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Leveraging Underutilized Aspects of Playable Ads

The impacts of iOS14.5 and iOS15 in the ad industry due to IDFA changes were significant, to say the least. In case you are not familiar with the new IDFA rules, Apple’s move to limit the usage of IDFA was the most significant change the mobile advertising market has faced in quite some time. iOS 14.5 users were prompted with the option to opt-in or out tracking for each app that wanted to collect their IDFA. As of July 26, the IDFA opt-out rate in the US was at 72%. Despite the change, companies are still faced with the need to deliver successful monetization strategies to publishers and developers while adapting to the new changes put in place by Apple.

The solution: playable ads.

How can playable ads help advertisers?

Without the ability to use IDFA as a way to target users, there is more need than ever before for a way to quickly get the user’s attention when serving an ad – and what better way to do that than to give the user a snapshot of your game even before it’s downloaded? Playable ads have significantly changed people’s perception of ads, thanks to the immersive, highly interactive ad experience they provide.

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According to a recent eMarketer report, agency professionals in the United States believe that playable advertisements are the most effective in-app ad format, followed by interactive and rewarded videos. Publishers should use these ads to engage customers and increase return on ad spend if they haven’t previously. According to internal UA data, playable ads increase IVR by more than40% in mature markets such as Europe and the US. Day two retention rate of users acquired via playable ads in Europe, the US, and China is 5-9% higher than those who are converted by regular video ads, according to the same report. 

Creative strategies to improve your playable ads

Despite playable ads growing in popularity and strong results, there are still a few key aspects that are left out or are simply underutilized.

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Most advertisers believe for a playable ad to be successful it should only contain an easy section of the game which the target user would be able to play and get a taste for. In fact, the opposite is true. The optimal way to develop a complete set of creative strategies based on in-depth research and combine it with the game’s core gameplay elements. 

Many developers tend to miss a crucial factor that contributes to the appeal of playable ads. Creating ads where the user is designed to fail the mission or level instills a desire to try again and be successful. This is where specifically designed ‘fail states’ can be extremely useful for driving downloads. This strategy can be seen in hypercasual and casual games across all categories but are especially successful with shooters.  

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With this research in mind, it becomes easier to decide which core elements of the game the ad should display. Try to break down the core gameplay or unique selling points into multiple elements to create new innovative versions that generate better results. It is also important to remember that designers do not have to make an exact copy of the game for an ad. Adding new elements like music, sound effects, and new background can make ads more interesting to users. Even adding a “bullet comments” effect will reinforce positive feedback, keep players engaged, and reduce bounce rates.

Creating more demand for downloads is the primary goal of any playable ad. Rewarding users within the playable ad also helps them understand the payoff, specific strategies, and how to progress in the game. Users also tend to enjoy rewarded playables since they do not have to spend their money with IAPs, but their own time, to acquire access to items that allow them to continue playing, advance faster, or obtain in-game items. Furthermore, allowing users to interact with the ads gives them control over the ad experience. Thanks to today’s technology, ads can be safely implemented without impacting the user experience.

Playable ads have also been migrating to mid-core and hardcore gaming where strategy and storylines play a bigger part in user conversion and retention. Multiple versions of playable ads and interactive end-cards or unique video ads can be generated based on the game’s features, style, and gameplay elements which can be used at different campaign stages to achieve the best customer acquisition results. Playable ads give the unique ability to quickly build up the game’s storyline and get the players interested in trying the game out. Furthermore, playable ads can be used to collect user behavior data, which can then be used to update dynamic parameters and adjust content via an automated creative platform.

Since keeping your ads fresh is a crucial point for any advertiser, “dynamic creative optimization” is another underutilized approach to playable ads. Advertisers may use this technology to optimize their creatives in real-time based on many criteria, which is something that banner and video ads have done for a long time. 

Playable ads are great but there is one issue that is regularly brought up about these types of ads: the fact that they are more complex, expensive, and time-consuming. This can make the campaign optimization process more difficult, as they will not have the agility required to quickly make changes and update their campaigns with new creatives. That is where creative automation platforms come into play. This technology helps advertisers alleviate the challenges of playable ad iterations by allowing them to execute in-house iterations, A/B tests, and fine-tune their playable ads for optimal efficiency and reduced costs.

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