Rewarded vs. Non-Rewarded Video Ads: Which Will Come Out On Top?


Mobile video ads, especially rewarded video ads, are here to stay and will continue to be a significant audience engagement strategy. There are currently 6.3 billion smartphone users in the world, and 205 million of those are projected to be mobile video viewers in 2022 in the US alone. Even with these immense numbers, it’s still important to cater to your audiences’ preferences. User behavior shows that rewarded ad content, such as videos, is becoming a favorite. 

According to the monetization platform Unity Ads, 62% of mobile gamers regularly view rewarded video ads in exchange for a quality gaming experience and 71% find this advertising preferable to other formats. Moreover, rewarded video ads can be two times more effective than interstitial videos.

What Are Rewarded Ads?

If you haven’t heard of it yet, rewarded videos are non-skippable, opt-in video ads that reward users with incentives, such as extra game lives, coins, or premium items, which are alternatives to in-app purchases (IAP). Rewarded videos optimize user engagement, and, in turn, maximize conversion. 

How Can They Help?

Unlike interstitials or banners, rewarded video ads don’t pop-up and interrupt the user experience. They are an option in the menu or display between gaming levels. User opt-in rates are high because the value exchange is attractive. As a result, this ad format has very high completion rates. App marketers also benefit from the non-skippable feature of this ad format, and users see the entire video ad.  

For publishers, rewarded videos can significantly increase retention and other post-install actions. Fewer users lapse as rewarded video offers an alternative to IAP. As users expect to be rewarded by viewing rewarded videos, app interaction is continuous. Without the rewarded video option, users who are not willing to pay, may stop playing the game. Thus, rewarded video not only enables publishers to monetize, but also drives higher user retention.

How To Succeed with Rewarded Video?

Rewarded Video can help you win users if you do it right. The ad creative itself plays an important role. What you show to users matters a lot. The messaging and visual content of the ad must align with the user’s interest. If not, users may engage less with the ad unit.

Media placement is very important. It’s all about finding the right place and the right time to show a rewarded video. Rewards should be selected carefully. It can be good to offer rare rewards frequently.

The Benefits of Rewarded Video Ads

According to Business of Apps, in 2020 gamers had an increase of 62% in time spent playing games, and nine out of ten said that they are willing to watch a video ad to receive rewards. Rewarded video works well because the transition from the game to the ad is seamless.  

Here we have summarized some of the benefits of rewarded videos:  

    • Non-skippable Video Feature
      App marketers make a lasting impression because users need to view the entire video ad to collect their reward
    • Decrease in Lapsed Users
      The rewards that come from watching the Rewarded Video enable the user to continue playing for longer without an IAP, resulting in fewer lapsed users.
    • Continuous App Interaction
      Users expect to be rewarded as they opt-in to view Rewarded Video Ads thus constant app interaction is achieved
    • Better User Experience
      Because Rewarded Videos are an optional, non-intrusive ad format, users aren’t interrupted during an app event, which provides a better user experience equating to higher retention

Rewarded vs Non-Rewarded

To understand the performance of both, we compared rewarded video ads and non-rewarded video ads (also known as interstitial ads) in a gaming app to see which ad campaign delivered a better outcome.      

Rewarded Video Ad                    Rewarded Video Ad                  


The rewarded video ad performed better across all metrics. Compared to that of the non-rewarded video ad, the rewarded video had a 43% higher return on investment (ROI). 

After analyzing the two ad formats, we discovered that the click-through rate (CTR) of the rewarded video was 45% better than the non-rewarded video, and the conversion rate (CR) was 33% greater. The install rate (IR) was greater by 93% with the rewarded video ad format which explains the cost per install (CPI) value, which was lower by 26%.

The Winner

The data gathered shows that rewarded video ads provide better user engagement and increased retention. Due to the ad format’s non-skippable feature, users are compelled to pay attention to the ad, delivering a greater impact. It’s no surprise that users might prefer video ads that offer an attractive value exchange without interrupting their app experience.

It is essential to note that, ultimately, the ad format selection still depends on your specific campaign objectives. Analyze user behavior and keep testing to find the best ad format for a particular user segment. If you need guidance, drop us a message here.


Topics: Creative Insights