Rewarded Surveys as a form of monetization in mobile games is becoming more popular, but there is very little information and data published about them. This article is a primer covering what you, as an app developer or publisher, need to know. It will provide some background about the market research industry and, most importantly, performance data and other key considerations to help you stay informed when it comes to Rewarded Surveys.

Market Research is a $40B Industry

The market research industry undergoing a massive transition as it fights to keep pace with rapid technological change amongst consumers and businesses. The purpose of market research is to help businesses to make more informed decisions by asking questions to relevant audiences. This means that Research Buyers need to be current in terms of technology and consumer trends, which makes this the perfect sibling to the well known advertising industry.

Over $40B is spent on market research annually, placing this industry in the same league as certain digital advertising segments in terms of annual spending levels. Similar to the advertising industry, market research has gone through a progressive evolution over the past sixty years to keep up with consumer technology. During the 1950’s, methodologies were primarily driven by data collected through face-to-face interviews. This process evolved from face-to-face to phone-based interviews during the 1970’s and since the 1990’s, online research has been the primary practice through email-based membership panels across the world.

But email is an antiquated medium and research panels are expensive to build and maintain and have very high attrition rates.

Mobile Rewarded Surveys are the next evolution in market research. They make it possible to turn this $40B a year industry into a global monetization opportunity for F2P mobile games. Rewarded Surveys are simple and work much like the popular Rewarded Video formats common in mobile games today. They give gamers a new, opt-in mobile format to earn virtual currency by sharing their opinions about top brands.

Economics

Rewarded Surveys bring a significant revenue opportunity to Game Developers. The economics work on a CPA model where Developers are paid for each completed survey (CPA). Payouts range between $1-$10+ per complete and Developers choose how much virtual currency to reward based on their economy. This translates to high value rewards to the user as currency payouts often reach levels 50–200X higher than a comparable Rewarded Video view. From an ARPDAU perspective, the key is to build monetization mechanics that encourage high opt-in rates. This varies by game but a 10% opt-in rate is a good benchmark and eCPMs are calculated from Conversion Rate (CVR) and the CPA. The average CVR also varies by game type and we see ranges from 15%-30% on average. Repeat usage is key because the average repeat user will convert 2X the overall average.

For modeling purposes, let’s assume a game with 100,000 DAU and a 10% Opt-In Rate monetizing with Rewarded Surveys. Using conservative benchmarks, the monthly model would net out to:

300,000 Survey Wall Impressions X 15% CVR X $1 CPA = $45,000 Monthly Revenue @ $150 eCPM and $.015 ARPDAU

With the high CPA and high CVRs of Rewarded Survey this game would add an additional 1.5 cent ARPDAU by monetizing the 10% opt-in DAU.

User Experience

Immediately upon completion, users are rewarded with in-app virtual currency and the mobile developer is paid.

Below is an example:

In our experience, mobile gamers enjoy sharing their opinion about top brands and services. They want to be part of the product development process and view it as a way to help shape the future.

Below are a few reviews from users that have completed surveys with TapResearch, a market research technology company that bridges the gap between Research Buyers and free-to-play (F2P) Games.

Fill Rate vs. Match Rate

I am often asked about fill rate but a better way to think about this topic for Rewarded Surveys is in terms of “match rate.” Match Rate is the rate at which survey inventory is matched to an individual based on demographics. Research Buyers need specific demographics of respondents e.g. Mom’s with two children living in the US, to complete their studies effectively. The key to a high match rate is aggregating a wide range of high volume survey providers that cover the spectrum of all demographics.

TapResearch works with hundreds of Research Buyers with rapidly growing needs to find respondents across the globe. We currently support localized research in 23 countries with fastest growth in Australian, South American and Asian markets. Each day there are 500K-750K individual surveys available for mobile users and our match rate among US residents over the age 18 is 99%.

Keys to Success

There are many monetization formats to choose from in F2P gaming. Below are three best practices to improve user experience and yield with this format.

1. Opt-In Only

Rewarded Surveys perform best when users actively opt-in. We see the highest results when surveys are presented during “shopping moments” in a game. Think about your game flow and the moments when a user is in need of an upgrade. These are the best moments to present an opportunity to earn.

2. Context and User Expectations

Set clear expectations with your gamers by adding context to your Call-to-Actions. Gamers often have a choice between iAP, Offers, Video or Surveys to accrue virtual currency. By setting clear user expectations, your gamers will have much more opt-in success and produce higher yield.

There are three ways to set expectations with Rewarded Surveys. The first is to be explicit with the Call-to-Action. Tell users exactly what to expect when they opt-in:

Example: Setting context with Call-to-Actions

Second, be upfront with size of reward for completing surveys. Our datashows that reward size is the #1 motivating factor gamers consider before choosing to take a survey. Promote this and let users know how much currency they can expect to earn for completing this action.

Example: Using reward size as a motivator in Call-to-Actions

Lastly, set expectations regarding the time it takes to complete a survey. We do this by giving users choice over which survey to take once they’ve opted in. When users know exactly how much time an action will take and the size of the reward, they will be more successful.

Example: Setting expectations regarding time to complete action.

3. Confirmation Message

Once a user completes a survey with TapResearch they are taken back into gameplay. It is important to recognize their effort with a congratulations message of the reward they have just earned. A proper message here will make users feel good about their work and cause them to come back — which is important because repeat users convert at twice the rate.

Benefits

The benefits of Rewarded Surveys in F2P games range from international revenue to audience insights data. Below are a four reasons why you should consider this format in your game:

  1. High Yield — Rewarded Surveys pay between $1-$10 per completed survey making this a high reward, high yield monetization product.
  2. Consistency — There are very few “burst campaigns” in market research. Buyers needs are ongoing across all industries including CPG, Auto, Music, Education, Food & Hospitality, Entertainment and many more. This produces a constant flow of fresh survey inventory throughout the year, regardless of the season.
  3. International — Finding quality international respondents is a growing need for Research Buyers. We work with dozens of clients looking for respondents in Asia, Australia, EMEA and South America. This need aligns well with game developers that have large international audiences and are looking for more ways to monetize outside of the US.
  4. Audience Data — Lastly, Rewarded Surveys provide us with a tremendous amount of anonymous, 1st-party audience data such as: age, gender, income, relationship status, ethnicity and more. Developers can glean additional audience insights from both logged-in and logged-out game usage. Common use cases include: advanced user segmentation, data enrichments and UA targeting.

Consider Rewarded Surveys

I hope this article provides a pragmatic overview of the market research industry and how it applies to game monetization. Reward-based monetization is just one piece of the F2P model to consider and I hope the information in this post sheds light on this new opt-in format.

TapResearch brings the research industry to mobile. We make it easy for traditional Research Buyers to distribute mobile surveys in F2P games with a product that understands game mechanics and in-game virtual economies — we call them Rewarded Surveys.

In a later article, we will explore case studies of the publishers we work with and expound upon best practices and learnings from some of the largest mobile game publishers in the world.

If you would like to learn more about TapResearch, and about how Rewarded Surveys can generate a new revenue source for your game, please visit www.tapresearch.com/monetization or feel free to contact me directly at michael@tapresearch.com.


About me

My name is Michael Sprague and I work at TapResearch, a mobile research technology company that helps game developers access global revenue and audience insights through personalized rewarded surveys.

Prior to this, I’ve held various marketing and business roles at Disney, Hasbro, Kiip and URX.

Thank you to Kevin Fishner, Ryan Lessard, and Kunaal Arya for their input and feedback on this post.