It’s nearly impossible to talk about mobile ad monetization and not mention rewarded videos these days. Even the most casual gamers will seek out a short video in hopes of earning an extra life, spin, or a few gold coins.

The premise behind rewarded videos is simple. As the name implies, the popular mobile ad format rewards users with in-app currency or another high-value feature in exchange for viewing a video ad.

Rewarded videos are often used for monetization purposes as they enhance user experience, drive engagement, and boost retention (if properly implemented).

The Powerhouse for Developers

While the rewarded video format is widely touted for its interactive, eye-catching nature, it brings more measurable benefits for developers than first meets the eye. A recent report by Unity Ads revealed that 86% of developers saw IAP increase or remain the same after integrating rewarded video ads.

Truth be told, most developers need another source of revenue as only 1.9% of mobile gamers bother to make in-app purchases in the first place.

So, what makes this format the ideal complement to in-app purchases? Rewarded videos introduce players to in-app currency and paid features, allowing developers to monetize players who are unlikely IAP-buyers and demonstrate the value of these features to those who are still on the fence.

Why Users Can’t Get Enough

While you can’t please everyone, rewarded videos come pretty close.  This nearly universally adored format has the opposite effect of banners. Instead of turning a blind eye to their presence, players keep their eyes peeled.

In fact, UnityAds revealed that 71% of users prefer to pay for an app by watching a video, be it rewarded or interstitial. This format is infinitely more popular than other formats such as banners and static interstitials, denoted by the 62% of players who watch rewarded videos regularly for in-game rewards.

It stands to reason then that 62% of developers also saw improved or stabilized retention after introducing rewarded videos. When integrated into the app in a natural way, they encourage engagement by compelling players to tap, spin, and otherwise interact with the game to receive a reward, which only propels them through the game more quickly.

How to Unlock the Format’s Full Potential

If you haven’t already added the rewarded video format to your games, now’s the time. But before you get started, study these best practices to ensure you get the maximum results:

Work with Your Storyline

At its very best, a rewarded video feels like a natural, integrated part of the game. It doesn’t distract the player, break the storyline, or interrupt the overall flow.

Looking for an easy way to integrate your video into the structure of your game? 

Signify the opportunity to watch a rewarded video to players by using a specific character, landmark, or another symbol that matches the storyline and design.

A great example of this strategy can be found in Gipnetix’s “100 Doors of Revenge,” where a small key icon (pictured below) denotes the option to watch rewarded videos for the next level.


Rewarded Video Example

Use the Videos As Boosters

The first few sessions can make or break it for your game. Players are quick to jump ship if the game appears unintuitive or otherwise difficult to navigate. While you shouldn’t make the game easy for players, you can improve the experience by using rewarded videos as boosters.

Show a quick video right after your game first increases in difficulty, spurring on gameplay with an extra life or other valuable feature. By that same token, you can also display rewarded videos every few levels to increase retention.

Timing, Timing, Timing

Overshowing rewarded videos is boring and predictable. It eliminates the surprise factor and decreases the value of your reward. (Is it really a reward if you receive it constantly?)

Overall, the videos should make your player want to keep playing. Ismail Maiyegun of Big Wolf Games employs a similar strategy:

“The first time you run out of moves, you get to watch a rewarded to get 3 extra moves but after that, we don’t let you keep watching a rewarded video to keep getting moves. That way, there’s a little bit of scarcity. It’s not on every single level so when you get it, you’re like, ‘I should watch it because it’s not always going to be here.'“
Display them occasionally to keep them guessing and integrate them with the energy mechanics of your game if applicable.

Know What Your Players Want

Hopefully, you can easily see your game from the player’s perspective. It literally pays to take note of what your players want the most, whether that’s an elusive in-app item or premium feature.

Give your players what they want but only so often. If you’re not sure when, revert to our previous point; it’s all a matter of timing.

Increase the Results with Segments

It isn’t enough to reward every player the exact same way. To enhance user experience and increase revenue, target your players and add personalization with Appodeal Segments. Segments allow you to divide users into targeted groups so that you can alter the frequency and type of reward given.

You might find it most beneficial to only monetize non-paying users or to show ads 5 minutes after launch, rather than after 2 minutes. With Segments, you have the freedom to experiment and refine your strategy.

For insights into how to best use segments, check out these 6 hot examples.

Appodeal’s SDK integrates with the top rewarded video ad networks including the likes of Unity Ads and Vungle. Sign up now to start reaping all the benefits.

(Psst! Hungry for more? Check out our SlideShare, which illustrates the magic of rewarded video ads.)