• Advertising
  • In-App Monetization

Rewarded Video Ads: What All Gaming App Publishers Should Know

Sarayah Wright
5 min read
Posted on March 07, 2022

Rewarded video is a highly effective ad format that more publishers should take advantage of. Why? Well, the answer comes down to science and basic human nature. This ad format also takes advantage of the documented success of video ads in general — but more on that later.  

Rewarded video operates on value systems established between a user and a game. You want to go to the next level? Acquire more in-game currency? Get a new accessory? Rewarded video ads are the ticket for users to get what they want in a game.  

It’s a value exchange. Spend time watching an ad and tangibly reap the benefits in-game.  

Understanding The Science Behind Rewarded Video Advertising 

Nothing about this system is new. We all walk around with our own, personal reward systems in our heads every day.  

The brain’s reward system is a system of neurons, pathways and other structures that activate when we experience something rewarding. And the dopamine that’s released is what motivates us to repeat actions to experience positive feedback.  

Now there are many pathways in the brain’s reward system, but arguably the most important one is the mesolimbic dopamine pathway. As this part of the brain gets activated more and more, it encourages repeat action for a repeat experience of reward.  

And simultaneously this system communicates with the part of the brain that guides memory, meaning now we’re subconsciously remembering and learning how to continue to achieve the feeling of reward. This is something that people do naturally. 

Maybe you substituted an ingredient in a recipe that ended up tasting a thousand times better than imagined. Or maybe you have a personal goal of running a mile in under 15 minutes and then under 12 and then under 10 and so on; you get outside a few times a week until suddenly you finish your mile in record time. And you’re ecstatic, and every time a friend who knows how hard you have been working congratulates you, that feeling of pride and reward grows more and more.   

Gamification and Rewarded Video Advertising 

With this bit of information, can you see why rewarded video is such a popular ad format? Gamification is just a fancier way of applying the concept of the reward system to several activities to “harness the motivational power of games in order to promote participation, persistence and achievements.” In other words, gamification produces clear cut incentive.  

Need to boost in-app monetization? Give users something of value for engaging with an ad. 

So why wouldn’t more advertisers and publishers alike further embrace rewarded video advertising? The numbers don’t lie. 

What Gamers Think About Rewarded Video Ads 

A 2020 mobile gaming study found that mobile gamers generally prefer rewarded ads and rewarded task ads over banner and screen takeover ad formats. The study found that 54 % prefer rewarded ads while 50% of mobile gamers liked rewarded ad formats overall. (video and tasks). In comparison only 17% and 21% explicitly disliked them.  

More specifically, a 2021 study which focused on Gen Z attitudes toward rewarded ads found that 61% of respondents “enjoyed using the offerwall to complete rewarded ad offers,” with 34% completing offers daily and then 32% making purchases when interacting with rewarded ads.  

Now with mobile games, we want to encourage players to remain in-game. This means task ads, though popular, are ultimately not always to publishers’ advantage.  

We also know that mobile video advertising has been on a successful, effective climb in the last few years in terms of higher played-in view rates and completion rates.  

So this leaves us to identify rewarded ads, specifically rewarded video, as an ad format we encourage publishers to utilize as a key monetization strategy.  

So this leaves us to identify rewarded ads, specifically rewarded video, as an ad format we encourage publishers to utilize as a key monetization strategy.  

Here are three other key reasons to embrace rewarded video ads for your app:

  1. They’re user-centric: Rewarded video ads provide a value exchange with in-app audiences. They watch something and get something useful for the game in return. There’s a clear user benefit in rewarded video ads – unlike with other ad formats like banner ads.
  2. They provide higher engagement: Chances are, someone playing a game would eventually want a premium experience. Rewarded video ads provide a faster roadmap to get to that better in-game experience and enjoyment instantly. 
  3. They’re effective for monetization: Because rewarded video ads are so effective, they tend to command higher eCPMs. That means incorporating them intelligently into your app can help to significantly boost overall ad revenues. The in-app mobile rewarded video ad format combines the power of in-app mobile video advertising with the evidenced human response to rewarded experiences and incentive, and the subsequent need to repeat those positive experiences. This is likely the reason why rewarded video ads tend to have higher reengagement levels.  

Here at InMobi we can help you leverage this ad format in a way that makes sense for your games and monetization goals. Click here to see how.  

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