Playable ads are the most cost-effective 

Liftoff is releasing its fourth annual Creative Index Report, examining how advertisers can get the best performance in the new privacy-focused world.
Liftoff’s Mobile Ad Creative Report shows Android coming in 2x less than iOS, with playable ads representing the most value across gaming formats.

Liftoff, the leading growth acceleration platform for the mobile industry, fuels the entire mobile app growth cycle, unveiling its fourth annual Mobile Ad Creative Index report. The report analyses trends across four key app verticals: gaming, e-commerce, finance, and entertainment. The key finding was that playable ads have the most affordable cost-per-install (CPI) at $1.98, well below the average of $3.79 from all five ad formats for gaming, making them an attractive format for game marketers. It looks like the question of which ads are most effective is answered.

Liftoff’s report analyzed nearly 805 billion impressions across 12.6 billion clicks and 200 million installs between January 1, 2021, and January 1, 2022, to find the following:

‘Play before buying’ drives app engagement 

If 2021 were the year of privacy protection, 2022 would be the year for ad creative excellence. With Apple eliminating access to IDFA and Google pledging to make similar privacy-first moves on Android, app marketers need better, more relevant creatives to reach and retain new audiences. 

Playable ads rise above the rest as the clear winner for mobile marketer needs. Examining a “split-by-platform” view, CPI on Android comes in at $1.41 (vs. $3.66 on iOS). These interactive ads are also a transparent boost to audience engagement, ultimately driving user acquisition. They cost 2x less on Android than on iOS, but playable, along with banner and interstitial, fall well below the most expensive native ad—which shows high costs on Android ($4.82) and iOS ($7.38).

From January to December 2021, playable ads remained consistently the most cost-effective ad format month-to-month, other than in September, where they tied with banner ads—and of course, the release of iOS 15. This makes playable ($1.98), followed by banner ads ($2.82), an attractive format for mobile gaming marketers looking to unlock the full potential of the mobile experience without shelling out to accommodate high costs.

Even if you’re not promoting a gaming app—playable has a lot to offer. Introducing an interactive element to an e-commerce ad drives real engagement without compromising the brand. Interactive ads allow users to play before they buy. Those who view the ad can interact with it as a preview of what they could do in the app, and, according to Liftoff data, it is the most cost-effective ad format.

“Understanding what motivates your target audience is key for marketers to get ahead of the curve, and the data shows that playable are where it’s at. As mobile marketers look at the big picture this year, it’s important to factor in platform needs for engaging, interactive ads to pique the interest of your custom industry audience.”

Mark Ellis, Liftoff CEO and co-founder.

Android holds onto ‘affordable’ reign as 2022 report highlights 2x iOS costs

Confirming the year-over-year (YoY) predictions first reported in the 2021 report, Android continues to win ad creative with cheaper costs and higher value across ad formats. Specifically, Android devices are less expensive in gaming across all ad formats.

As a takeaway, it’s wise for mobile marketers to continue to target Android to pique the interest of potential audiences for value. Additionally, CPI rates are higher across the board on iOS than on Android—but nearly every ad format saw a CPI increase within the year. Video ads nearly doubled from $3.44 to $6.09.

Level up: Player motivations are the future of performance marketing 

As marketers adapt to ad preferences, they must think of the motivating factors that drive engagement for users. Marketers who can match player motivations match creative ad types can unlock real potential.

While looking at gaming ads, the report found that only 4% of casual game video ads successfully tap into the top player motivation in that category, “completing milestones,” meaning 96% don’t reach their motivation potential. As gaming marketers look toward successful practices, they should begin to lean into ads that get above the 3.38 average for users.

For the “excitement and thrill” category, over 99% failed to hit this specific player motivation score across mid-core game ads. This statistic can lead ad creatives to deliver fast-paced and suspenseful actions to thrill-seeking audiences.

For more information on Liftoff and to download the full report, visit here

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