For a long time, many in-game rewarded video ads were simply ads for other games, not encouraging for quality brands. But, rewarded video is maturing fast. Smaato also reports that what used to be a format mostly for other gaming ads is now even more popular with retailers and auto brands.
Updating Old Stereotypes
Last year, Mary Meeker’s Trend Report cited research that seven in ten consumers prefer a video that gives them an in-app reward. In fact, AngryBirds creators reported a backlash from users when they took rewarded ads out of the game, according to a Gamasutra post.
Real time ad-watching means the consumer is engaged in the moment. What’s more, by making a choice to see the ad as a way to enhance what they’re currently doing, they are more open to the advertiser’s message.
Digital marketers talk all the time about needing to make sure their messages add value to consumers. Good rewarded video does that inherently.
Understanding the Different Options
Brands that create campaigns specifically for rewarded video have several good options to consider, depending on how integrated the creative is into the game itself, as well as how relevant the ad is to game play.
Integrated in-app: Companies like Supersolid design games with rewarded video in mind. For example, “Food Street” has spaces for billboards right on the game’s streets, which are fun to interact with. Ad-watching fits seamlessly into game play, which means the ads rival the most premium custom inventory from any comScore 200 website.
Midplay Rewards: Another similar in-app category includes stopping the game to watch an ad in order to get a new life, more coins or other token in exchange. While the game itself might not be designed to showcase ads, good developers can time the ads very well, such as when a player is selecting a character and has the option to upgrade.
Paywall or Freemium Content: For content companies like Forbes and Business Insider, having consumers watch an ad in exchange for premium content is a welcome alternative to requiring subscriptions or offering a cluttered article full of banners and pop-ups. The best inventory in this category really does give consumers access to better content, and to a cleaner viewing experience.
Beyond these categories of good options are plenty of placements that won’t perform as well, and might not be worth the investment. For example, there are apps that bombard consumers with too many ads, sites that simply pay consumers to watch video with no content or game attached, and fraudulent offerings that use bots.
Like any other part of a media plan, learning a bit about the developers and publishers goes a long way to mitigate any problems. Using the right measurement metrics can also help. Sites or apps that sign up many people for an offer very quickly should be paused and double-checked. Reports of little engagement, but a lot of scale, are another red flag. It's also important to add fraud monitoring to in-app campaigns, such as that from Protected Media or Forensiq.
Rewarded video has a lot going for it. With engaged consumers, response rates and return on ad spend are very high. Brands will get their own reward if they take the time to wade through the range of offerings and see where their ads should be running.