Succeed with rewarded video, part 2: Rewarded video in non-gaming apps

August 08, 2017

Tags: 2017, Publishers

Julia Martin
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This is Part 2 in our blog series dedicated to helping mobile app publishers (and buyers) maximize their success with rewarded video ads. Gaming publishers should be sure to read Part 1, and check back soon for technical implementation best practices; we’ll also have advice for demand-side partners coming shortly.

While gaming apps have been the quickest to embrace rewarded video, these ads can actually be a great monetization option for apps in almost any vertical. Many leading gaming publishers have turned to rewarded video ads as a successful option for monetizing their apps while maintaining — and even enhancing — a great experience for their app users. Mobile app publishers in other verticals who don’t consider rewarded video ads for monetization may be missing out on a major opportunity. In fact, rewarded video ads were recently identified as consumers’ preferred video ad format, with over two-thirds of users indicating that their attitude towards these ads is positive.

For success in non-gaming apps, it’s important to understand how these ads can be leveraged differently. In games, timing is crucial: for example, offering a rewarded video ad at the end of a level in order to continue gameplay. In other verticals, however, the value of the reward itself can play a more important role than timing. Figuring out the right reward — one that delivers value to your users and encourages them to spend more time in your app — is key to success.

Not sure how a rewarded video ad could make sense in your app? Check out these examples of rewarded video ad placements used by three of our publisher partners across different verticals to enhance their mobile app advertising efforts by tapping into a new revenue stream.

1. Offer a taste of your premium product at no cost to the user

If your app includes a paid offering, give users the opportunity to experience the premium part of your product at no cost. Once they’ve tried the premium version, they may consider paying for it in the future; even if they don’t, they may be more satisfied with their experience in your app. An app that’s used this strategy successfully is TextNow, a communications app that provides users with free texting and calling as well as a free phone number. They have an ad supported business model and offer rewarded video ads in exchange for credits that users can use towards international calls.  TextNow describes rewarded video as the first “permissive” ad unit and a format which truly puts the user first.

2. Earn virtual currency to unlock special features

Users who are unwilling to pay for certain app features may be perfectly willing to view a rewarded video ad in order to unlock them. Moco, a social app with over 100 million members, leverages rewarded video in this way. Users can watch an ad in exchange for “MocoGold”, which is a virtual currency that can unlock special features like seeing who has viewed your profile.  The team at Moco has called rewarded video a “service to users” as well as “an alternative payment mechanism for virtual currency”.

3. Solve user in-app frustrations

Do users want a feature that your app doesn’t provide? Consider offering it — in exchange for watching a rewarded video ad. Timehop, a photo/social app, turned user frustrations into a monetization source by implementing rewarded video ads that unlock a new feature. Timehop gathers users’ old photos from their phone and various social networks and displays them each day, providing a time capsule into what a user was doing one (or more) years ago on that day. Each consecutive day a user opens the app counts towards their “streak,” but Timehop received  persistent complaints that users were losing their streaks — and saw this as an opportunity to incorporate rewarded video ads.  Now, users can watch a rewarded video ad to save their streak, and the feedback has been positive. In addition, the revenue from rewarded video has not detracted from other ad formats; it has been a completely additive revenue stream.

No matter what type of app you have, there’s likely a way that rewarded video ads can fit into the experience. Be sure to start by listening to your users to understand what they want — is it virtual currency? More content? A special feature?

Next, apply the basic economic principles of scarcity and rarity to figure out the right reward and when to present it.  You don’t want to give too much away, but also not so little that the user doesn’t feel the reward is worth opting in. You also don’t want to offer it to your users too often; we’ve found the rarer the reward, the more likely users are to want it. Test a few placements to see what works best for your mobile app.

Finally, consider working with multiple demand sources (like ad networks and exchanges) to ensure you’re getting the highest fill rates and revenue. The more diversified you are with your partners, the more competition you’ll have to drive up CPMs and bring different types of advertisers into your app.

Implementing rewarded video ads into your app? Once you’ve found a great placement, ensure you’re set up for technical success by keeping an eye out for the next installment of our rewarded video blog series. We’ll share the actionable best practices you need to maximize your rewarded video ads from a technical perspective.


© 2017 MoPub Inc.
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