Three Reasons to Re-Think Rewarded Video

By Tameka Kee
Tuesday, August 2, 2016 / 2 min read

As brands continue to experiment with new mobile ad formats — think custom Snapchat geofilters, and chat-bots that let people order Taco Bell with their phones — one not-so-new ad unit has become even more appealing: rewarded video.

Mobile video ads

And while there are still some concerns about whether rewarded video can really deliver the quality customers that brands want, we’re getting more interest from advertisers about using rewarded video as a way to combat ad-blocking.

Opt-in and rewarded videos are definitely one way to ensure that users want to see an ad, vs. blocking it — but beyond just stopping the blockers, brands can use rewarded video to create experiences that truly captivate mobile users and keep them coming back for more. 

1) Where native & rewarded video meet

Native advertising may not be the hot topic it once was (Snapchat has seemingly taken that spot), but brands continue to invest in experiences that feel less like advertising and more like a piece of valuable content. But what about creating a more in-depth, native integration that also includes rewarded video?

Take a mobile game like Racing Rivals, for example. A manufacturer like Audi could up the ante by providing a limited-edition, high-powered Audi in the game, as a reward for watching their ad. The players win because they get a performance boost (and bragging rights) in exchange for their attention, while Audi wins by getting an engaged user, and even more brand equity as other players see the car in-game.

2) Rewarded video for lead-gen & performance

At first glance, video seems most effective for creating brand awareness, but there are plenty of examples of brands using video to drive sales (just think of infomercials and product demos on HSN). But mobile video can also drive performance, and that includes rewarded video.

A simple example might be a movie trailer that appears in a messenger app. Users get a specific number of credits for messages if they agree to watch the trailer, and at the end of the video, there’s a “click-to-purchase” option that lets them buy tickets at a participating theater.

Retargeting and rewarded video can also work together to drive performance. Imagine a user searching for a power drill on Amazon early in the week. A few days later, they’re trying to view content behind a paywall on one of their favorite sites, and they get the option to watch a video about power drills in exchange for access. The video includes a link back to their previously abandoned cart on Amazon, where they can complete the transaction. And boom — you’ve got rewarded video and lead-generation in the same campaign.

3) Value exchange with real-world benefits

Uber. Uber. Uber. Despite some … battles, when it comes to transportation politics and public opinion, the ride-sharing company is often cited as an example of disruption, growth and marketing innovation.

We’ve seen the company come up with forward-looking partnerships (such as with Spotify where they make Uber passengers backseat DJs), but what if they incorporated rewarded video placements as a way to offset the cost of a ride? An Uber rider could watch a video in exchange for 10 percent off a ride — perhaps even with geo-targeted brands that are along the route — creating a unique real-world benefit.

Other examples include rewarded video for discounts at various locations — from pharmacies and cosmetics shops, sporting goods stores and even hot restaurants. Combining the value exchange or rewarded video model with real-world benefits is one more way that brands can “reward” customers for their time and attention.