No worries, we are not going to be as sophisticated on our topic today as the headline might indicate to you. But we thought that it would be a great idea to touch on a subject which is being brought up to us very often, for example during our even visits such as the one to Casual Connect in Tel Aviv last week. The question, for example, is often raised by gaming companies who try to generate users for their respective mobile apps. They try to figure out if they should rely on incentivized or non-incentivized traffic for their app promotion.

Although the binary choice of answers seems to simplify the question, the actual answer is not that simple. We don’t think that there is one single answer. It always depends on your specific goals and other conditions such as budget, markets and many more. Therefore we’d like to outline some pros and cons on incent as well as on non-incent traffic.

What incentivized traffic means

To start with, we give a short explanation on what incent traffic means. As the term suggests, incent traffic is traffic where the users receive something in return for an interaction with the app which is being promoted. For example: A user who is playing a mobile game wants to get some in-app goodies to ramp up his high score. In order to get these goodies he has to install and open another app. That means he is getting incentivized for his app download and he did not come up with the app download out of his own search on the web or from other sources.

Incentivized installs – cost-efficient, traffic-driving factor

The best thing about these recompensed downloads is that the visibility of your app will surely grow. This results in a rapid boost of your install numbers promoting your app into the top rankings within the app stores. While people have to open the app in order to trigger their incentives, they will also always have a brief look at your mobile product. If your app is attractive enough, they might end up as engaged users. Another advantage of incent traffic comes with the CPAs which are paid for incentivized downloads. These downloads are often way cheaper than non-incent installs because people are more likely to download an app if they get something in return.

Non-incentivized installs – highly-engaged users generated

On the other hand, less open-minded people will download your app and once they get their incentive, they will never come back to it and might even delete it right away. That is why non-incent traffic features higher payouts but will also result in more quality of the user audience. So the biggest advantage of organic downloads – which is the term for downloads where users get nothing in return – is that people are actually interested in your app right from the beginning and are more likely to become users over a longer period of time. There’s a smaller group of these people, naturally, which means the market price for a transaction is higher.

To sum it up, we’d always suggest you use a mix of both possibilities in order to gain users for your app. One scenario which has worked quite successfully in the past is to start with incentivized downloads in order to boost your app in the rankings. Once you have established a certain awareness for your app, you might cut off the rewarded downloads because people will see your app through rankings and will come by themselves. It will result in quality users with a higher retention rate.

So if you still not sure whether you can answer our almost philosophical question from the headline, feel free to send us your questions to

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