Ad Creative Analysis Master Class

“The top ad creative has a green background – let’s put green background in all our ads”. This line of thought will get you nowhere. But let’s get to that a bit later and start with some background.

Many app marketers today invest a lot of effort into making ad creatives that convert better. Some will say that this is the biggest leverage app marketers have today and that 10-15% of the media budget has been going to creative production in the last 12 months. Based on our data in AdIntel, the top app companies use hundreds if not thousands of ad creatives over the span of 90 days. Obviously that requires a constant feed of ideas and to answer this need there are various tools to show you ad creatives used by your competition or by any other app for that matter.

Learn from top performing ads

So in a world where hundreds of thousands of ad creatives are available for you to watch and learn from an app marketer needs a strategy to curate the ads he will learn from. Some choose to focus on the ads that command the biggest budgets – this is a good proxy for performance but obviously the ideal situation would have been to focus on the ads that simply perform better. The ads that generate more engagement, more clicks and ultimately more installs of the advertised app are surely the ones to learn from.


Learn the right lesson not the wrong one

Interpretation is a key ingredient when it comes to life lessons and the situation is no different when it comes to learning what makes an ad creative work. It’s easy to jump into the conclusion when you have limited data about the ad but hopefully with the right tools and the tips below you will master the fine art of understanding what makes an ad work.

Case Study 1 – Word Connect by V Long

The first ad creative we will examine is one for Word Connect by V Long. This ad has an IPM of 110 and CTR of 96%. Both are obviously very high.

Here is a link to the ad creative

You may notice that this ad has a green background but before we go and jump into the wrong conclusion we should take a look at some other data points. For example – if we look at the heatmap we can see that most of the clicks on this ad are in the top left corner where users may expect to find the X button.

On top of that – about 70% of the clicks are not generated when the user touches the screen. In other words, the content of the ad seems to have very little impact on the high CTR.

To further support this claim we can also see that most of the clicks were generated the same number of seconds since the ad was opened.

So the conclusion here is that the high performance of this ad is generated by a UX that automatically takes the user into the app store. At the very least, this is a combination of the UX and the content that makes the ad work. Focusing only on analyzing the content of this ad could very much lead to learning the wrong lesson.

Case Study 2 – Who is? Brain Teaser & Riddles by Unico Studio

This ad has an IPM of 64.7 and CTR of over 16%.

We can look at the ad experience here

And here is the video that is the main part of the ad:

So now we want to search for clues about what makes the ad work well. We can start with the heatmap and see that most of the clicks are located in the bottom section where the action buttons appear. It’s very likely that most users who clicked on this ad were trying to click the “Play Now” button.

If we look at the histogram chart showing the distribution of clicks by time from he ad view we can 2 new clues:

  • There is a spike of clicks early on around the time when the hand appears on the screen in the video
  • The biggest spike is actually before the video ends and not on the end card. This is due to the video actually showing the “Play Now” in the bottom section in the last 5 seconds and does not wait for the end card.

Finally it’s a good idea to verify that indeed most of the clicks were generated by user touches on the screen – in this ad this is the case.

So the lesson from this ad is that the content is doing the conversion work. It might be the cartoonish look or the casual brain teasing nature of the riddles. There are 2 elements that are worth paying attention to:

  • The hand on the screen in the video
  • The appearance of the action button as part of the video rather than waiting for the end card

Case Study 3 – Pinball Go by Shape Keeper

This playable creative for Pinball Go gets 45% CTR and 82 installs for every 1,000 impressions. Let’s see what we can learn here

Here is a link to the full ad experience

So here again we start with the heatmap and things look good on that front. We have most of the clicks right in the center of the screen where the action button is.

The distribution of clicks over time looks normal for human generated clicks. We can also see that they are quite early which is inline with the ad content that gets quickly to the point.

Finally we can validate that the clicks were indeed a result of a touch on the screen.

So the conclusion here is that the the ad works mainly due to the ad content and the playable experience. 2 things to note on that front:

  • The playable ad makes the user feel like he earned something which he can lose if he doesn’t go through
  • The action button of the ad says “Cash Out” which also supports the same claim.

While promising money is something that can be either expensive or misleading. There is an interesting psychological element which may be a good lesson from this – meta game.

In the game itself we often create a meta game to create the long term retention and engagement that is created when a user becomes invested. This type of mechanism can also be used in a short playable ad as demonstrated in this ad. Showing the user that he already made some progress that can continued in the game can be highly valuable. It could be some artifact an upgrade or game currency he earned or anything else that creates that sense of progress that can be lost if the user doesn’t continue right away.

Webinar Style

This content is also available in an audio+video format if you prefer it that way.

The deepest ad creative insights

To win in the competitive gaming space you need tools that inform you about the leading creatives but that’s not enough without the deep level of insights provided by AdIntel. You can try it for free for 7 days if you take 15 seconds of your time and click below.


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Raised in the Kibbutz and reborn in the city, Yaniv is a certified entre-parent-neur. When he’s not busy doing SEO, content marketing, administration, QA, fund raising, customer support… [stop to breathe], you can find Yaniv snowboarding down the slopes of France and hiking with his kids. Yaniv holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Management from Tel Aviv University. He is also an avid blogger and a speaker at industry events. Before SOOMLA, Yaniv co-founded EyeView


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