Use Playable Ads? 6 Tips to Make Them Great!

Use Playable Ads? 6 Tips to Make Them Great!

Playable ads have become all the rage in recent years. Their appeal lies in the fact that they result in more conversions and engage users on a higher level than any other type of ad. To illustrate just how popular these ads have become, we’ll only say that the social networking giant Facebook has recently started supporting them. Due to the massive interest, today we bring you six tips that will help you get the most of this very special ad category.

First, what are playable ads exactly?

Mostly used for promoting mobile games, playable ads are interactive, immersive advertisements that function as a mini demo of an app, giving users a taste of the game and (hopefully) making them want to come back for more. They are usually under one minute long and include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end, inviting the users to install the game (we’ll discuss CTA in playable ads later).

Having such an option drives more downloads as users are more inclined to proceed to acquire the app if they had already tested it, under the motto “try it before you buy it.” According to Chartboost, this type of ad entails a 123% increase in conversion, a 200% increase in CPM (cost per thousand) for the publisher, and a 26% increase in D7 retention (refers to the number of users who opened the app seven days after they installed it). A case study has shown that playable ad campaigns can result in as much as a 70% increase in overall conversion when compared to their static counterparts, as well as higher click-through and install rates.

Tips to turn playables into downloads

Deciding you want a playable ad to showcase the best features of your app is just the first step. Once you’ve found your marketing partner and a perfect ad network, it is time to design your playable ad. Let’s take a look at six important guidelines to ensure your playable ads yield the best results possible. We also wrote up another post on playables and their top providers – be sure to check it out.

1. Showcase your app’s unique and best features

As mentioned above, playable ads are relatively short, so let “less is more” be your guiding principle. The ad shouldn’t be the exact replica of your app, so make sure to include only your app’s best and most interesting features, as well as the features that separate it from all the other apps out there. Incorporating two or three distinctive features should be enough.


2. Short and simple is the way to go

The limited timeframe doesn’t allow room for any complicated features. Don’t make it difficult to score, as this might frustrate the users and hurt the chances of them installing your app. Remove advanced features or levels and strip the app to its core, keeping only its main element. Create a simpler version that will make people want to check out the challenge that a more complex one offers.

3. … But not always

Although in most cases (i.e. mobile games) winning is the go-to method, sometimes losing will end in better conversion rates. To be more precise, you could add a “losing” option somewhere in the ad, only to make it right with a big win. For instance, if you’re advertising a service app, offer a few choices and present selecting the wrong one (the one that is not yours) as a loss. Choosing that selection can end in demonstrating its disadvantages. Choosing the right one (your own), however, will result in a win, directing the user to install your app.

4. Make the ad’s interactive nature and features clear from the start

Users need to immediately understand that they can interact with the ad, so make sure this is obvious to them. There shouldn’t be any chance of them confusing it with an interactive gif or something like that. Guide the users through the actions they need to undertake to complete the task from the ad. You can do so with simple pointers and hints.

5. Include a CTA button

Every playable ad should have an end screen with a good call-to-action button. This button should stand out in any way possible, be it by color, border, size, font, etc. It should be more original than the boring old “Install” and tease the user, like “Next Level”, “Ready for more?”, “Beat more enemies”, “Start Saving”, and so on. Additionally, you can offer some kind of a welcome bonus like a coupon, specials deal, and such.


6. Test, optimize, repeat

All these tips are useless if you don’t use them wisely. Sometimes what you think will work for your audience will be different in reality and you might face high abandonment rates at a certain stage. This is why you must A/B test everything – change one thing and test to see if and how the results change. Experiment with a different number of levels and analyze in-ad events and figures. Playable ads include more moving parts than other ad formats, which means that they have more variables to control and optimize for.

Playing beats viewing

Although other ad categories, like banners and videos, have their advantages, playable ads are the only group that allows users to experience the product first-hand, acting as a kind of pre-qualifying instrument. If done correctly, the ad will provide an immediately engaging and fun first experience of the app, functioning as an invitation to try it out. Furthermore, the users who install an app after engaging with it via a playable ad, are more likely to return to the app later and continue their engagement over time, creating more high lifetime value (LTV) players. This is something Soomla can help you with as we can measure LTV for your playable ads, giving you valuable insights into the revenue you are making. Last, but not least, playable ads aren’t reserved for mobile games exclusively. As seen in the example of a service app mentioned above, you can use this ad format even if you’re in e-commerce, social networking or service providing.

Examples of Playable Ads

Here are some cool examples of playable ads that we found to give you some ideas:

  • Chartboost – Bubble Island
  • Ironsource – Lords Mobile
  • CrossInstall – Solitaire
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