What are playable mobile ads?
Playable mobile ads are ad units which offer users a snippet of interactive gameplay, letting users try out the advertised app before installing. Playable mobile ads fall under the interactive advertising category, and provide users with an immersive and enjoyable ad experience.
The different types of playable mobile ads
Playable ads typically appear as full-screen ads and could be considered interactive interstitial ads. From a technical perspective, there are two main ways of developing a playable ad:
HTML playable ads use HTML code and an intellectual property (IP) from the game to recreate the experience of playing the game. While this approach is more time-intensive for developers, it makes for a more in-depth and interactive experience, allowing users to engage with the game mechanics firsthand.
Interactive video ads use video assets from the game coupled with light coding. Interactive video ads offer more of a generalized overview of a game, focusing on conveying a message or narrative. While quicker to make, this format tends to be less engaging since user interaction is more limited.
The pros and cons of playable ads
Since users are incentivized to interact with the ad, conversion and retention rates are higher than traditional ad units, and yield higher eCPMS. Playable ads can have long term benefits as well including higher retention and overall greater LTV since the user experiences the game mechanics early on.
Since playable ads encourage user initiated interaction, they attract highly engaged users. These users are more likely to convert, since they are given a ‘try before you buy’ experience. This approach helps lower CPI rates, making playable ads a strong user acquisition tactic.
While playable ads can be a great engagement and user acquisition tool, creating them requires additional development work compared to traditional formats like banner or static ads. However, due to the fact playable ads are an engaging ad format that yields higher conversion and retention rates, the long term benefits can far outweigh the upfront effort to create them.
Ways to get the most out of your playable ads
1. Keep it simple: Playable ads don't have to replicate the complete game experience. Instead, they should focus on demonstrating the core mechanics and early-game features to entice potential users to download.
2. Know your audience: Players can have different motivations, and understanding why people play your game will help you leverage more comprehensive ad solutions. Diversifying your playables and ad units according to your audience will help generate engagement, to yield higher ARPU, and avoid ad fatigue.
3. Test and iterate: A/B testing each element of your playable ad (tutorial, gameplay, CTA), allows you to understand which elements users most engage with and can better inform your optimization. Test results from playable ads can also inform changes to the core game itself. Elements like game mechanics, features, and characters can be tweaked based on learnings from the playable ads.