How Opt-In Ads Catch Consumer Attention and Drive Home Brand Intention

The marketing channel that's often overlooked

The overlap of attention and intention is where video ads should aim to land. Getty Images
Headshot of Amit Halperin

In an industry plagued by issues of viewability, banner blindness, ad blocking and fraud, brands are up against a tough challenge on how to generate the results they need from their marketing spend. Despite advertising budgets increasingly shifting to mobile, it’s a world that is complex and filled with stereotypes and misconceptions, which prevents many brand marketers from seeing where the real advertising value lies.

As a result, marketers often miss the mark by pouring their budgets into campaigns that promise to attract as many eyeballs—or user attention—as possible. Sounds logical, right? The sweet spot, however, is where user attention and intention intersect. That’s where rewarded video or opt-in advertising comes in, unlocking the true potential of this dynamic, relatively new medium.

Stand to attention

Rewarded video ads provide the ideal solution that brand advertisers have been missing for an intention-based medium to deliver their message.

Rewarded or opt-in, in-app videos are ads that users agree to watch in exchange for content or goods they value. With them, a user utilizes a free app.

Take a gaming app, for example. They get disqualified on level five, and the default is to return to the beginning of the game. However, if they prefer to stay on level five, they can select to watch a video ad that will keep them at that level. These videos are called a rewarded or opt-in video ad, as the consumer has selected to watch the ad and get their desired reward.

For a brand advertiser, this is like gold dust. They benefit from an ad with a higher completion and viewability rate because the user has opted in to watch it. At no point was the ad forced on them.

From passive to active

According to the Kantar Millward Brown report, mobile rewarded video ads are preferred over all other types of video ads, even over an ad that is skippable. This is consistent for all age groups. Users develop positive brand associations from opt-in video ads because they receive concrete value in return for engaging with the ad.

Take the example of Lovoo, a dating app. It lets users watch a rewarded video to see whose viewed their profile, to get their message to the top of someone else’s inbox and other similar actions. Then there’s Lucktastic, a scratch card game app that gives users the chance to win real-world prizes like gift cards and cash in exchange for watching a rewarded video. And there’s TextMe who gives users credits to call or text non-TextMe users all over the world.

In all of these examples, ad consumption moves from getting a user’s attention to earning their intention. The broken value exchange that has previously led to widespread ad blocking by the consumer is now fixed by putting control back into their hands.

Say goodbye to stereotypes

Since rewarded video exists inside most genres of apps, brands can take advantage of that. They are able to target their ads on apps that have users with certain demographics. For example, brands targeting music lovers can advertise on Spotify, which offers 30 minutes of ad-free streaming once a user views an opt-in video.

However, it’s important to note that games represent the largest category of apps after social media and messaging apps and shouldn’t be ignored. Performance marketers have understood this and are utilizing this advertising channel, yet brand marketers have been more reluctant to get on board due to the legacy stereotypes about gamers.

The picture of gamers being young, male and geeky with little to no disposable income couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, it is estimated that 63 percent of mobile gamers are female and that people aged 65-plus make up 23 percent of mobile gamers. Statistics like these continue to testify to the demographic reach and diversity of the gaming audience, shattering traditional stereotypes. Brands have a huge opportunity to reach out to their target audience through this intention-based medium.

You’re in safe hands

Perhaps most importantly, the in-app ecosystem has proven itself to be brand safe. While someone looking to launch a website faces little to no regulation, not everyone can launch or keep an app in the Google Play or Apple App Stores. Apple reviews each app submission before it goes live, and while Google does not review apps before they are launched, apps will quickly be removed for violating Google’s content policies.

Rewarded video ads provide the ideal solution that brand advertisers have been missing for an intention-based medium to deliver their message. What’s more, the interests of both brand advertisers and app developers are well-aligned. Their shared goal that the ad experience in-game will be one that consumers enjoy and actively choose to engage in is an ideal recipe for creating a more positive and memorable ad experience that brands can rely on to be impactful.

Amit Halperin is the vp of brand solutions at ironSource.