Top Incentivized Advertising Networks (2024)

Updated: May 1, 2024

Incentivized ads reward users in exchange for their actions. And they can reap huge benefits for advertisers who turn to incentivized advertising networks for help.

Through custom creatives, user targeting and real-time bidding, incentivized ad networks drive considerable gains for advertisers. Studies show users are almost 5x more likely to make an in-app purchase after engaging with incentivized ads.

Plus, when they engage with at least one incentivized ad in the first week after installation, app retention has the potential to improve by around 300%.

So who are the best incentivized advertising networks to approach for help? Read on to find out.

What are incentivized ads?

Incentivized ads are marketing tools that offer users a reward or incentive in exchange for completing an action. They often appear on shopping or gaming apps. And they’re sometimes referred to as sponsored, rewarded or value exchange advertising.

Incentived ads can result in direct conversions for advertisers. And statistics show that users are over 25% more likely to convert when rewarded this way.

Examples of incentivized ads include percentage discounts, upgrades, or even virtual currency in exchange for actions like installing an app. Most often these will run on a CPI basis, which can be cheaper than non-incentivized ads app installs. Incentivized advertising began in the gaming vertical. And it’s a substantial marketing activity that makes up around 90% of gaming ads.

Many advertisers favor using high-quality incentivized ads to drive traffic and gain interest in an app. Gaming, music streaming, social media and retailing are some of the most popular areas for incentivized advertising.

What are some of the types of incentivized ads?

So what are the types of value exchange you could expect to see in an incentivized ad?

Most Effective Incentives in Rewarded Video Ads

What is incentivized traffic?

Incentivized traffic is the name given to paid bulk traffic that uses incentivized ads to target large download volumes and higher rankings in the App Store or Google Play Store. Also known as incent or burst campaigns, incentivized traffic targets high install rates in a short period of time.

Top Incentivized Advertising Networks

By offering incentives or rewards to the masses, marketers can increase download rates quickly. And there are pros and cons to this approach, which we’ll outline further in this post.

What are incentivized ads eCPM rates?

Here are some of the biggest incentivized ads offers along with their platform and country.

Platform/Network Country eCPMs/Revenues
Local Advertisers India Android is around $1, iOS is in the range of $5
Vungle US Around $5 for both formats
Applovin US Around $12 to $15, both formats
Tapjoy US $13 on Android and $12 on iOS
Facebook US $12 on Android and $16 on iOS
Adcolony US $6-12 on average

Source: Vungle, Admob, Blognife

How do advertisers and publishers run incentivized ads?

In-game prizes

Incentives are especially popular in mobile gaming and in particular with gaming affiliate programs. In-game prizes often help players to advance in their game or be rewarded with exclusive bonuses that keep them gaming or working with a gaming affiliate.

Plus, when it comes to gamified platforms, studies show that users who get a reward once they’ve opened an app are more likely to open the app again.

Loyalty programs

Loyalty schemes and memberships can increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases. And over 60% of surveyed responders say the best way to interact with customers is to reward them with new offers. So, offering an incentive to join a loyalty program via incentivized ads can lead to continued purchases.

Refer a friend bonuses

The real benefits of a loyalty program come when users do something to encourage new members to join a scheme. And since referrals can generate up to twice as many sales, loyal customers can also be incentivized to promote membership amongst their peers, using incentivized ads.

Early or exclusive access to goods or services

Once a user joins a loyalty program, incentivized ads can continue to reward loyalty by offering early access or exclusive deals. And recent reports suggest there’s an increasing appetite for early access to sales, products or offers among consumers.

What customers want out of a loyalty program apart from free shipping and discounts

Competitions and sweepstakes

Advertisers can gain huge benefits from offering exciting competitions and sweepstakes through incentivized ads. For example, free prize draws and sweepstakes that offer exclusive or VIP experiences are great ways to promote incentivized app installs.

App marketers can offer free entry into a prize draw in exchange for a user installing an app.

What are the benefits of incentivized ads?

Incentivized advertising has many benefits. And there are plenty of good reasons why advertisers should embark on this type of activity.

Incentivized traffic gains high volumes of app installs in a short period

Boosting app installs in a short period of time is much easier through incentivized app installs. Rather than spending time targeting specific segments, incentivized traffic lets marketers boost app installs en mass in a simple and effective way.

CPI rates are lower

Using incentivized traffic to gain large volumes of app installs in a short period is less expensive with a CPI model over others. New app users will be downloading the app in exchange for an incentive, giving marketers a clear metric to work from.

Better able to create favourable brand impressions

One study showed over 90% of people paid attention to incentivized ads when they interacted with them. Plus, irrespective of the vertical, once people engaged with an ad, brand perceptions rose by around 40%.

The same study showed that when consumers were exposed to incentivized ads they were 150% more likely to visit a brand’s website.

Doesn’t impact the app experience

One of the great benefits of this format is that users can opt-in to see incentivized ads. And when they do, incentivized ads won’t interrupt the flow of their app. So, if they’re using a gaming app, for example, the incentivized ad won’t impede their experience of the game. But it will bring benefits to advertisers in the form of app-monetization.

Positive ROI

According to MarketingDive, in-app conversion rates increase by almost 10 times for users who interact with incentivized advertising. Plus, shopping sessions increase by almost 3x after users interact with a promoted ad.

The same report also suggested app users were likely to spend more than 4x as much on in-app purchases after they’d engaged with an incentivized ad.

Increases for app users who engage with rewarded ads

Why should I create an incentivized ads strategy?

There are several great reasons for creating a strategy to promote incentivized ads. These include:

  • Increased chance that users will make in-app purchases
  • Cost-effective
  • Higher rates of engagement than non-incentivized ads
  • Perfect for driving high volumes of app installs
  • Can re-engage lost app users
  • Cheaper than non-incentivized ads

What are the challenges of incentivized ads?

Ineffective for some app categories

Running an incentivized ad campaign may not work for all types of apps. For example, utility apps are rarely interacted with beyond irregular checks. Since they’re most often used in a functional way, running incentivized ads isn’t likely to gain much attention.

Adverse selection

A 2017 study showed users are over 25% more likely to convert after interacting with an incentivized ad. But the downside is the potential risk referred to as ‘adverse selection’, where users seek out rewards or incentives but don’t intend to install an app. And the report suggests the conversion rate is more like 13% in these cases.

Lower quality users and LTV

The average user LTV (lifetime value) of incentivized ads tends to be low, and much lower than non-incentivized ads. Some marketers suggest organic or non-incentivized ads result in gaining users with a more genuine interest in using the app. And with this stronger user intent, they may be more likely to regularly use the app.

What makes an incentivized advertising network effective?

Both advertisers and publishers use incentivized ads to promote app installs and engagement. And they’ll look for certain features from an incentivized ad network to help them realize their goals.

Most incentivized networks provide access to a range of media partners, app developers, SDK networks and major global traffic platforms. But there are also other key features:

Omnichannel, all-in-one, self-serve campaign management

Publishers and advertisers may find it convenient to work with a single, self-serve platform that simplifies campaign management. This format makes it easy to customize and run your own ads, allocate traffic, manage reporting and analyse data, all from a single console.

Quality creatives and customizable ads

Some incentivized advertising networks are available as ad-engine-as-a-service tools which can help users to design, deploy and test custom campaigns. Plus, with pre-defined APIs, users can remove the need to develop from scratch.

Targeting user intent

Some incentivized ad networks offer several targeting options for web and in-app ecosystems. These features allow advertisers to target users with different variables such as:

  • Country
  • OS
  • Adspace
  • Ad format
  • GPS Data

Real-time bidding

Real-time bidding gives advertisers the chance to focus on the most important inventory. And by expanding the potential to connect advertisers with a wide range of publishers, real-time bidding platforms can increase ROI.

Analytics and LTV reporting

Analysing and reviewing campaign results can enable better-informed decisions on how to manage campaigns. And most mobile incentivized ad networks support data management across a wide variety of attributes in all major verticals, from entertainment to news, and business to social apps.

Why should you hire an incentivized ad network?

Incentivized ad networks have the skills, experiences and expertise to drive incentivized ad campaigns that help you reach your targets. And they come with many benefits:

Targeted interactions

Incentivized networks can help to determine your customer focus by matching it to your brand. They can also use data to support audience development and help to increase conversations with consumers. User intent.

Customized ad campaigns

Many incentivized networks can help users to design and deploy custom ad campaigns using an ad-engine-as-a-service. By providing pre-defined APIs, users can launch and optimize customizable ad servers and avoid any development from scratch.

Self-managed ad targeting

Ad targeting features enable users to manage user targeting and customize ads based on their own marketing metrics.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising platforms help users to build active user bases using app install campaigns. Many of them work with CPI, CPA or ROAS models.

List of incentivized advertising networks

Engaging in incentivized advertising can bring huge rewards. Higher conversion rates, increased rates of in-app purchases and better user retention to name a few.

But it shouldn’t be embarked upon carelessly. Advertisers need to create well-thought-out strategies that incentivize users to stay loyal to an app and avoid the potential for short-lived, ephemeral usage.

So, we recommend taking a full review of our top list of incentivized advertising networks. By taking some time to select the right partner, you’ll be better able to deploy strategies that maximize the potential of incentivized ads. And you’ll be more likely to secure long-term user loyalty and retention.


List of top incentivized traffic sources and app advertising platforms

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