Offerwalls are in-app ads that incentivize users to take particular actions. In return, the user gets an in-app reward and the developer gets paid by the advertiser. This gives publishers an opportunity to monetize their app while boosting engagement and retention.

What is an offerwall?

What is an offerwall?

You know how sometimes you need an extra life in Candy Crush or a hint in Bejeweled Classic? And the game or app will give it to you, if you simply watch a video, take a survey, or register your name? Then you know what an offerwall is.

For publishers, offerwalls can be a smart way to turn your mobile app, website, or digital content into a source of revenue. It’s an advertising format that means you get paid every time a user completes an offer. 

Not only that — the user reaps virtual rewards as well, delighting them and ensuring they’ll come back for more. 

Offerwalls are popular in the freemium app market (where users can download the app for free, but pay for additional features or content within it). In apps using a hybrid monetization model, offerwalls have been shown to account for up to 38% of ad revenue. And while they’re most common in gaming, they can work well in other sectors too.

The offerwall superpower is driving retention, by enabling users to play for longer. Read on to find out how offerwalls can make you money through engagement and rewards.

How does an offerwall work?

Offerwalls are a clever tool that entices users to extend their app session, and possibly even spend a little coin in the process.

Picture it: Your users are at a crucial point in their game when, much to their dismay, they realize they’re out of game currency. Suddenly, a pop-up appears that says “earn currency.” You’ve anticipated their needs and put a solution right in front of them. All they have to do is complete a simple task.

Here’s the best part: Users get a range of offers to choose from (that’s where the “wall” element comes in). So, they can pick which one, if any, to engage with to get the reward they want, giving them a sense of control. 

How does an offerwall work?

Benefits of using offerwalls

While offerwalls aren’t perfect, they have a number of advantages great for developers looking to monetize their apps.

Monetize non-paying users

Users don’t have to spend money to bring you revenue. By engaging with an offerwall ad — like a rewarded video — they can keep playing for free, while you get paid by the advertiser. 

Increase engagement and retention

In mobile gaming, offerwalls give users a powerful reason to keep playing. A reward like extra game currency will extend their session and tempt them to come back sooner. In fact, research shows that using offerwalls can boost retention by 40%. That’s got to be good news for your ARPU (average revenue per user) and LTV (lifetime value). 

Create a positive user experience

Whereas traditional mobile ads can interrupt (and annoy) users, offerwalls put the user in charge. They’re seeing something relevant and can choose if and how to engage. Plus, they get a reward!

Boost your eCPM

eCPM, or effective cost per mille, is the revenue a publisher earns from 1,000 ad impressions on their app. The more users engage with the ads you show, the higher it will be. With offerwalls, you’re serving highly appealing content to an already engaged audience — resulting in some of the highest eCPMs in the business. 

Broaden your revenue strategy

While offerwalls may not be enough to monetize your app on their own, they’re effective as part of a hybrid monetization strategy. Use them alongside in-app ads and in-app purchases, and you’ve got all bases covered. 

Challenges with offerwalls

There are plenty of enticing perks, but offerwalls do come with a few potential pitfalls. Here’s what you need to know. 

Network limitations

A lot of ad networks don’t support the offerwall format, which limits the ad creative options.

Restrictions on iOS

Apple’s policy restricts ads from incentivizing users to download another game or app. This means cost per engagement (CPE) offers are no longer allowed on iOS offerwalls, which severely limits publishers.

Risk to in-app purchases

Some developers fear that giving stuff away for free will discourage users from making purchases. Admittedly, it’s a tricky balancing act — but, done right, offerwalls can actually encourage purchases by giving users a taste of a more premium experience. 

5 ways to maximize offerwall revenue

Are you developing the next Candy Crush, and getting ready to monetize? Here are some easy lifts to optimize your app’s engagement, retention, and revenue:

1. Segment your users

Offerwall audience segmentation

Different users should be offered different offerwalls. Here are a few examples for segmenting your audience:

Understanding your users at this level allows you to send more targeted offers, which increases your chances of higher engagement, retention, and revenue.

2. Make it feel seamless

Most ad networks will let you customize offerwalls to match your app or game’s user experience. This makes for a more seamless user experience, rather than an annoying interruption.

Make sure things like your color scheme, header, language, and images fit with the rest of your app, so the offerwall feels like an integral part of the game. That way, users are more likely to engage with the offers and continue playing. 

3. Keep the content fresh

Because ad and banner fatigue is real. If users see the same ad too often, they’ll stop paying attention. Updating your offerwall with new content will help increase user engagement and retention.

Whenever you develop new creatives, remember to carry out A/B testing to help you identify the version that resonates most with users. 

4. Be clear on your rewards

Be sure to include a strong call to action that highlights the benefits of each offer. Keep it short and snappy, like “Get 10 more lives” or “Earn coins now”. 

Once users tap on the offer, ensure it’s quick and hassle-free to complete the action and get back to your app. 

5. Time it right

Analyze user behavior to pinpoint the right time to make your offers. It could be on certain tricky levels, when their game currency reaches a particular low, or after a set length of time when you know users tend to drop off. This makes your offers feel more natural and more likely to generate a positive response. 

Key takeaways

  1. Offerwalls are common in mobile games, and reward users for taking specific actions. They’re a form of in-app advertising where the publisher gets paid when a user takes the desired action.
  2. Used in the freemium app market as part of a hybrid monetization strategy, offerwalls enable you to gain revenue from non-paying users. 
  3. By putting users in control, offerwalls create a positive user experience that leads to increased engagement and retention. This translates into higher ARPU, LTV, and eCPM.
  4. Challenges with offerwalls include ad network limitations and iOS restrictions. You also have to be careful not to give too much away for free.
  5. To maximize offerwall success, you should segment users so they see relevant offers. Aim to create a seamless experience with fresh and engaging content, clear rewards, and perfect timing. 
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