Monetizing games and mobile apps can be a challenge, especially when it comes to balancing the need for revenue and user enjoyment. According to a recent survey, 51 percent of game publishers consider in-game advertisements to be a “necessary evil,” but only 17 percent see them as “worth it.”

Can advertising be not only “worth it,” but an opportunity for developers? Believe it or not, ads don’t have to be intrusive, and can even be fun.

Chances are, you’ve seen them before, whether you play mobile games or not. “Watch this video for an hour of uninterrupted listening,” they say, or “watch an ad for five extra moves!” Rewarded ads offer an interactive way for users to “pay” for use of an app without being intrusive like a pop-up ad or flashing banner . . . and it turns out that users love it. In fact, a recent study by NPD revealed that a majority of mobile game users prefer to earn in-game currency.

When Rovio removed rewarded ads from its game Angry Birds Transformers, the players were not happy. “There was backlash from that community saying ‘give us back our reward videos,’” Rovio executive vice president Wilhelm Taht told Gamasutra. A similar situation occurred when developer Hyper Hippo implemented rewarded ads into Adventure Capitalist, in that users were quick to report when the ads didn’t work.

Fortafy Games revealed that monetizing with rewarded video drove a 40 percent lift in ARPDAU, and according to a survey by Unity, 62 percent of developers witnessed higher retention.


Rewarded ads aren’t just for games, however—they are found on popular music streaming apps like Pandora and most recently, the highly-popular Line messenger app. Line offers free one-to-one and group messaging, voice and video calls. Line users are now able to earn “Line Points” for free by engaging with advertisements, serviced by Tapjoy. These points can be traded for premium in-app stickers, themes and other types of content on the Line messenger app to enhance the messaging experience.

“This partnership signifies the continuing shift away from traditional, interruptive advertising and towards rewarded advertising as the preferred method for the entire ecosystem,” Shannon Jessup, chief revenue officer of Tapjoy, told [a]listdaily. “It provides yet further evidence that rewarded ads aren’t just for gaming apps, and that publishers in any category can benefit from an ad model that delivers value for users and advertisers alike.”