The argument for rewarded video is compelling: a nonskippable 15- or 30-second app-install ad complete with sight, sound and motion that compensates users for their time with a prize at the end.
According to Unity Technologies, for 71% of users, watching rewarded video is their preferred way of earning free digital goods, and of the developers that integrated rewarded video into their games, fewer than 10% saw any sort of drop-off in retention.
Which is great news for the app publisher running the video, but perhaps less so for the advertiser. There’s also no guarantee players are paying attention or making an informed decision about what they do download.
“Video is really hot right now, but it’s also sort of like a movie trailer,” Nguyen said. “We’ve all seen trailers that look amazing, but when you actually watch the movie it turns out to be a waste of time. The thesis with playable is to let people play a game before downloading it so they know what they’re getting.”
MNectar creates virtualized versions of games by pulling publicly available files directly from Google Play and Apple’s App Store and streaming them through its network. Because the unit is inherently interactive, mNectar can track user engagement and see when players are playing, what they’re doing in the unit or if they seem to get bored and X out.
The company also built its own data centers across the US to handle the two-way back-and-forth touch events required to stream interactive units. To avoid latency, the ad adapts to the user’s connection, providing a downgraded version if connectivity is poor.
Although playables make the most sense for games, other more brand-focused mNectar clients like Audible and HotelTonight have also taken advantage. In the HotelTonight example, users could search for hotels in the streamed version of the app, but had to download it if they actually wanted to conduct a transaction.
Although video ads are still a part of A Thinking Ape’s monetization strategy, it’s starting to lean more toward rewarded playable, giving preference to playable over video in its waterfall.
“All I want to do is get more value out of players and get as many eyeballs as possible without hurting their experience,” Voyber said. “Most ad tech companies are focused on giving value-adds to developers so they can monetize, which is great, but it’s the solutions that focus on the end user that are going to win in the end.”