5 Reasons Why Rewarding Ads Outperform Traditional In-App Ads

This post was written by Tony Cohn from Adscend Media, a leading rewards-based ad solution provider. Follow @Adscend.

Win-Win: Rewarding ad units like Adscend's Offer Wall provide value to developer and user.

Win-Win: Rewarding ad units like Adscend’s Offer Wall provide value to developer and user.

Recent studies, such as the dramatic rise in mobile ad blockers, are showing that users aren’t “feeling the love” for traditional in-app ads anymore. Even Google has taken notice of user dislike for traditional in-app ad units, with their recent stance against full screen interstitials.

This brush back against traditional in-app ads has lead savvy developers to an emerging form of in-app advertising known as rewarding ads. These ads are built upon an exchange of value, as mobile users choose to perform quick ad interactions, such as watching a video, in order to earn valuable in-app rewards–such as access to weapons upgrades, bonus levels, premium features and virtual currency. For each action completed, the developer earns a commission. Examples of rewarding ads include surveys (user completes short survey to earn a reward), rewarded video (user watches a video to earn a reward), and offer walls (user is presented with a variety of offers to choose from to earn rewards).

By providing a “win-win” for both developer and user, rewarding ad units are dramatically outproducing traditional in-app ad units. According to a recent study update by MonetizePros, average eCPMs on Android and iOS devices range from $0.15-$2.00 for banner ads and $2.00-$5.00 for interstitials. Compare that to the traditionally higher average eCPMs of rewarding ad units (which often range into $30+ territory) and it’s clear to see that traditional in-app ads may be on their way out. So, why are rewarding ad units so effective? Let’s find out!

1) Rewarding Ads Boost Retention, Traditional Ads—Not So Much

The intrusive nature of traditional in-app units (I’m looking at you, interstitial!) can wreak havoc on an app’s user experience, causing users to bolt from your app. In fact, the presence of annoying ads is one of the most often cited reasons why users abandon an app.

When it comes to retention, rewarding ads have quite the opposite effect. An offer wall perfectly demonstrates how rewarding ads give users total control of the ad experience.

Users visiting an offer wall choose their preferred ad type (survey, video, app download, etc.) and how often they want to earn rewards. This flexibility has made the offer wall one of the most effective industry ad units, with solutions like Adscend Media’s Offer Wall generating eCPMs of up to $90 with frequent return visits.

There’s more to rewarding ads though than choice. For example, mobile game users often interact with rewarded video ad units in order to quickly gain necessary items. In these cases, rewarding ad units are essentially acting like “life-lines” to users, allowing them to play more for free. Maybe it’s a primal thing, maybe it’s from our days playing quarter pinball games, but everyone loves a free play. Speaking of saving money…

2) Money is Rarely Spent In-App

On average, around 95% of mobile users don’t make in-app purchases. Thus, monetizing with traditional in-app ads can put you at a severe disadvantage, as the overwhelming majority of users just aren’t going to open up their wallets. Users are more than willing though to support app monetization models like rewarding ads, because these ads provide real value. This recent Unity study, which says that 71% of gamers prefer to “pay” for in-app items by watching videos, further shows user acceptance of rewarding ads.

3) Users Avoid Traditional In-App Ads

The below stats are telling.

  – 419 million people use mobile ad blockers (CNBC)
  – 55% of users find mobile ads disruptive (Intant.ly)
  – 99% of users won’t click on a mobile ad (Medialets)

If you’re monetizing with traditional in-app ads, you’re giving users another reason to uninstall. And it doesn’t take much for app users to want hit that “X” button and remove your app, as 77% of users typically leave an app within three days of installing it. Ouch!

4) Rewarding Ads are Easy

Rewarding ad units come in a variety of quick-completion formats, requiring a user to simply complete a task that they would often normally do to earn an in-app reward. In fact, most of the user-required actions can be completed in seconds. For example, Adscend’s Rewarded Video for Offer Wall solution allows users to earn rewards just by watching an app trailer. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.

5) There’s Too Much Competition

Since 2010, there has been a 611.4% increase in the amount of apps launched. Sure, you can have a unique concept, but for every Flappy Bird, there’s a Cookie Bird and Flappy Clash (yes, those are real games). Thus, if a user is turned off by your traditional in-app ads (see above), the user can easily jump to a competitor’s app.

So, are you ready to try monetizing your app with rewarding ads?

We’re obviously biased, but Adscend Media’s exclusive rewarding ad solutions will truly put you in the best position to generate more in-app revenue and boost retention. Here’s a quick rundown:

Offer Wall: Adscend’s flagship monetization solution features a strong global fill, a wide variety of easy-to-complete offer formats, and exclusive ad types that will help you generate eCPMs of up to $90. Adscend is also the only Offer Wall provider to offer direct user support.

EngageMe.TV: Your users will love watching engaging videos like cooking demos or movie reviews to earn rewards. Released in June 2016, EngageMe.TV is a huge hit with Adscend Offer Wall users, registering millions of video views per day. Your publishers will love EngageMe.TV too, as they can watch an unlimited amount of videos per day!

Rewarded Video for Offer Wall: Rewarded Video for Offer Wall gives you an exclusive weapon to monetize more of your users, as users simply have to watch an app trailer to earn.

Market Research Surveys: These custom-tailored surveys feature higher payouts (average of $2.50 in US) and your users can complete up to 15 daily.

Join the 30,000+ publishers who use Adscend Media today and submit a publisher application below.

Questions About Rewarding Ads?

If you have any questions about rewarding ads, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Attending Mobile World Congress?

Adscend Media is co-hosting the Welcoming Party and we’d love to meet you! Normally tickets cost €50, however, we’re happy to give free tickets to aligned app developers and advertising partners. If interested, please leave a comment below.


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By Rachel Emeis

Contributing Author & Director, US Innovators Policy Council

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