The Guide to Setting Up CPA Campaigns for Rewarded Ads

For app advertisers, looking for performance-based campaigns, it can get overwhelming to balance the right cost with maximum value. With 63% app customers browsing in the app store to discover new apps, how can advertisers make sure they are reaching the right users at the right time? Enter Rewarded Ads, which may serve as an alternative channel to acquire high-value users.

Rewarded Ads are opt-in ads that reward users for interacting. They usually come at an app’s transition point, for example, between game levels. Rewarded Ads usually come as an incentive for the user to gain something in exchange for interacting with the ad and performing an action. These “rewards” are correlated to the action completed. When a reward is higher, usually a more difficult user action is requested, which in turn also makes the reward more appealing to the end user. Unlike with other formats, here, a user has the option to choose whether they want to interact with the ad or not, thereby offering higher engagement.

Advertisers often wonder how incentivized traffic can improve the performance of the campaigns. A performance-focused CPA campaign can be a good way to begin because of its various benefits, that include:

  • Less susceptible to cases of fraud
  • Increased in-app activity with users who opt-in to engage and are likely to continue using the app
  • Consistent new users who complete the required action
  • Easier to re-engage users who have completed an action
  • More control as the advertiser only pays for easy-to-reach high volumes at a low price, and actual engagement.

Since the advertisers can reduce their risk and reward the user for performing an action after the install, this way, advertisers don’t pay for the users that only install the app but perform no action. Even though some churn is expected, users already invested time in the app and would likely be more active for longer.

Setting up CPA campaigns for incentivized traffic can come with its own list of do’s and don’ts to make the most of the format. Strong of our experience of running rewarded ads, we list down some guidelines that can help guide advertiser’s decisions when setting up such campaign.


  1. Do select the right KPIs and calculate your target eCPA based on how soon a user can reach an action event.
  2. Do choose an action that is likely to trigger an ROI event. For example, if an advertiser sees that starting a free trial usually leads to a subscription, it can be beneficial to make “start a free trial” as your incentivized action.
  3. Always set out an appropriate payout for the action. A good tip here to remember is that the further down the funnel an action is, the more the user engages, which requires a higher payout.
  4. Advertisers should always strive to communicate the KPIs clearly. A UA partner can only maximize volumes while optimizing towards their ROI goal if there are a set of goals set at the beginning of the campaign and a closed feedback-loop is set.
  5. While running CPA on incentivized traffic is great, do mix it up with a dynamic approach to CPI, where a price-optimization engine can calculate the eCPA of every source based on the target KPIs and adjust CPI flexibly. With this approach, an advertiser pays according to the value of each partner. Such a dynamic approach can better reflect an advertiser’s benchmark for ROI-positive acquisition.


  1. Don’t select an event that is very far down the funnel and takes hours/days to complete. Ideally, advertisers should aim at a conversion point that’s within 5-10 minutes, but maximum 30 minutes into the funnel.
  2. Be careful of not selecting an event where the users have to enter their personal details such as a mobile number or credit card details. Too much personal information at such an early stage is likely to scare users away.
  3. Don’t approach optimization without a clear strategy in mind. Always check with your ad partner on the best optimization
  4. Don’t be vague about the conversion point. It is important for the user to understand what action is required to complete a successful conversion. For example, if the action is ‘Complete the Tutorial,’ it needs to be very clear to the user when the tutorial begins and where it ends.

To Sum Up

Efficiently engaging the users to maximize conversions forms the very basis of performance-based mobile advertising. Rewarded ads as a channel are increasingly preferred to reach the users. For advertisers starting to test waters with rewarded ads, it is beneficial to work with an experienced ad partner who can effectively strategize how best to work with rewarded ads at intelligent pricing. Incent CPA is a good way for advertisers to explore rewarded ads and reduce their risk by rewarding the user for performing an action after the install.

Ready to try out incent CPA? Get in touch or check out our blog for more on this topic!

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