Make Money

Watch Ads and Earn Money: 6 Best Sites for Quick Cash

Watch Ads for Money
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Getting paid to watch ads is a real thing, but it’s important to go in with realistic expectations: while the sites and apps on this list do pay (either in cash or free gift cards), the pay rate is very low.

To compile the list below, we collected data from user reviews on platforms like Trustpilot, the Better Business Bureau, the App Store and Google Play. Then we dug into what real users had to say on forums across the web. Lastly, we tested the sites and apps ourselves to verify that they work and pay as advertised.

Our top picks include:

  • Best overall: Swagbucks. Earn rewards by watching ads, then complete small tasks like answering questions. Swagbucks has the most ways to earn money and a low minimum withdrawal ($3), making it our top choice.
  • Best for Short Videos: InboxDollars. Specializing in brief ad content, InboxDollars offers a quick and efficient way to earn money by watching ads.
  • Best for movie trailers: MarketForce. Get paid to visit movie theaters to watch ads and previews.
  • Best for passive income: Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel. Effortlessly earn rewards while this app gathers user data to contribute to essential market research.

Note: The review counts and ratings data contained in this article were last updated on February 7, 2024. We update this article regularly throughout the year to keep the data current.

#1. Swagbucks Video

PlatformsTrustpilot RatingiOS ratingGoogle Play Rating
iOS, Android, mobile browser and desktop4.2/5 with ‎36,031 reviews4.4/5 with ‎110,420 reviews4.2/5 with 137,285 votes

Swagbucks gets a lot of attention and is widely considered one of the best overall survey and rewards websites. That’s partly because it’s more versatile than many others. In addition to making money watching ads, you can get paid for taking surveys, playing games and more.

In fact, we identified over 20 different ways to make extra money on the site in our comprehensive Swagbucks review.

While you’re not going to get rich from watching videos and ads through Swagbucks, the extra cash does add up over time — especially if you combine it with some of the better money-makers on the site, such as its online shopping portal. 

For example, if you’re booking a vacation, Swagbucks often has cash-back offers on travel websites like Expedia that pay up to 5% (and occasionally more). These larger purchases are a great way to rack up reward points quickly. Those points, called SBs, can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal cash.

There’s also a $10 sign-up bonus, which you can earn after spending $25 through the cash-back shopping portal. 

Swagbucks ($10 Bonus)
Put cash back in your wallet

Put cash back in your wallet

Get paid to shop online, watch videos, take surveys and play games with this all-in-one rewards site. Redeem your points for gift cards and PayPal cash starting at just $3.

#2. InboxDollars 

PlatformsTrustpilot RatingiOS ratingGoogle Play Rating
iOS, Android, mobile browser and desktop4.1/5 with 137,285 reviews4.5/5 with 191,553 reviews4.2/5 with ‎146,321 votes

InboxDollars is another legitimate, widely-used rewards website, having paid out millions to its members since its inception in 2000.

The Penny Hoarder claims you can make up to $225 a month by watching ads, movie trailers, app trailers and other videos on the site.

Based on the research and testing we conducted for our InboxDollars review, that figure seems like the high end of the range. We estimate the average person can earn $25 to $50 per month with consistent usage.

As with Swagbucks, you can also earn cash by taking surveys, printing and redeeming coupons, shopping online, browsing the internet and reading emails. And if you’re a gamer, you can get paid for playing games like sudoku, solitaire, chess, arcade games and crossword puzzles.

You’ll also get $5 just for signing up. 

While the site does have great reviews, the one drawback compared to Swagbucks is that you’ll need $15 in your account to request a payment. Swagbucks has no minimum withdrawal, with most of its cash-out options starting at just $3.

Visit InboxDollars.

#3. MyPoints

PlatformsBBB RatingiOS ratingGoogle Play Rating
iOS, Android, mobile browser and desktop3.16/5 with 454 reviews4.2/5 with 6,012 reviews3.6/5 with ‎‎7,318 votes

MyPoints is a decent tool to use to watch ads for money. Some of the entertaining videos you can watch include things like Golden Globes coverage and gossip from Hollywood. The problem is that the videos on the platform don’t pay much.

But there are other ways to earn extra cash on the site, and most of them pay better. You can cash in on your hobbies to make money, like playing games, traveling, using coupons and filling out online survey questionnaires.

You’ll earn a $5 signup bonus for taking five surveys. And since the minimum payout is only around $3 (depending on the option you choose), it’s easy to quickly earn a free gift card, travel miles or PayPal cash.

Learn more about the site in our MyPoints review.

#4. Ibotta

PlatformsTrustpilot RatingiOS ratingGoogle Play Rating
iOS and Android3.0/5 with 7,318 reviews4.8/5 with 1,758,652 reviews4.5/5 with ‎‎672,223 votes

Ibotta is a bit different than other get-paid-to-watch apps, because it’s not as simple to use as just clicking “Play” and letting a video roll. But it does offer some of the best reward-for-effort of any option on this list.

After creating an account, you open the app to look for in-store offers that you want to take advantage of. For example, you might see an offer for $1 cash-back on any loaf of bread, or $2 cash-back when you buy a specific brand of yogurt. 

In the screenshot below, you can see an example of an offer for $3 cash-back on any three boxes of cereal:

Ibotta ceral offer example
Many of Ibotta’s cash-back offers can be used at any store.

To qualify for this cash-back, you’ll need to click a button to add the offers to your account. And in some cases you’ll be asked to watch a short video ad. (That’s usually the case with the highest-value offers.) 

Ibotta started out as strictly a cash-back app for groceries, and it’s still one of the best ways to save money at the grocery store. But recently, the app has added additional ways to earn rewards, such as via online shopping and by linking your store loyalty cards.

Just make sure to grab your receipt! You’ll need to snap a picture of it to claim your rewards.

Learn more in our Ibotta review.

#5. Market Force

Are you a movie buff? Do you love seeing the previews of all the new movies that will be coming out soon? Why not cash in on that passion?

Movie studios are eager to learn more about their audiences and what brings them in. To get that information, they pay audience members to give them the details they want.

It’s like mystery shopping, but in a movie theater. Check out Market Force Information to see the opportunities available and fill out a brief application.

If you’re selected, you’ll get email alerts for assignments in your area, which include:

  • Watching and recording each movie trailer that plays before a movie.
  • Counting the number of patrons in attendance at a certain show.
  • Watching the different advertisements the movie theater plays before the trailers start.

Pay varies by area, but you can expect to earn around $10 per theatre check.

#6. Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel

PlatformsBBB RatingiOS ratingGoogle Play Rating
iOS and AndroidN/A3.8/5 with 314 reviews4.1/5 with ‎‎11,560 votes

You can make up to $50 per year through the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel. All you have to do is download their app to your smartphone and then use the device as you normally would — whether you’re watching TV shows online, scrolling social media or playing games.

Participants are also entered into sweepstakes, so you could potentially win more than $50 a year. Every month, the company gives away $10,000, which is split between 400 winners — with the grand prize winner getting $1,000.

The set-up process is easy. All you have to do is give your basic information, create a username and password, and install the app. Then you’re done. 

If you’re going to be online anyway, this is a good opportunity to make a bit of cash off of it.

Additional Options

The following sites are all frequently recommended platforms, and while we’ve verified that each one does allow you to get paid to watch ads, we do not recommend them for the reasons explained below.

  • AdWallet. This website was functional in the past but is currently out of business.
  • GG2U: This rewards site offers video ads, paid surveys and more, and it has relatively good reviews from users with a 4.2/5 rating on Trustpilot. However, the site has a reputation for deducting unredeemed points from users’ account balances — often for dubious reasons and without sufficient explanation.
  • GrabPoints and ZoomBucks: The bulk of the earning opportunities on these nearly-identical sibling sites are reserved for people who live outside the United States.
  • InstaGC: During the testing for our InstaGC review, we earned an average of just five cents per hour watching ads on the site. The one plus is that you can run these videos in the background, making this a (limited) passive income source.
  • QuickRewards: Has a 1 cent minimum redemption and claims to have paid out more than $7 million to members since 2002, but it only has a 3.4/5 rating from users on Trustpilot.
  • ySense: Owned and operated by the same company that runs Swagbucks, ySense is an online rewards site with a dedicated video ads section called ySense Watch. Unfortunately, users report that it rarely has any ads available.

Make Money Watching Ads: FAQs

How much money can you make watching ads?

Your earning potential will vary depending on the site you choose, your demographics, and a variety of other factors. But even in a best-case scenario, you should view this as a source of side income. Your monthly earnings will be in the $10s, not the $100s.

Why do these companies pay people for watching ads?

The monetization strategy of each site differs, but in general, these sites and apps give you a share of the revenue they earn from delivering their partners’ ads to your eyeballs. 

Video ads produce much better results than standard digital ads, so advertisers are willing to pay a premium to make sure they’re actually viewed. That means rewards sites like the ones listed here can split their ad revenue with their users, creating a win-win scenario.

Can you get paid for watching YouTube videos?

We are not aware of any legit ways to get paid to watch YouTube videos. If you know of any, please share them in the comment section below!

Can you get paid for watching ads on Shopkick?

Technically, the answer to this question is “yes.” Shopkick will pay you for watching ads within the app. However, the pay rate is a fraction of a penny per 30-second view, so we didn’t include it in this list. You can learn more about the app’s pros and cons in our Shopkick review.

Are there better ways to make money online?

Watching ads is one of the lowest-paying “get paid to” tasks you can find. You can often earn more money by completing online surveys or even just by signing up for websites and offers

How do you become a Nielsen Family?

Many websites list Nielsen Family as one of the best ways to watch ads for money. Like Ibotta, Nielsen is a little bit different than a typical reward site that allows you to click “Play,” watch a video, and get paid. 

The company is one of the largest consumer research firms in America, and is most well-known as the company that provides the TV viewership ratings that determine whether or not shows get renewed for a new season or canceled.

Nielsen has a program called Nielsen Families that pays households monthly for allowing the company to track their TV viewership, in addition to filling out surveys about their TV habits. Nielsen then sends this viewership data (which is confidential) to networks so they can make better decisions about what shows to keep on the air. 

The big downside — and the reason Nielsen Family didn’t make our list of the top options — is that the program is invite-only. There’s literally no way to sign up; you just have to be on the lookout for an invitation in the mail.

On the positive side, Nielsen sends over 1 million new invites every year, so the odds of being invited aren’t as bad as they might seem.

Can you get paid to watch TV shows?

This article is devoted specifically to watching ads for money, but there are ways to get paid for watching longer-form content like TV shows. Check out our guide to getting paid to watch videos for a list of the best options.

Is It Worth It to Watch Ads For Money?

When using the sites listed above, it is possible to get paid to watch ads, app trailers, and other types of short video content. And if you enjoy the content you’re watching, it isn’t the worst way to spend a few minutes of your free time.

But it’s important to recognize that your earnings on a per-hour basis will be very low — most likely $1 to $2 per hour in an absolute best-case scenario.

Plus, to actually see any money in your bank account, you need to earn the minimum withdrawal amount for any given site. On some sites (like Swagbucks) that minimum is $5 or less, which is reasonable. But on other sites, the minimum withdrawal can be as high as $20 or $30, and you’re unlikely to ever earn that much from watching videos alone.

So at the end of the day, this doesn’t rank as one of the best ways to make money online. See our list of the best money-making apps for better options.

For those looking for a more legit, video-based side hustle, getting paid to do movie theater audits can produce a decent hourly wage. You can learn more about how to get started in our beginner’s guide to mystery shopping.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ since 2010. Holding a B.A. in finance and having completed the CFP® certification curriculum at The American College, R.J. combines formal education with a deep commitment to providing unbiased financial insights. Recognized as a trusted authority in the financial realm, his expertise is highlighted in major publications like Business Insider, New York Times, and Forbes.

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