want consistency with desktop users.
Why should you partner with rewarded video ads companies?
As you’ve seen in the guide so far, rewarded video ads have a long list of benefits that result in win-win-win scenarios for developers, advertisers, and users. So why would you need to engage with a rewarded video ad company then?
Whether you’re a publisher or advertiser, you’ll gain huge benefits by working with a company. Some of the more vital aspects you may want to look out for when reviewing our list of some of the best rewarded video ads companies include:
Broad expertise in the effective placement of rewarded video ads
Scalability, providing advertisers with appropriate access to developers and vice versa
Integration with in-app stores, boosting IAPs in the process
Audience targeting and segmenting strategies that gain appropriate engagement
Innovative ads designed to enhance creative execution
Higher retention and engagement levels
Increased revenues of between 20-40%
So, have a review of our complete list of rewarded video ad companies and discover for yourself how they could support your app marketing needs.
Made for growth, built for app marketers.
At RevX, we help app businesses acquire and re-engage users via programmatic advertising to retain and accelerate revenue. We\'re all about taking your app business to the next growth level!
We help you build sound mobile strategies, combining programmatic UA, app re-engagement, and performance branding to drive the results you need to scale your business: with real users, high retention, and incremental revenue.
The Smaato platform also supports OTT and CTV, native advertising, interactive video, and rewarded video, in addition to standard display ad units.
Smaato’s digital ad tech platform is a completely omnichannel, self-serve monetization solution and free ad server all in one. Smaato gives publishers unparalleled controls to make monetization simple. Publishers can bring their first-party data and manage all inventory in one place. Marketers get access to the highest-quality inventory so they can reach audiences around the world and on any device. Headquartered in San Francisco, Smaato is part of Verve Group, a Media and Games Invest (MGI) company, with additional offices in Hamburg, New York, Beijing, and Singapore.
Mobile platforms: Android, IOS, Mobile, Windows Phone
Campaign types: CPC
Ad formats supported: Banners
Targeting: country, publisher, app, ad format, device, connection type, GPS data, device ID
Smadex is the mobile-first programmatic DSP engineered for growth.
We are a technology company led by engineering and data science, focused on uprising the global mobile programmatic landscape through our ad tech solutions.
Using a combination of our own programmatic advertising technology, machine learning, and first-party data, we have over a decade partnering with apps, brands and performance marketers to achieve their growth goals.
We take transparency very seriously. To guarantee our fully transparent platform remains that way, Smadex programmatic partners with the leading third-party platforms to provide innovative solutions and independent measurement at the very core of our service.
Bidease is a mobile DSP platform for mobile marketers. Its built on a foundation of proprietary programmatic advertising technology, Machine Learning, and first party data. Bidease team optimizes campaigns across all major mobile formats for desired post-install behaviors at no risk to its clients’ bottom line.
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
Campaign types: CPI, CPA, CPM
Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Rewarded Video, Video
Targeting: Carrier, Device, Gender, Geo, Interests, IP, OS
Huawei has a rich history in the mobile and technology industry and is a leading provider of 5G infrastructure and smart phone devices and tablets. Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected intelligent world.
Kevel (previously Adzerk) is helping brands everywhere drive more online revenue through sponsored listings, internal promotions, native ads, and more. They do this by providing engineers and product managers the APIs needed to quickly build fully-customized ad servers. Their award-winning platform handles over three billion API requests each day, and it’s helped industry leaders like Yelp and Ticketmaster shorten their build times by more than 90%.
PubMaticdelivers superior revenue to publishers by being an SSP of choice for agencies and advertisers. With our leading programmatic mobile advertising platform, publishers and app developers can leverage the open exchange as well as advanced deal models to maximize their monetization and gain access to brand budgets.
Mobile platforms: Android, IOS
Campaign types: CPA, CPC, CPI, CPL, CPM
Ad formats supported: Banners, In-App, Interstitial, Native, Rewarded Video, Rich Media, Video
Targeting: Publisher, Geo, Audience Segment, Ad Format, Platform, Domain / App, Viewability
Appreciate is a mobile app marketing platform running sixty billion daily auctions and enabling marketers to take control of their programmatic ecosystem. In addition to extremely granular targeting, buyers have unconditional transparency at the exchange