Thought Leadership

Why Rewarded Video Beats the Ad Blockers

June 4, 2018
By Karin Williams, Senior Marketing Manager

Marketer’s face an uphill battle in the split-second, Snapchat-driven world of digital attention. Consumers are in control of how and when they consume content, and they’re using the same devices they get information on to block interruptive advertising. While the hysteria over ad-blockers may have died down, people are still using them — and what was mainly a desktop issue has invaded mobile, too. Fortunately for buyers, there’s one format that can overcome all of these hurdles: rewarded video.

What is Rewarded Video?

Rewarded video creates a new type of relationship between brands and consumers – one that is value-driven instead of disruptive. With rewarded video, users receive an experience or item of meaningful value in exchange for watching a video ad.

While the most common use case has been integrating rewarded video ads into mobile games, the ability to incentivize engagement goes far beyond gaming apps. Rewarded video works in social and messaging apps, as well as news and information apps.

With social apps, brands can give users new emojis or stickers in return for watching an ad. In the case of news or information apps, publishers can use rewarded video to give non-paying readers access to additional content.

For example, a site may only allow visitors to read a specific number of articles for free each month. Rewarded video ads could give visitors access to additional articles, in exchange for their attention. This makes the format a powerful monetization tool for all kinds of mobile app developers and publishers.

Brand Benefits

There are many advantages for brands willing to create this kind of value exchange with users:

  • Buyers can select the app and specific environment where their ad will appear, so they can feel confident about brand safety
  • Rewarded video is viewed full-screen, often with a “call to action” card at the end, so there’s little-to-no chance the ad will be blocked by an ad blocker
  • More importantly, instead of annoying consumers with unwanted messages, brands have an opportunity to build a trusted relationship with their audience, giving them something of value in return for their attention

Advertisers can also benefit from the consumer’s mood when they’re engaging in a messaging app or playing a game.  Users are typically happy, relaxed, and focused on the in-app experience, so when a brand offers value in exchange for viewing an ad, that ad is more likely to be seen in a positive light, capturing the consumer’s undivided attention.

Research backs these sentiments up. A study from the IPG Media Lab found that 84% of consumers prefer in-app rewarded ads over standard banners and interstitials. Forrester offers similar findings in the same report – 91% of smartphone owners surveyed preferred rewarded ads over standard display.

Rewards change the dynamic of advertising from interruption to a win/win interaction, making rewarded video a rare example of how the goals of app developers and publishers, marketer and consumers can all be aligned.

Proof in the performance

In the case of rewarded video, the “game theory” is backed up by lots of research1

  • MOAT reports rewarded video earns a 79% completion rate – 1.5 times greater than the mobile industry benchmark of 52%.
  • Post video click through rates (CTR) for rewarded video are also significantly higher (2.9 times greater) than mobile industry benchmarks.

Meanwhile, comScore conducted a study to determine how rewarded video performed in terms of moving prospects down the sales funnel.

The results clearly showed that rewarded video did a better job than standard ads of engaging consumers and moving them through the customer journey, as rewarded video provided a double digit lift over standard mobile benchmarks for ad recall (+21) and advertising/message association (+17).

Additionally, there was a 5-point lift for brand favorability and 4 points for purchase intent. These are significant findings — showcasing that rewarded video did a better job of building awareness, delivering a message and increasing positive sentiment than standard banner ads.

For brands that want this kind of results for their video ad campaigns, rewarded video is a powerful approach with exciting potential. Offering users value in exchange for interacting with ads can also be a game-changer for publishers and app developers searching for better-performing monetization tactics.

To learn more about this innovative format and how to leverage it for your brand, contact your Rubicon Project account rep, or email us at


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