• Consumer Research

What Consumers Really Think About Rewarded Video Ads

Sarayah Wright
6 min read
Posted on June 01, 2022

Rewarded video ads are the latest advertising format on mobile that anyone concerned with enhancing in-app experiences and monetization should care about. They are a great way for brands to engage with consumers and effectively drive higher conversion rates more than traditional mobile display ads like static banner ads, interstitials or even regular video ads.  

And as we have come to know, rewarded video effectiveness can be attributed to their incorporation of reward and incentive to the in-app experience for consumers.   

But what exactly do consumers know and understand about rewarded video? To find out, InMobi and our team of market researchers polled hundreds of consumers in April and May to dive deeper into their thoughts on mobile ad formats and rewarded video specifically. Here is what we found.  

Key Findings:  

  • Overall, consumers across gender and age groups largely prefer mobile apps having ads in lieu of needing to pay to download an app.
  • When it comes to identifying different types of ads that offer rewards, 37% of female respondents have seen rewarded video ads, which is more than other rewarded ad formats. However, a bulk of respondents were not able to recognize a rewarded ad across gender and age groups.  
  • By age, however, older Millennials and Gen Xers take the cake in including video as a recognized rewarded ad formatting, with image ads being most recognizable amongst Gen Z and younger Millennials. 

Knowledge And Preference For Rewarded Video

When aware of these types of ads, consumers really prefer video as a rewarded ad experience. In total, 66% of respondents prefer rewarded video over other rewarded ad formats. Although they still prefer rewarded video, it is worth noting that men have a significantly stronger preference for interacting with a task ad compared to women.   

With rewarded video ads, users can choose whether or not they want to engage with the ad, and this choice makes a big difference in how these ads are perceived. 

Rewarded Video Ads And Gaming 

As expected, consumers best recognize and have preference for rewarded video in gaming apps. And this makes sense. The in-game experience is already ripe with reward and incentive, so of course rewarded video ads can be easily integrated into the mobile gaming experience for users.  

When we think of rewarded video ads, it’s easy to see how a user would want to watch the ads in exchange for extra playing time, extra lives, in-game currency and the like to advance in gameplay.  

And our data reflects this, with 58% of those surveyed preferring to see this rewarded ad format in-game. However, our survey came back with some surprising insights in addition to affirming what we already suspected about rewarded video in-app experiences.  

Here are the specifics: 

  • When compared to arcade, action/adventure, racing/sports and battle royale games, strategy/trivia/puzzle games are the preferred gaming category for users to interact with a rewarded video ad. 48% of respondents (55% of women) prefer seeing this popular ad format in strategy, trivia and puzzle-based games. 
  • 46% of consumers prefer seeing rewarded video ads during gameplay once they need resources, like in-app currency, extra lives, additional playing time, character skins and the like.  
  • 17% of consumers aged 55 and up, however, specifically prefer to engage with rewarded video ads at the beginning of a gameplay. And if this sounds surprising, it aligns with some of the research we spoke to Dr. Diego Garaialde about. In his research around reward effectiveness, the post-doc found that rewards are generally most valuable early on in an interaction/login. 
  • The top desired reward is in-app currency (33%); 15% of male consumers prefer account upgrades as a reward for watching video ads, significantly more than women; women have a stronger preference for additional playing time (15%) compared to men.  The 55 and up club might just be an untapped consumer base when it comes to thinking about who is downloading and truly engaging in gaming apps and preferring gaming brands overall. 24% of 55+ gamers site additional time as their reward preference, and 53% prefer to see rewarded ads for other gaming apps.
  • Across gender and age groups, the go-to action after seeing a rewarded video ad is clicking to learn more, meaning that rewarded video most likely has a better impact on branding than performance.  

Opportunity Outside of Mobile Games 

While mobile gaming is a go-to site for rewarded video, our research found that there is opportunity for the inclusion of rewarded video ads in non-gaming contexts.  

Learn more:  

  • 37% of respondents recognized rewarded video in music apps, with 14% of total respondents actually preferring to see rewarded video in music apps. One can wonder if this is a consequence of users needing to subscribe to music streaming apps in order to have an ad-free experience. While some are willing and able to fork over the $4.99 and $9.99 subscription price or make multiple in-app purchases, there are a countless number of consumers who are not. Perhaps, it is amongst these individuals that a limited ad-free experience in exchange for watching a video ad is preferable to just simply listening to ads mid-stream.  
  • The majority of female consumers prefer to see video ads for food and drink brands instead of the more stereotypical apparel, home goods and health and beauty brand categories.  
  • 23% of consumers see discounts as a preferred content for rewarded video.  

Time To Think Outside Of The Box 

Rewarded ads are heavily associated with video and gaming, whether that be in-game ad experiences or ads for other games. Our findings also most notably suggest a serious lack of out-the-box thinking from publishers and advertisers overall in how to introduce and use rewarded ad units.  

Truly, a wide variety of apps should implement rewarded ads in addition to other ad placements as part of their broader monetization model, as doing so will improve ad revenue, user engagement and retention rates. 

Even within mobile gaming apps, gamers have become so accustomed to seeing ads for other games that publishers should aim to mix things up and make efforts to get other types of advertisers to buy into their supply.  

In-game experience across gaming genres is often enhanced by things such as casual ease, competitiveness and incentive but also novelty. Just as developers know how to introduce new features and creatives in their game to keep up interest, publishers should think about how to use their in-app ads for opportunities for increased novelty in the user’s overall experience. Imagine how many more users would run to your game if they knew there was a chance to get a discount at their favorite restaurant or for their brand of choice?  

Let the folks at InMobi help you build your expertise and utilization of this highly effective and popular ad format in a way that would be most fruitful for you. Want to learn more? Please reach out to us here or across any of our socials.  

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