How to Bounce Back from Apple’s Crackdown on Offerwalls with the Help of Rewarded Surveys 

Even for well established publishers, monetizing an app effectively is far from easy. User preferences change over time, and keeping your approach to monetization relevant is essential. We saw the introduction of GDPR, which led to a marked decrease in ad revenue for some publishers and to other changes in 2020. Thankfully, many publishers were able to bounce back as they adjusted their monetization strategy. 

Just a few weeks ago, however, Apple began cracking down on offerwalls. Aside from traditional banner ads, in-app purchases, sponsorship, and a handful of other means of monetization, offerwalls have become an important source of income for developers in recent years. By giving users the chance to complete an offer in-app in exchange for some sort of reward (be it in-app currency, new app features, or something else), offerwalls generate revenue for publishers. 

For many publishers, Apple’s decision to take action against apps that utilize offerwalls has resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars in revenue. Fortunately, there’s good news for publishers who have been hit hard by Apple’s new policy. While offerwalls may not be the viable option they once were, rewarded surveys have emerged as a profitable monetization strategy. 

Read: How to use offerwalls in your free app?  

Rewarded surveys can actually increase user retention and engagement while simultaneously providing publishers with a source of revenue -- something that ads, offerwalls, and in-app purchases don’t manage to do. Below, we’ll take a closer look at what steps Apple has taken to ban certain types of offerwalls in App Store apps, thus causing developers to lose out on significant amounts of offerwall revenue. Then, we’ll see how rewarded surveys can help publishers replace the revenue they’ve lost as a result of the Apple crackdown. 

Apple Bans Offerwalls 

At the end of April 2018, Apple began rejecting apps which utilize incentivized installs as an offerwall, specifically CPI (Cost Per Impression) and CPE (Cost Per Engagement) campaigns. As a result, apps which incentivize users to install another app via an offerwall found themselves banned from the App Store. Apps utilizing offerwall providers such as Tapjoy were suddenly unable to provide pay-per-engagement (PPE) offers to their users. 

According to the president of Fyber, Apple’s aim is to prevent advertisers from manipulating the app charts within the App Store. Thanks to the ban on CPE and CPI incentivized installs, it’s more difficult for a publisher to use offerwalls to encourage an app user to download and install another app. 

For some developers, the impact of this ban has been enormous. Consider that according to ironSource, 15% of the top 100 grossing apps in the App Store use offerwalls for monetization. When it comes to gaming apps, that number jumps to 25%. It’s easy to see how the sudden ban on incentivized installs could have dire financial consequences for certain publishers. While CPA (Cost Per Action) offerwall campaigns haven’t been impacted by Apple’s crackdown, publishers relying heavily on CPI and/or CPE campaigns may be in trouble. According to, some developers earn a six figure income in ad revenue daily from offerwalls alone -- and some of these devs could see their revenue drop by 50-70% on iOS. In 2020 we have seen this worsen.

Recovering Lost Revenue with the Help of Rewarded Surveys 

How should heavily impacted publishers respond to these changes from Apple? On the one hand, publishers could try to place more focus on CPA and direct response (DR) type offerwall campaigns. Since these haven’t been affected by Apple’s new policy, these are still a viable means of generating revenue. Unfortunately, many publishers have been using a combination of CPA, direct response, CPE, and CPI offerwall campaigns as part of a comprehensive app monetization strategy. This means that simply placing more emphasis on CPA and DR campaigns is unlikely to be enough to compensate for losses in revenue. Instead, publishers need to take active steps to incorporate new monetization strategies into their apps. 

There are lots of options out there when it comes to monetizing your app, including traditional ads, in-app purchases, subscription services, the freemium approach, and others. But there’s one strategy in particular that’s emerging as both profitable and highly effective: rewarded surveys. While offerwalls present users with the option of completing an offer in order to access in-app currency or other rewards, a rewarded survey gives users the same sorts of rewards in exchange for answering a few questions. 

Considering that market research is a more than $40 billion per year industry, there’s a lot of potential revenue for publishers to tap into. Only about 5% of app users actually engage in various in-app purchases. 

Publishers need a way to monetize the other 95% of their user base. While other forms of monetization can potentially alienate these users, rewarded surveys actually improve user experience. In one case study, TheoremReach’s rewarded survey solution improved ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User) by 12%, increased user lifetime value by 3,000%, and managed to grow user retention amongst rewarded survey participants by a staggering 600% -- all while generating valuable revenue for the publisher. 

Don’t let Apple’s crackdown on offerwalls lead to a loss in revenue for your app. Incorporating rewarded surveys is easy with TheoremReach. Our rewarded surveys offer the highest possible eCPM and payouts to your users, all while providing you with valuable, anonymized analytics.

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Apple’s Crackdown on Offerwalls: What Can Publishers Do?
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