Getting a user to pay for an app download upfront without a big name behind the app became almost impossible in the last two years. Most of mobile game developers these days are developing free apps. There is one big problem with free apps – they don’t make any money. Those of you who have tried banner based advertising will say that most clicks are made by accident and that they make the game feel very cheap. While In-App Purchases often requires a lot of investment and sophistication, offer walls or reward based adverting is not such a bad idea.
The practice of rewarding a user for a desired action creates a win-win opportunity in which the user engages with an ad because he selects to. The reward in this case is normally a bunch of in-game coins and the desired action might be watching a video about another game.
Historically, there have been a few problems with this domain. First off, the offers weren’t screened for quality and advertising ethics. This resulted in ads that were promoting fraudulent services and scams. This was made famous as Michael Arrington posted on TechCrunch and called the offers on farmville – Scamville. Well, this was over three years ago and the providers cleaned up their ad inventory. There were also some reports about Apple fighting the practice of promoting apps via reward based advertising but game developers reported that they didn’t see any change and the downloads by users who received an incentive are still counted towards the goal of making it to the top charts.
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SponsorPay for mobile is available as a Unity Plugin or Native for Android and iOS. Their platform is in use by leading developers and publishers such as: EA, UbiSoft and Gree. Apart from the revenue boost you should be getting from them, they also have diverse integration options and extensive analytics.
TapJoy is probably the biggest player around. Their network spans 387MM users around the globe. In addition to iOS and Android they also support the Windows Platform. Their Unity Plugin is available through Prime31 which means you will have to pay $50-$70 to get it.
SuperSonic used to be focused on Social games and only recently moved to the mobile space. Unlike TapJoy and SponsorPay they are much more focused on brand advertising. This means that your offer wall is more likely to include an ad from Citroen or CocaCola as Opposed to CoinDozer or Zynga Poker.
W3i recently rebranded as NativeX to highlight their focus on native looking offers. The other thing that sets them apart is the set of tools they offer game developers to help them build apps more quickly. Their ad inventory is focused on game apps.
Kiip is not exactly an offer wall but it’s certainly reward advertising. When the user makes an achievement Kiip rides on that feeling and reward the user with a $10 discount for a real product from a known brand.
Play Haven started as a platform for maximizing life time value for games but are now offering the option to promote other games for free and to include interstitial ads.
Mob Partner is a mobile ad network offering differnet monetization options as well as offer walls. They support iPhone and Android.