Rewarded monetization: Its effects on mobile game user acquisition and engagement

Explore the transformative power of rewarded monetization in mobile gaming, enhancing user engagement while boosting revenue.

Mobile games have saturated our screens, but what makes one stick? The answer is easy: rewarded monetization. By bridging the desires of players and the goals of developers, this strategy isn’t just about creating a win-win for both parties; it’s about elevating the entire mobile gaming experience.

What is rewarded monetization?

At its core, rewarded monetization offers users tangible benefits, often in the form of in-game items or bonuses, in exchange for specific actions. Whether it’s watching a video ad, completing a survey, or sharing the game with friends, these rewards provide immediate value to the player, encouraging continued gameplay and deeper engagement.

Types of rewarded monetization

1. Rewarded video ads:

    This is arguably the most common form of rewarded monetization. Basically, players are given the option to watch a short video ad in exchange for in-game rewards. Gamers can continue their gameplay without dipping into their wallets while also getting a boost or benefit in the game. Developers earn revenue from advertisers for each video view, and these videos generally have high completion rates because of the attached rewards.

    2. Playable ads:

    These are interactive advertisements where players can try out a mini-version or a demo of another game. Once the demo is completed, players receive rewards in the original game they were playing. This type of ad gives players a break from their regular gameplay and the chance to explore a new game, all while earning rewards for their main game. This method can lead to higher conversion rates as players get a taste of another game, potentially leading to installs of the advertised game.

    3. Offer walls:

    An offer wall is a list of tasks or actions a player can complete in exchange for in-game rewards. Tasks might include signing up for a service, completing a survey, or downloading an app. Offer walls present a range of choices for players to pick from based on their comfort level and the reward they desire. These provide a diversified revenue stream, as different actions can have different payout rates from advertisers.

    4. Daily bonuses:

    Players receive rewards simply for logging into the game on consecutive days. A guaranteed reward just for coming back, fostering regular gameplay habits. Increases daily active users and encourages consistent player engagement.

    5. Social shares and referrals:

    Players earn in-game rewards for sharing the game on social media or referring friends to download the game. This type allows players to earn rewards and share their gaming experience with friends. Organic marketing and potential user base growth through word-of-mouth and social proof.

    The diversity of rewarded monetization types allows developers to cater to different player preferences and engagement levels. The key lies in integrating these methods seamlessly into the gameplay, ensuring that the player experience remains paramount. With the right balance and strategy, rewarded monetization can pave the way for sustained user engagement and diverse revenue streams.

    Benefits for mobile game developers

    • Increased user engagement: Rewarding players for their actions creates a sense of accomplishment. When a player knows there’s a reward at the end of an action, they’re more likely to complete it, leading to longer session times and more frequent returns to the game.
    • Higher retention rates: Gamers love rewards. By offering them valuable in-game items or features for free, developers foster a loyal community that’s more likely to stick around.
    • Monetization boost: This strategy isn’t just about keeping users happy; it also impacts the bottom line. Players become more open to engaging with ads, leading to higher ad revenues. Plus, by offering premium content as rewards, developers can subtly introduce players to the benefits of in-app purchases.

    Benefits for players

    • Enhanced gameplay experience: With rewarded monetization, the gameplay doesn’t feel interrupted by ads. Instead, players willingly engage with advertisements because they know they’ll receive a reward, making the overall experience more seamless.
    • Tangible in-game benefits: Who doesn’t love a power-up or an exclusive character? Rewards in the form of in-game items or features can give players a competitive edge or unlock new story elements, enhancing their enjoyment.
    • Feels like a fair trade: Instead of being bombarded with ads or feeling pressured into in-app purchases, players can choose how they want to engage. The power is in their hands, leading to a more positive sentiment toward the game and its developers.

    The road ahead

    The mobile gaming industry is constantly evolving, and so are the strategies developers employ to engage their audience. But the underlying principle remains: offering value for engagement is key.

    Rewarded monetization is more than just a fleeting trend. It’s proof of the fact that when developers and players come together in a mutually beneficial arrangement, the results are bound to be spectacular. As more developers embrace this strategy, one can only expect the mobile gaming landscape to become more dynamic, exciting, and rewarding.

    Next: How game rewards work: dopamine, addiction, and engagement

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