October 3, 2023
In the competitive world of mobile marketing, acquiring users is just the first step in building a profitable portfolio. The real challenge lies in fostering post-install loyalty and increasing the value of downstream engagement. Especially with average CPIs hitting as high as $4.15, according to Liftoff’s 2023 Mobile Ad Creative Index.
Mobile game and app publishers need to make the most of every single install. That’s where rewarded ad networks come in. Through pricing models and product features that drive post-install engagement and retention, rewarded ad networks are helping combat the “window shopper” dynamic that sees the majority of users churn out of modern freemium apps in the first few days.
Choosing which platforms to prioritize starts with a detailed understanding of their ideal use cases, unique features, and proven results. Let’s unpack those further.
Designed specifically for mobile game publishers and developers, Mistplay’s AI-powered game recommendations and continuous player reward systems represent the next evolutionary stage of rewarded advertising. Unlike legacy rewarded growth channels like mobile offerwalls, which only incentivize engagement up to a point and direct users out of the game, Mistplay provides mobile game marketers with a long-term, loyalty-centric user acquisition solution.
When players download the Mistplay app, the system starts building a detailed, data-driven user profile based on their unique tastes and preferences. Mistplay then uses that profile to make custom recommendations from its list of promoted partner games to the players who will most likely engage, spend, and drive long-term value. As players progress in those recommended games, they earn units, which are essentially credits that can be redeemed for real-world rewards like Uber or Amazon gift cards.
Case study: East Side Games
In this case study with Vancouver game developer East Side Games, Mistplay improved the combined average performance of their user acquisition sources on Android across key metrics: 15% increase in installs, 9.5% increase in D7 retention, 7.7% increase in D7 return on ad spend (ROAS).
Visit our advertising page to learn more about how you can start acquiring loyal users with Mistplay.
A household name among game developers, Unity’s advertising division has grown rapidly in recent years. By merging with Israeli ad tech powerhouse ironSource for a reported $4.4B in 2022 according to AdExchanger – and having already acquired Tapjoy for $400M, less than a year earlier – Unity Ads has quickly seized a massive amount of in-app rewarded ad network market share.
From standard rewarded video ad placements and mobile in-app offerwalls to goal-calibrated performance campaigns, Unity Ads leaves little to be desired for mobile publishers of almost any size. Though not yet offering any overtly loyalty-centric tools for advertisers looking to forge long-term relationships with users, its standard growth and monetization toolset is arguably best-of-breed for those looking to stick to the basics.
Sample Case Study: Candivore
In the mobile game growth case study, How Candivore made Match Masters a success using Unity’s ROAS campaigns, Unity explains that “as the game became more interactive, Candivore focused on measuring performance from the start.” More specifically, by measuring return on ad spend, they identified and secured a steady stream of valuable leads, focusing on in-app purchases (IAP) as their primary goal to secure valuable players that would spend in-game.” The partnership resulted in 36.5% user retention by D1 – with 25% of its global revenue coming from Unity campaigns.
The mobile growth platform currently known as Digital Turbine first began back in 1998. It expanded its rewarded advertising offering with the 2021 acquisition of what was originally known as SponsorPay, but by then had been rebranded to Fyber. At the heart of the product has always been its in-app offerwall, which offers publishers and advertisers the ability to transact on a cost-per-engagement basis. It’s currently known as DT Offerwall and appears alongside a number of other user acquisition solutions.
Digital Turbine equips advertisers with a number of value-added services and features to make it stand out among its competitors. Its in-house creative team offers marketing support to streamline campaign development, while its partnerships with telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and operators afford advertisers powerful scaling opportunities.
Sample case study: Bagelcode
The following case study, Bagelcode exceeds D7 ROAS goals by 7X with DT Offerwall, highlights its sophisticated CPE capabilities through “multi-reward campaigns [...] completing multiple actions in one offer to expose more users to deep post-install events and increase engagement and retention rates.”
With more than 10 years in the market, AdAction is one of the oldest mobile ad networks around. It puts that experience to good use. Offering a wide range of growth and monetization solutions to mobile game and app publishers, it prides itself on an overtly hands-on, white glove approach to its initiatives. In fact, AdAction has worked with some of the biggest names in mobile game publishing, including Zynga, EA, and King.com.
Unlike other ad networks, AdAction shows a unique understanding of the interrelated nature of mobile UA. This includes knowing and offering burst campaigns, or paid growth services with intentional organic knock-on effects that drive mobile games and apps up the charts, earning increased installs in the process.
Sample case study: Cleanfox
In a case study titled “Cleanfox Leverages AdAction Rewarded Inventory to Expand Reach,” AdAction explains how it was able to work with the inbox cleaning app to develop CPE campaigns that helped it drive 225k new users off of 3.5m offer clicks. It explains how “The first CPE (cost per engagement) campaigns launched in the UK, Germany, and Spain across iOS and Android. The model of CPE means Cleanfox only pays when users download and register on the app. The marketing plan also optimizes on other downstream events to ensure quality and volume.”
Another particularly long-lived mobile ad network, Chartboost was founded in 2011 and was acquired by mobile gaming powerhouse Zynga in 2021 for $250 million according to Venturebeat5 which was then acquired by Take Two Interactive in 2022 for a whopping $12.7B6, as reported by Tech Crunch. While the consolidation was likely in the interest of efficiencies inherent to having monetization and publishing operations under a single banner, Chartboost continues to operate as a monetization and growth platform for mobile publishers.
It boasts a wide and reputable reach, especially within the mobile games community. Its expansion into programmatic advertising via its demand-side platform (DSP) means it can now offer advertisers access to “200 billion monthly ad opportunities.” Although its range of rewarded advertising solutions might not be as robust as others in the same category, Chartboost’s unique features like complimentary cross-promotion capabilities and automated creative optimization surely make up for it.
Sample case study: Murka
Chartboost’s case study with Blackstone-owned game studio Murka, entitled “Murka achieves 125% ROAS boost with Chartboost DSP”, explains how “The Chartboost DSP has provided Murka with an average increase of 125% over its D7 ROAS target consistently every month from May until October 2020. To be more granular on platform performance, the Chartboost DSP exceeded Murka’s D7 ROAS target by 38% on iOS, 145% on Google Play, and 191% on Amazon.”
Choosing the right rewarded ad network (or networks) takes time, but the payoff can be substantial. Greater flexibility in a network’s engagement-driven campaign pricing means more ways for you to grow, as product teams test new onboarding experiences, push traffic to key features, and execute more sophisticated campaigns.
And while traditional rewarded traffic has its merits, it’s time for rewarded advertising to evolve. We’re proud to pioneer the new age of rewarded advertising with loyalty-centric growth solutions that balance top-of-funnel performance with downstream retention and monetization.
Visit our advertising page to learn more and get started today.