84% of Users Prefer Apps with Rewards

“We do [ads] in a way that is ethical and doesn’t hamper the user experience. Through solutions from Kiip, we can give back to the players.”

– Mario Wynands, PikPok’s Managing Director


Image source: Flickr, yomo 13

For those not yet aware, IPG Media Lab recently released a comprehensive consumer engagement study. The study used biometrics to analyze users during thousands of in-app achievement moments, determining users’ emotional responses to rewards versus ads. We’ve already discussed on our blog how this benefits brands (hint: tremendously), but now it’s time to dissect what this means for developers.

Three major findings show that:

  • People are 40% more excited during an achievement moment vs. normal app usage.
  • Rewards generate 31% more user excitement than ads.
  • 84% of people prefer rewards over banners and full-screen interstitials.

Users spend much of their day hitting regular achievement moments. Sample moments include crossing off an accomplished task on a productivity app, winning a game level and creating a music playlist. IPG’s research found that users experience 40 percent higher excitement levels during achievement moments, as well as positive feelings in the subsequent minutes. With such exaggerated effects on the user, these moments must be treated as exceptional. Moments belong to developers as a method to garner positive feelings not just about the win, but also about the app itself. Unfortunately, what often come after achievement moments in real-life mobile settings are videos, banners and full-screen interstitials. Or worse, there’s nothing at all – a missed opportunity to reach out to users and monetize.

“Users declared that ads hurt their opinion

of both apps and brands.

In the study, IPG found that 63 percent of users acknowledge mobile advertising as necessary. They know that by continuing to use a freemium game, they must tolerate some form of advertising. However, these ads possess astoundingly low engagement rates, with most users clicking out and never looking at the ad’s content. Users understand that traditional advertising is part of free apps, but ads do not elicit engagement.

This raised the question: if users know ads are necessary, why disregard them? The feedback indicated that even though users are okay with the existence of ads, it doesn’t mean they like them. In fact, many users declared that ads hurt their opinion of both apps and brands, saying ads are a “necessary evil,” make them “want to uninstall” the app and “full-screen domination” makes them “angry.” Their reasoning is that ads present regardless of on-screen events, thus intruding on users’ gameplay and providing little to no benefits. This negatively affects the overall user experience on apps.

There’s a better way to monetize

Kiip provides a solution to this issue with “moment-based rewards,” or content sponsored by brands users love and trust. Rewards appear serendipitously when users experience achievement moments and complement the app by offering relevant prizes. For instance, a user who logs a completed workout in a fitness app may receive a free Propel sample. These perks offer direct and personal benefits to users, creating positive emotion rather than negative.


There are two kinds of rewards developers can deliver with Kiip: Real and Virtual Rewards. Real Rewards are tangible products such as the Propel sample. Virtual Rewards are in-app currency backed by a brand, like Sour Patch Kids offering users free coins to redeem in a game. Both show higher engagement levels than ads, with Virtual having one draw over Real: it keeps users in the app for a longer period of time, as they’re excited to use their new reward.

“Rewards blend seamlessly into users’

in-app experiences.

Real and Virtual moment-based rewards are not tolerated like ads – as “necessary” interruptions on mobile apps. Rather, an overwhelming 84 percent of users find rewards to be the most preferred form of mobile marketing. The reasoning is clear in the IPG study. Rewards take advantage of natural excitement moments and then increase excitement by another 31 percent, intrinsically linking reward-enabled apps with moments of surprise and delight. Additionally, rewards blend seamlessly into users’ in-app experiences, providing them with a “sense of accomplishment” and prompting more downloads.

Monetizing with Kiip is incredibly easy and effective. Just add moments to the in-app events in which users are most engaged with Kiip’s Monetization Algorithm. After integration, the algorithm auto-optimizes to determine which moments produce the highest profitability rates, while quickly disabling moments with low eCPM and conversion rates. Apps like Any.DO, for instance, produce a $36 eCPM with Kiip.

Traditional ads are not the only option. Developers can enhance the user experience with a tactic that breaks away from the norm. Rewards are a smarter way to advertise, targeting moments that generate increased engagement rates, industry-high eCPMs and in-app excitement that users prefer. It’s that simple.
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Here are a few partners monetizing with Kiip today:

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This is part of Kiip’s ongoing Developer Success Guide.

Kiip is a leader in the field of app monetization. We enable developers to reward their users with advertising they enjoy. We want all developers to be successful in their ventures, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide with industry observations, best practices and expert advice.  

To learn more about monetizing your app, visit kiip.me/developers or email us at success@kiip.me.


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