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Understanding Rewards Effectiveness: Q&A With Dr. Diego Garaialde

Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
3 min read
Posted on May 02, 2022

How can app developers and publishers think about rewarding their users with a positive experience? And for those that use rewarded ad units, how can they be effectively implemented? 

To help answer these questions, we recently sat down with Dr. Diego Garaialde, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at University College Dublin. In this 36-minute interview, we chatted about how digital platforms can persuade and dissuade users to complete certain actions, and how publishers and developers should be thinking about how people are using their apps and websites. 

Top Tips from Dr. Diego Garaialde 

Here’s a small snippet of what research completed by him and others has uncovered: 

  • Many users would rather see their name on a leaderboard than receive a small monetary award. 
  • It’s important for apps to promote snacking behavior – if a game or app is too addicting, someone will be in the platform for a long time and then become habituated to it and not want to open it again for a long time afterwards. 
  • The closer someone is to the end of a task or game, the more motivated they are to complete it. 
  • Providing training on app usage is crucial at the beginning right after it is downloaded. Users want to have agency, and they will like an app if they understand how it works and what they can do to make it successful. 
  • Rewards need to be offered very soon after an action is completed. If someone receives a reward many minutes after the rewarded action is finished, the reward won’t seem as valuable or as worthwhile to the user. 
  • Having ads appear as soon as someone logs in is more likely to discourage app users from logging in. Instead, educate users on the benefits of ads (specifically rewarded ads) before introducing them. 
  • For ads in particular, the reward offered (like extra lives, in-game currency, etc.) should be seen as more valuable than what the user is giving up in exchange for watching the ads, namely time. 
  • Rewards are generally most valuable early on in an interaction/login. 
  • It’s key to be transparent with users and to let them know what’s happening in the app or platform. When users understand how the app is working holistically, they’re more likely to buy in and be a happy user in the long run. On the flip side, if they later on feel like they were lied to or that key details were not made clear at the beginning, they are likely to become angry and churn. 

Top Quotes 

About The Interviewer 

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices. 

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