Playable And Game-simulation Ads And How to Succeed With It

Playable ads - a growing trend among digital marketers in recent years, attracting new users with an interactive "piece" of the game. In this article, we were analyzing the popularity and prospects of this kind of advertisement with case studies and tips.

What is a playable ad and why so much hype around it in recent time? 

Playable Ads is a rich media format, allowing mobile users an opportunity to try a “piece of the game” by playing from 15 seconds to 60 seconds without installing. It’s like a game inside of other game, an advertisement, but unostentatious and interactive. That’s why this kind of ads usually boosting conversion rates, expanding global reach and the overall install volumes. And we going to take a look at how it works with some cases.

In 2015, when the conception of a playable advertisement was relatively fresh for the mobile industry, there are were only 8.7% of app marketers excited about future of playable ads, while social video and full-screen video were taken the lead among all user acquisition channels.


Today, in 2017, the situation is changed. Now, the area of playable ads is a subject of close attention for many of marketing specialists and already quite competitive space for companies, involving in making and delivering the playables to app and game developers. Google, for instance, pushed this technology to the new level by providing Android game developers with new tools for integrating playables within other games and tracking how users are interacting with their mobile titles through the playable ads.

So, in 2017, as was found by App Install Marketing Survey, already 45% of mobile marketers are most enthused about playable ads and this percentage is even higher than social and full-screen taken together.

Campaign examples

More and more publishers now have, at least, one successful campaign, using the playables. There are such examples as Miniclip, who doubled its CPMs through Playable Ads for one of their mobile game called or PuzzleSocial, with its Daily Celebrity Crossword, which cumulated a Conversion Rate with 20% higher after the campaign.


For non-gaming apps, too, playable ads are an exciting medium to explore.  A travel app could have a playable ad with the set of letters, spelling out a specific city, a food delivery app could have a simple puzzle, showing a popular dish by successful fulfillment. A nice example of food app gamification is Burger King’s “The Angriest Whooper” campaign for German market with fast casual game integrated into existing mobile app. The player was challenged to collect 20 Jalapeños in under 20 seconds in order to unlock an exclusive discount coupon.



Let’s take a look at the case of successful playable ads campaign, published by Chartboost. Here is Wooga’s quite popular adventure title “Pearl’s Peril”. In front of the over 224 game environments with hidden objects, there is only one short gaming ad unit, aiming for getting the user's attention, taking averagely less than 30 seconds for discovering all hidden objects on the unit and attract the gamer to the full version of the game.

As a result, Wooga’s global playable ad campaign showed much higher results than a “static” advertisements. The game developers have emphasized a CR increase about 70%, with a 12.7%increase in Day 1 retention. In general, the playable ad was driving the high quality installs with users, who were already acquainted with the game process and therefore, have shown more involvement into the game, avoiding the notorious statistics, which states that the average mobile title loses about 75% of its users after first use.

Tips for better results

But how to make the most of this kind of advertisement for your own mobile game?

First of all, should be mentioned that playable ad - primarily advertisement, and after that, a piece of the game. You don’t have to deliver the core structure of your title with the most intensive parts of gameplay, the goal is to advertise and attract a player to the full version as soon as possible. And tips below will be helpful in that:

  1. Leave stylistics and mechanics of the game recognizable, otherwise, the banner might turn to mislead.
  2. Do not make the game longer than 15-30 seconds. The aim is to cause an appetite, not boredom.
  3. Get rid of the long learning process - you don’t have time to teach users to play. Let them play right away with simplified game experience.
  4. Choose an appropriate call to action, you can emphasize the game progress during the ad.
  5. Give no chances to lose - winning is encouraging and addictive. Make a user win and give him the chance to try his hand at the full version of the game.
  6. Optimize your advertisement for any device type - make sure to implement responsive design so that every ad shown is scaled for optimal viewing on every mobile device.
  7. Make sure you playable ad is small-sized - reduce ad file size to allow them to download and render in optimal timescales.


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