Succeed with rewarded video, part 1: Designing your rewarded video placement

August 01, 2017

Tags: 2017, Publishers

This is Part 1 in a MoPub blog series dedicated to helping mobile app publishers (and buyers) maximize their success with rewarded video ads. Check back soon for placement tips for non-gaming publishers, technical implementation best practices, and advice for demand-side partners.

Rewarded video ads are a popular monetization option for many gaming apps, and with good reason. By offering users an in-app reward in exchange for watching an ad, rewarded video provides a way to introduce ads while still prioritizing a great user experience; in fact, the use of rewarded video ads may even increase user retention. To maximize success, understanding the best possible placement for your rewarded video ad unit is key when developing your app monetization strategy. The most successful rewarded video placements are strategically placed throughout the app experience to deliver real value to the user when they need it most.  When users don’t know a reward is available or don’t perceive the reward to be of high value, total rewarded video impressions and revenue may suffer.

“Rewarded video is a format that increases retention and player happiness. [...]
In the past, we’ve omitted rewarded video during the beta phase,
and users have requested them in their App Store reviews.”
—Brian Kealer, Director, Advertising Monetization at Glu Mobile 

Thinking about where a rewarded video ad might best fit in your gaming app? Keep in mind that rewards should be easily accessible, but avoid placements that could interrupt core elements of the app experience. Keep a close eye on the success of each placement; if a placement isn’t generating revenue, consider moving it to a different part of your app where it’s more easily and frequently accessible, and reminding users that there’s an opportunity to receive an award through in-game notifications. To help mobile publishers think about where rewarded video ads could best fit in their apps, we’ve gathered five great examples of rewarded video ad placements that our gaming publisher partners have used to enhance their mobile app advertising.

1. Increase user health and extend gameplay

When a user hits an in-game barrier, offer them a way to stay in your app. In Ubisoft’s Hungry Shark Evolution, users are given the opportunity to extend the game after their health runs out by either watching a video or spending in-game currency. This strategy of offering a reward when it is a necessity can drive higher opt-in rates.  

 2. Unblock the user to reduce friction

Do users get frustrated at a certain point in your game? WordBrain offers users a free hint in exchange for watching a rewarded video ad. This is a great example of using rewarded videos to reduce friction for the user, encouraging them to continue using the app by providing an easy way to access what they need.  By keeping the rewarded video button at the top of the screen, WordBrain ensures that rewards are easily accessible in a consistent, convenient location, enhancing the user experience without disrupting gameplay.

 3. Progress through the game more quickly

Another way to reduce in-game frustration is to provide a chance to remove time penalties. In Bounzy!, Gram Games offers its users the opportunity to speed up game play by removing time penalties in exchange for watching a rewarded video.  This strategy of reducing wait time can lead to increased session lengths and less frustration for the user.

4. Give the user a second chance

Look for new ways that rewarded video can fit into an established game. BANDAI NAMCO’s iconic PAC-MAN puts a new spin on the classic arcade game by granting users an extra life in exchange for watching a rewarded video.  This is a great example of offering rewards when the user needs it most, which BANDAI NAMCO has found to lead to the highest opt-in rates.

5. Monetize users who don’t make in-app purchases

Across the app ecosystem, only a very small percentage of users ever make purchases in mobile apps — but that doesn’t mean you can’t monetize all users.

Glu Mobile has found success with in-app purchases in their popular games, and have been able to complement that monetization model by also incorporating rewarded video ads. Glu’s Restaurant DASH with Gordon Ramsay looks at individual user behavior to present players with different types of rewards so they can further progress in the game. This gives Glu the opportunity to monetize all users, including those who do not make in-app purchases.

In each of these examples, gaming publishers have found success by examining user behavior in their apps and using rewarded video placements at key points that are most helpful during gameplay. Focusing on the user experience and what makes most sense for your individual game can help maximize the success of your rewarded video placements; these ads provide a unique opportunity to actually enhance the game for your users.

Successful rewarded video ads aren’t just limited to gaming publishers. To explore how rewarded video can work in other types of mobile apps, keep an eye on our blog for the next installment in our rewarded video series.


© 2017 MoPub Inc.
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