Why are Playable Ads so attractive?

How do Playable Ads with a high conversion rate help grab market share?
Text heavy image showing a person playing a mobile game

Just as its name implies, playable ads are ads that are playable. Playable ads provide the opportunity to play a little of the advertised games, reproducing the games’ core bright scenes. When a playable ad reaches users through web pages, without downloading and installing the app, the users can try the game through the playable ad. In short, traditional ads are mostly words, images, or videos, but playable ads are like a fitting room for users to try the games and experience the game scenes, so users can make a better decision as to whether they want to purchase (download) the games.

Playable ads achieved an outstanding result in 2021. According to the data from Liftoff+Vungle, from January 2021 to January 2022, playable ads had achieved 12.6 billion hits, 200 million installments, and 805.0 billion expressions. Among various new ad formats, playable ads have become the best marketing method on mobile platforms. Meanwhile, playable ads are also the most cost-efficient ad format, with an average CPI of $1.98, the lowest of all CPIs for other ad formats.

Deep analysis of the production and characteristics of playable ads

Gaming CPI by Ad Format graphics
Data from Liftoff and Vungle

Through an analysis of the hot creatives, SocialPeta figures out some tips for producing playable ads that can improve user experience and downloads:

1. Display the real in-game scenes, otherwise, users may find the games unsatisfied;

2. Specify the user guide elements, which will ensure the gameplay easy enough for users to win. Because most users hate to lose;

3. Keep the time length of the whole playable ad within the 30s, so users will have a complete experience and at the same time won’t feel bored. After all, our purpose is to make users download the app, not let users play the whole game through the playable ad.

A middle aged mustached men in mud in a house looking up
After being screened by several rounds of media buying, playable ads may be able to make the creatives for “pin-pulling puzzle” games popular again

Playable ads are more widely applied thanks to their communication characteristics:

1. The high interaction of playable ads bridges the gap between ads and games;

2. Higher-quality users and higher retention rate. Users who have downloaded the app after experiencing the interaction of playable ads are generally more satisfied with the app.

3. More precise user feedback. A tap that leads to the playable ad is counted as one effective tap, which filters out a lot of ineffective data.

After many years, playable ads have developed from the format of a game demo into many other formats. Below is an analysis by SocialPeta of the new playable ads with excellent performance.

Mid-core and hard-core games focus on details

The advertisers of most playable ads are casual or simulation light games. But are playable ads not suitable for mid-core and hard-core games? Of course, they are.

The core of playable ads is to explain the game’s gameplay to gamers, but most mid-core and hard-core games have complicated gameplays, making it technologically difficult for playable ads to display their gameplays. But lighter gameplays can be designed for the playable ads of mid-core and hard-core games, lowering the threshold of playable ads in order to expand the user base.

A customizable weapon playable ad by CoD Mobile
Advertiser: COD: Mobile    Advertising Platform: Google Ads   Duration: 150+ days   Estimated Impressions: 1.1M
An add by AppLovin for the mobile game King's Choice
Advertiser: King’s Choice    Advertising Platform: AppLovin   Duration: 90+ days   Estimated Impressions: 1.0M

Playable ads are similar to short videos when it comes to attracting attention. Both of them are videos starting with elements that induce users to tap them open. Unlike the old video ads which tell fixed stories and there’s nothing users can do to change them, playable ads allow users to actually experience the ads. Moreover, SocialPeta also found that most playable ads would add download links at the end which is also the most tempting part, in order to attract more people to download and install the games.

King’s Choice replaces the common plot choice videos with playable ads which allow users to actually interact with the in-game NPCs. And the selections will lead in different directions. Most importantly, the stories end just perfectly at the most important part and then provide the download links.

Watch before playing, a complete experience

The biggest characteristic of its creatives is that it doesn’t start with a game demo but a 15-second video explaining its gameplay, which will encourage gamers who are interested in the gameplay to stay and try the following game demo. It makes sure that the interested gamers will notice and try it. Most importantly, it makes sure that those gamers would be happy to download and play the game after the ads.

Someone playing Magic Jigsaw Puzzle on a tablet
Advertiser: Magic Jigsaw Puzzles Advertising Platform: AdColony Duration: 300+ days Estimated Impressions: 4.3M.

This ad creative from the advertiser Magic Jigsaw Puzzles was released as early as July 2021 and has been released for over 300 days, generating a total of over 4.3 million estimated impressions. If you are interested in jigsaw puzzle games, I’m sure you will want to download and play the game after watching and trying the playable ad.

On August 11, SocialPeta will partner with Game Factory, SHAREit, and Appska to take deep into maximizing user acquisition in gaming apps, sign up now to save your seat!

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