Mobile monetization platform Supersonic is looking to help developers get more flexibility around rewarded video with an ad placement-testing tool, which came out of beta on Tuesday.
The feature, part of Supersonic’s video mediation SDK, allows developers to test where in their app to serve video that rewards people for watching, and what specific offers to present to the user.
Tweaking and testing those elements can be surprisingly tricky, said Adam Ben-David, head of publisher operations at Supersonic.
“Historically, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for customization,” Ben-David said.
Ad placement often has to be hard coded into an app, making it difficult to run tests to see what’s working and what to chuck. Supersonic circumvents that with the SDK integration.
But there are a lot of moving parts.
Location is a major one. Where a developer places rewarded video within an app has a major impact on engagement levels, which is why devs need to test various placements within the user flow.
Take messaging app Nextplus, a Supersonic client that’s been using the company’s video mediation product and is about to get started on the rewarded video front.
Nextplus and its stripped-down, utilitarian version, textPlus, have roughly 70 million downloads.
Both Nextplus and textPlus users can earn credit to make calls and send text messages by watching 10- to 30-second video ads.
If a user is low on credit and about to place a call or send a message, a menu pops up offering the option to watch a video or complete another offer, such as filling out a survey or entering a sweepstakes, to earn more. Credit is also available as an in-app purchase.
But there might be other places within the app where rewarded video could drive engagement. Nextplus just needs to run the tests.
Developers also have to consider what the reward should be and how much to dole out. Engagement is the watchword there. In some cases, it might make sense to grant five credits, while in other scenarios, one credit might be enough to keep a user engaged.
“You really have to consider who the user is and where the user is in their life cycle,” Ben-David said.
Although some skeptics argue about the value of incentivized users – how valuable, really, is a user who is only engaging with an ad to get something rather than out of any specific interest in the ad itself? – Joy Montoya, head of mobile monetization at textPlus, said about 35% of its users engage in earning-related activities at 50% higher than the average app in Supersonic’s network. According to Ben-David, that’s fairly typical for utility apps.
About 80% of Nextplus users are between the ages of 13 and 24 – tweens and college students who are often strapped for cash. Watching rewarded video – most of which ads to install game apps, with some branded content thrown in – and earning credits means they don’t have to ask mom and dad for money if they want to top up.
“You can choose to make a purchase with your money or you can use your time to engage,” Montoya said. “Rewards and offers are what enable us to be popular in that demographic. And with the new placements, we’ll be able to learn more about our users, especially how they’re engaging with us.”
Supersonic, whose clients also include Hyundai, Unilever, Disney and Machine Zone, raised a $15 million Series B round in July 2014.