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Rewarded Video Versus In-App Purchases

Posted Oct 12, 2020

With a massive worldwide audience, mobile gaming has presented lucrative opportunities for game developers. Because most mobile games today are free-to-play, developers choose from a number of methods to monetize their titles. The most commonly used are rewarded video ads and in-app purchases.

AdColony’s Modern Mobile Gamer study revealed that an overwhelming amount of respondents choose to watch an ad for rewards over paying money. Developers are likely concerned about their game’s user experience when incorporating ads, but these findings can reassure them. If rewarded ads are executed effectively, users will remain satisfied with the gaming experience. Here are some highlights from the Modern Mobile Gamer Report:

Rewarded Video Ads are Preferred by All Demographics

While we know the majority of mobile gamers prefer rewarded video, let’s take a look at the age and gender breakdowns to get a better understanding of players’ preferences and what’s behind them. Only 8% of females preferred to pay money for rewards in comparison to 14% of males. Although this is a small margin, it is important to highlight because it speaks to the difference in attitudes toward mobile games. Many women are enthusiastic and committed players but are not yet willing to shell out as much as men who are more likely to have invested money into games throughout their youth and adulthood.

Millennials are Most Likely to Make Purchases

Breaking down the results by age reveals a few nuanced details on purchase behavior. Every age group overwhelmingly favors rewarded video ads. It was the resounding choice for those aged 75 and up with 100% of respondents from that group choosing rewarded video. Mobile gamers aged 25 to 34 still mostly prefer to watching ads for rewards but are the most likely to pay money. American millennials have seen gaming evolve through its console and desktop iterations and have now transferred some of their time and money to the mobile platform. Having grown up in the digital age, millennials can now use some of their disposable income on in-app purchases even if there are free options.

Watching Ads is Convenient for All Income Brackets

If given the choice, would those with high income be more willing to pay for rewards rather than watch a rewarded video ad? Not necessarily. According to survey results, rewarded video is still the top choice across all income brackets. In fact, those with household incomes of more than $150,000 had the highest shares preferring rewarded video. The choice to watch an ad for free bonuses does not seem to be based on the amount of income earned but rather, how the player feels that income should be spent. Despite having the means to pay for rewards, most high-earners still find it more convenient to spend some time watching an ad than spend money.

What are Mobile Gamers Willing to Watch Ads for?

Mobile gamers have given their approval of watching video ads for rewards, but exactly what kind of rewards are they looking for? Offering the right kind of reward is crucial to ensure that ads are not seen as intrusive or bothersome. Almost half of the respondents chose in-game currency, extra lives or chances, and game bonuses as their preferred rewards. 

On the other hand, only 14% of respondents said they were willing to watch ads for bonus content such as music, news, or video entertainment. While that type of content is valued on other platforms, users want rewards that are relevant to the game they are playing at that moment.

Want to learn more about mobile gamers’ views on rewarded videos? Download the full report! The Modern Mobile Gamer Report has data on how mobile gamers are multi-tasking, chart-topping game genres, who identifies as a gamer, and much more! 

About the Study
The survey was developed by AdColony and DISQO and distributed online to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. The survey was taken on both desktop and mobile devices, garnering a total of 1,208 responses over a fourteen-day period in Q2 of 2020. As each respondent was a member of DISQO’s 100% first-party opt-in research audience, responses were verified against fraud and were compiled against known and validated demographic information, enabling a rich, cohorted analysis by age, gender, education level, household income, and more. 

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