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MGF: Consensus on the benefits of rewarded video + 4 tips for doing it right.

by Sean Webster on Oct 20, 2016

Earlier this week I participated in a panel at MGF called “Reimagining Monetization Methods” at MGF in Seattle, and it was great to see enthusiastic agreement from all the panelists about the advantages of rewarded video. It was music to my ears when George Donovan of Gogii Games said that his company serves upwards of 30 million rewarded video ads a month and that rewarded video has served as a “massive support structure” for some of the indie games his company publishes. Rewarded video, George said, has nearly tripled Gogii’s ARPU. Michael Short of Newmark Software said he saw similar results.

Out of the discussion also came a few great tips about how to do rewarded video right:

Currency doesn’t have to be the only reward.

Rewarded video can fit into any kind of game because the rewards can vary depending on the game. Sure, currency often makes sense, but don’t forget that there are other ways to incentivize your players. As the panelist Saam Pahlavan of Taco Illuminati pointed out, you can use rewarded video to grant players a revive if their character dies (I saw a great example of that in Temple Run), or, as George Donovan suggested, use it to encourage players to unlock something secret and special and they’ll associate it with something new and fun. Consider riffing on the Japanese Gatcha system to come up with exciting rewards.

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“Reimagining Monetization Methods,” a panel at MGF Seattle

If you can, build rewarded video into your game from the get-go.

While it’s certainly possible to drop rewarded video into a game you’ve already built and see your revenues grow, if you’re building an entirely new game, it’s well worth building rewarded video into the gameplay up front. It should ideally be a foundation of your game, and from the beginning, you should think about how you’re going to make players want to interact with rewarded videos. At Gogii rewarded video is incorporated into design meetings and planning for every aspect, loop, and game economy. Crossy Road’s release earlier this year is a great example of a mobile game that was built around the rewarded video mechanic, and it’s proven to be one of the best retention and engagement features it has.

Don’t forget that rewarded video generates lift in player spending and conversion rates.

The fact of the matter is a large percentage of your users are never going to make a purchase in your game. But rewarded video gives you a much better chance of converting them — it gives them a preview. Players don’t miss what they don’t know. Show them what they’re missing and they’re far more likely to upgrade and spend. Incorporate rewarded video into your game and the chances are very good that you’ll see a significant lift in terms of spending.

Ask the experts for their advice.

Several times the game devs on the panel said that when you’re implementing rewarded video, you should tap the expertise of your ad partners. As George said, “There’s a magic to incorporating rewarded video, and I highly recommend that developers reach out to their respective ad partners to get it right. They see way more games leveraging rewarded video than you do, and there are a lot of lessons learned behind their experience.” And that really is true: at AppLovin we’ve seen rewarded video implemented literally thousands of times, we know what works and what doesn’t, and we have the data to back it up.

It was great to be up in Seattle at the conference, and it was gratifying to see so much agreement about how transformative rewarded video can be for the revenues of mobile games. Be flexible about the type of rewards you offer, build rewarded video into your gameplay from the outset, remember that rewarded video encourages rather than discourages player spending, and ask experts for their advice and you’ll be on your way to boosting your revenues.

Sean Webster is AppLovin’s senior director of Business Development.

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