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Want App Users to Interact with Your Ads? Reward Them

Smartphone users prefer in-app ads that offer rewards

The majority of consumers may pay attention to and interact with in-app ads, but according to March 2014 polling by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Tapjoy, it’s not that simple, as certain ad types saw higher interest levels than others. In particular, ads that offered rewards for customer interaction were preferred by a long shot.

More than two-thirds of US smartphone owners surveyed said that if they had to see in-app advertising, being offered a reward for viewing or engaging with an ad was their top preference. This ranked second, trailing those who simply didn’t want to be interrupted by ads by 2 percentage points.

Respondents also considered ads with rewards to be far more relevant, as they often offered real world rewards tailored to a user’s interests—such as location or app content—through targeting. Personalized virtual rewards related to the app were also popular. For example, 77% of smartphone users who had watched an ad in exchange for a reward received something that could be used in-app, and nearly seven in 10 received currency that was used in the game.

January 2014 polling by IPG Media Lab and Kiip found similar results. Though 63% of US smartphone app users said they knew mobile ads were necessary, they were far more likely to prefer rewards: 84% of respondents said that reward ads were an acceptable form of marketing, while 76% said the same for small banner ads. Full-screen image and video ads were very much viewed as unacceptable.

IPG Media Lab and Kiip found that reward ads worked in brands’ favor. When asked what type of ads would cause them to view a brand negatively, just 6% of respondents cited rewards, compared with full-screen image and video ads, called out by more than three in five respondents.

The research found that rewards boosted all brand attributes, with respondents more likely to describe brands offering rewards as quality, premium or modern. In addition, app users had a higher level of respect for these companies.

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