Rewarded Video Q&A With AerServ

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AerServ is a free mobile SSP and monetization platform that empowers mobile publishers with a superior technology platform, supercharges their ad revenue through mobile video, and supports them with unrivaled customer service for a triple-win. AerServ works in alignment with thousands of apps, from premium publishers to independent developers, to optimize their existing ad network revenue through mediation, and tap into aerMarket’s demand inventory to supercharge their earnings.

What is rewarded video?

Rewarded video is an increasingly popular form of in-app video advertising where a user can view a video ad in exchange for in-app currency. Rewarded video ads combine the engagement power of video content with incentives to encourage users to engage with in-app ads. Other forms of advertising such as interstitials or banners can often be viewed as intrusive or annoying by app users. Conversely, we’ve had multiple developers tell us their users get upset when there aren’t more videos to watch…they want the ads! The result is a triple-win: game users are happy with the currency they receive, app developers are happy with the monetized user, and the advertisers are happy with the deeply engaged and high-performing audience they receive.

Below is an example of a rewarded video scenario within one of our developers, Rocksauce Studios. The user dies in the game and is given the option to continue. If they select yes, they are shown the second screen, where they are given the option to watch a video. Once the video ad is complete, the user is rewarded with the ability to continue their game.

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What is the monetization benefit to game developers?

Quite simply: higher revenue and happier users. Users are encouraged to watch rewarded video ads and can choose for themselves when to do so; they enjoy an uninterrupted experience and demonstrate a higher level of engagement with app and advertising content. When implemented correctly, a user is shown the option to view a rewarded video ad at moments in the app experience when they’re more inclined to opt-in to the ad experience. Users are motivated to continue their session in the app, using the currency they’ve earned, increasing both their exposure to app content and the app developers’ opportunities to engage them with content and monetization.

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Dice World, an excellent app developed by the team at Pangia Games, is a great example of an engaging game made better with rewarded video ads. Pangia has done a great job implementing rewarded video at a natural point in the gameplay where a user might drop off. Instead of leaving unsatisfied and ending the game session prematurely, the user has the option to view a short ad in exchange for additional gold, which increases user retention and gets them excited to continue playing the game. Pangia has deeply engaged users, with some playing over 200 games at a time – these users don’t want to be interrupted with ads. However, Pangia has found wonderful success with rewarded video, with many of their users asking for more video ads to watch!

What do you think is the consumer roadblock when it comes to making in-app purchases?

There are multiple roadblocks, and the main culprit may be different depending on the specific consumer. For some consumers, there is the perception that apps aren’t trustworthy. In addition to the fact that there is often less certainty about information security, no user wants to feel as though they have been tricked into downloading a “free” app only to find it costs money to use it to its full capability. This can be especially frustrating for users when the bulk of the items available for purchase are “expensive,” at least in the world of apps where users are accustomed to getting things either for free or a very nominal cost.

It’s important to offer items at a variety of prices that will appeal to a variety of users, from casual to serious. For some consumers, they have simply been programmed to believe that content and games are free. Whether it be reading an article online, on mobile, playing a game, or using a utility app, most consumers assume it should be free. They have a hard time equating enough value to spend real-life dollars in the exchange for in-app goods.

The good news is that there are excellent and sophisticated tools available to app developers which allow them to segment their users according to behaviors. In the past, the app experience might’ve been the same for all users, regardless of their intent to purchase or if they were a repeat user.  Now, developers have the ability to segment their users (paying vs. non-paying, whales vs. dolphins, might pay vs. will never pay) and design custom experiences and monetization presentations based on their historical behaviors and predictive models.

What is the market demand for rewarded video?

According to Swrve, 98.65% of users won’t shell out for an in-app purchase. The free-to-play gaming model relies heavily on in-app purchases to generate revenue, yet this typically monetizes a very small portion of the user base.  From a developer’s perspective, rewarded video is highly sought after, as it introduces a user-accepted and non-intrusive form of monetization that also brings high CPMs and revenue.

On the advertiser’s end, rewarded video placements are highly sought after and very competitive for a variety of reasons.  For one, the advertising is typically integrated as non-skippable, or forced-view, which means the advertiser has a user’s undivided attention for the entire duration of the video. Due to their in-app nature, rewarded video ad units have the ability to be highly interactive, engaging and custom ad experiences, giving advertisers a powerful medium. The video is also click-to-play as well as opt-in, meaning the user has to click a button that says “Watch video” in order for the ad to begin playing.  Contrast that with a native integration like Facebook, where videos start playing instantly as you scroll through your feed.  In addition, due to all of the aforementioned characteristics, rewarded video ads perform extremely well in terms of completion rates, click-through-rates, and post-view engagement (ex: installs, leads, etc.).  At a time when advertisers are concerned with viewability, fraud and performance – rewarded video is a breath of fresh air.

How will rewarded video evolve in the future?

As the mobile video market continues its explosive growth, we expect rewarded video to play a large role as a preferred integration method for app developers. It is continuing to mature as an advertising medium, and we anticipate a few changes.

Historically, rewarded video has been largely driven by user acquisition – meaning the apps are monetized by other apps. You’ll often see rewarded video advertisements for other apps and games, encouraging the user to download another app. Due to the context and large budgets from apps looking to acquire new users, this model has worked well. In the future, we see rewarded video having a better balance between traditional brands and app user acquisition campaigns. As the technology and market matures, brands are moving into rewarded video and bringing their large ad budgets with them.

Another change we anticipate is an increase in the personalization and targeting, leading to advanced and intelligent monetization. If we are able to understand who the user is, we can deliver a monetization solution that best fits them. Is it a young person playing the game that doesn’t have access to a credit card or money for in-app purchases? If so, showing them offers to purchase in-app goods doesn’t make a lot of sense. If they don’t have permissions to install apps, it likely doesn’t make sense to show them ads from UA campaigns either. Or is the user a middle-aged mom who also has the Fitbit app on her phone, and recently visited various health & fitness websites? If so, I bet Nike, Lululemon and 100 other brands would line up to get their brand message in front of her.

How does AerServ differ from competitors in this area?

AerServ offers rewarded video as part of a comprehensive mobile-first advertising monetization platform, whereas most rewarded video offerings come from dedicated networks. As such, we enable app developers to implement rewarded video with intelligent inventory allocation to the largest amount of video ad buyers. Rewarded video on the AerServ platform is supported by the data necessary to hone in on top purchasers, increasing revenue and engagement, without removing the user from the app experience.

You can visit the AerServ website here.