Reward Based Advertising Improves Engagement

According to a new research report, Exploring the Role of Value in Mobile Advertising, conducted by Millward Brown, in partnership with SessionM, brands have an opportunity to break through low favorability of mobile advertising by offering more tangible value in their marketing content.

The study postulates a value exchange equation to assess mobile advertising, finding consumers were more likely to engage when brands offered them tangible value in exchange for their time and attention.


  • USEFULNESS: Perceived usefulness of an outcome multiplies the amount of time that a consumer is willing to invest to engage with brand... PLUS
  • ENGAGEMENT: The consumer’s willingness to spend time with the brand increasing the chances that they engage with the advertising again... EQUALS

And the report defines “tangible value” in a mobile ad experience as including:

  • Worth the time invested; “How much time does it take and is it worth it?”
  • Useful to me or my family; “Is it something I would use or be interested in?”
  • Engaging: “Is it amusing or informative? Would I watch it again?”

Joline McGoldrick, Research Director at Millward Brown's Dynamic Logic digital practice, says that "... through (the study) we know that consumers want brands to provide valuable and rewarding ad experiences... “

While Jayne Dow, Director of Qualitative Research and Digital Innovation at Firefly, Millward Brown's global qualitative practice, concludes that "... mobile advertising... that creates a balanced consumer experience... that respects time... provides a useful outcome... open(s) the door of receptivity... “

Rewarded audiences are over twice as likely to interact with brands, says the report. After seeing an in-app ad, 34% of rewarded users clicked or interacted with an ad, compared with only 15% of mobile users who had not participated in reward-based advertising.

Receiving a reward expands a consumer's consideration set, says the report. After seeing an in-app ad, 26% of rewarded users considered purchasing a brand, compared with 18% of mobile users who had not participated in reward-based advertising.

Reward Based Advertising (% of Respondents)

Consumer Response

Have not Participated in Reward-Based Advertising

Rewarded Audience

Clicked/interacted with an ad



Searched for brand online



Looked for brand in store



Visited a brand’s website



Considered purchasing brand



Visited brand’s social page



Source: Millward Brown, June 2013


Brand Effectiveness Tested on Reward Based Platform (% of Respondents Agree)



Reward Based Platform

Aided brand awareness



Mobile ad awareness



Message association



Brand favorability



Purchase intent



Source: Millward Brown, June 2013

Rewards change the equation, concludes the study. The study found that reward-based ads succeed when the creative execution is timely, relevant and chosen by the consumer, and when the reward is predictable, tangible and also chosen by the consumer.

  • 75% of consumers say their favorability towards a mobile ad depends on how the ad was presented to them. Putting an ad in a natural break is the difference between being seen as a friend or foe.
  • 92% of consumers say they want to choose the type of reward they receive. It’s not a ‘reward’ if its not something they want.
  • 68% of consumers prefer to know for certain they’ll get a reward, rather than be surprised.

N.B. Though the professional study is conducted in association with an organization disposed to the concept of reward based advertising, the premise, the tested hypothesis, and the published findings provide an argument for the further commercial exploration of the concept.

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