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From the outside, rewarded video seems like a simple implementation: Slap a video onto your game’s economy and reap the rewards. Of course, like all things in-game design, the devil is in the details. We examined four games with stellar rewarded video integrations that took mobile game monetization to the next level.

To evaluate, we examined based on the

  1. Conversion rate: Percentage of players who watch the entire rewarded video
  2. Discoverability of rewarded units: Difficulty of players finding reward offer
  3. Normalized reward amount: If players were to pay for the reward, how much would it cost? For instance, if a video completion rewards 1 gem, and 10 gems cost $1, a normalized video reward would be $0.10 ($1/10 gems = $0.10)

Conversion rate was partially determined by the accessibility and reward amount. We’re including the latter two to help you calculate the suitability of a rewarded opportunity. Obviously, you want to balance the rewards so that they are not too cheap so as to deter real purchases, but accessibly and fulfilling enough to encourage view completion.

Example 1: Score! (Android | iOS)

First Touch Games Ltd.
Conversion rate: 95%
Normalized reward: $0.06

Score! is a game about recreating famous goals in Soccer history. The challenge lies in perfectly matching your shots to the historic predecessors. To help you out, First Touch offers a “Golden Shot” that allows you to skip a difficult section of the play (passing or shooting).

First Touch Soccer Rewarded Video

Golden shots can be purchased for in-game credits. If a player lacks sufficient credits, they are prompted to view a video and earn credits. Since the base “golden shot” pack costs 600 credits and video views only deliver 30 credits, First Touch can incur quite a few completed views before delivering a payout.

Outside of the mid-game rewarded view screen, players can access the rewarded videos directly from the menu, ensuring zero friction when looking to acquire coins through ads. Talk about a hat trick!

Example 2: Goat Evolution | Clicker Game of the Mutant Goats (Android | iOS)

Tapps Tecnologia da Informacao Ltda
Conversion rate: 97%
Normalized reward: $0.03

Goat Evolution fulfills every child’s dream of one day owning a farm of mutant goats who defecate gold and other precious metals. Upgrading to more lucrative goats requires breeding and combining them, although this can by bypassed by purchasing high level goats directly.

Mutant Goat Rewarded Video

A goat farmer should consider himself lucky if he sees an offer for a goat at the expense of a video view: these offers come few and far between. In Goat Evolution, these offers are accessible only from the goat purchasing screen and appear sporadically. This keeps players on their toes so that when an offer is presented, it is quickly devoured. We’d be kidding if we told you the conversion rates didn’t reflect this superb integration.

Example 3: Stupid Zombies (Android | iOS)

GameResort
Conversion rate: 93%
Normalized reward: $0.20

If zombies weren’t bad enough, imagine running out of ammunition when you were tasked with eradicating them! Fortunately this addictive free to play puzzle game features ricocheting bullets and brittle landscapes, making it easy to bounce bullets around until they destroy their intended target.

Stupid Zombies Rewarded Video

When the puzzle gets overwhelming and you’re one bullet too short, Stupid Zombies bestows on the player an awesome solution: Air Strikes! Air Strikes are devastating weapons but in short supply. To obtain more, you can purchase them in bulk or watch a video after losing a level. This immediately completes the current level and advances you to the next level. By putting the videos at a “choke point” players are compelled toward watching  the videos even though they can retry the level at no cost.  No brains about it, this is an awesome way to balance difficulty and monetization.

Example 4: Naughty Kitties (Android | iOS)

Coconut Island
Conversion rate: 95%
Normalized reward: $0.33

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but cats are destined to save us from aliens in this combination tower defense and endless runner. Each cat in your arsenal comes replete with special abilities. When the cats don’t cut it, there are also unique power-ups and items at the player’s disposal.

Naughty Kitties Rewarded Video

Coconut Island offers an ingenious option to players looking to expand their lineup of cats. They can; pay a large amount of premium currency to get a random cat, pay a smaller amount to randomly get a cat or (less desirable) item, OR watch a video to randomly get a cat or item. While the ultimate reward is high ($0.33) it comes at the expense of an unknown prize, increasing the probability of repeat views and generating a higher mobile arpu. Now, this game is the cat’s pajamas.

Conclusion
There is a ton of diversity when it comes to how rewarded video was integrated into these games, so let’s focus on what works particularly well in each example above:

  1. Scarcity of soft currency rewards: When determining the value of a reward, ensure that the reward is high enough so that it is compelling to players, but low enough so that there is incentive to complete multiple offers. Instead of destroying your in-game economy, balance between reward payout and item cost. twitter share
  2. Rarity: If rewards are displayed intermittently (so that they’re not available every time a player searches for them), a player will feel an irresistible sense of urgency when offered the reward. They HAVE to complete the offer now, lest the opportunity disappear forever!
  3. Timing: It is best to offer a valuable reward right when it is needed to reduce friction for players. twitter share For instance, offering an extra life right when a player dies, instead of a less critical context.
  4. Luck: If the reward is a big one, adding an element of chance can increase return to the developer as players fail to obtain a desired item. Random payouts can increase engagement with the reward mechanic as players repeatedly try to obtain the reward by completing the offer. Use this one sparingly, of course 🙂