Playable ads and what you need to know about them

Consumers spend more than three hours a day on their mobile devices. At the same time, they are becoming increasingly privacy-savvy and suspicious of intrusive advertising.

Marketers need to get creative with how they place and serve ads. Privacy laws are demanding more and more restraint and protecting users more and more from being targeted. So, how can marketers capture users’ attention?

Playable ads are one of the most popular and engaging ad formats right now. They combine interactivity with gamification and should become a part of every marketer’s toolset as soon as possible. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an overview of Playable Ads and how to embed them into your marketing plan for 2022.

Playable Ads And What You Need To Know About It
Playable ads and what you need to know about them

What are playable ads?

Playable ads, as the name suggests, are ads that you can interact with. Contrary to traditional advertising, they create an exchange of value between advertiser and consumer. Users no longer have to wait passively for the ad to run, but control the ad as they wish or are guided through a game.

Originally, the idea comes from the “try-before-you-buy” strategy, which is common in the game development industry. Playable ads are often associated with mobile game marketing. They allow users to try out gameplay without installing the actual app. Today, playables span all types of industries and brand experiences. 

Playable ads are primarily played out individually on major media platforms such as news pages, magazines or blogs. However, premium ad units on other platforms, such as those of shopping malls, banks or the like, are also suitable to attract as much attention as possible and generate leads with high conversion.

Why you should use playable ads

As mentioned above, gamified ads are profitable for marketers, as well as users. The marketing trends for 2022 are strongly moving towards first-party data analytics and the resulting personalization. This is where one of the most important points of gamified advertising comes into play.

Points of interaction, which occur within advertising, can be analyzed individually for performance and behavioral data. This allows the advertiser to constantly optimize each in-game element. This enables even more effective targeting.

Users who choose to interact with a playable ad spend more time with your brand and are more likely to disregard the fact that they are consuming advertising. Thus, this top-of-funnel engagement drives conversions further down the funnel, increasing the value of each customer.

Optimizing Your Marketing Funnel From The Top Down
Optimizing your marketing funnel from the top down

More reasons to use playable ads

  • Playable ads do not require users to install or download anything. The game can be played directly on the place of viewing, independent of the platform. As a result, there is nothing in the way of interaction, which provides a smooth experience.
  • Playable ads are known to bring joy to users and arouse curiosity. Read our post on “Why gamification works!” for more on this.
  • Playable ads load quickly on all platforms due to their small size, which minimizes interruptions in the customer experience.
  • More extensive content elements such as videos, sweepstakes, or ticketing can be easily integrated into playable ads. This offers the advantage of providing more content for even deeper interaction.
  • Last but not least, playable ads help to filter out non-engaged users and thus improve targeting.

How you too can create a successful playable ad

You need to consider the following four main points to make your playable ad a success. For each of the points, we explain what they are below:

  • Creative display and game elements
  • Technical requirements
  • Ad placement and optimization
  • Reporting and measuring performance

The design of attention-grabbing creative elements

For playable ads, engaging design is key. The playable ads design can be broken down into three key elements, which are the makeup/call-to-action, the core gameplay experience, and the closing sequence. These are described in more detail below.

  • The tutorial or the lead of your playable ad is crucial for the first and therefore most important impression. This is where you decide whether a user will enter the game or move on. So keep this part short and crisp, show the best of your game, entice with main prizes and show the user that the game can be enjoyed without any obstacles and immediately.
  • The experience of the game is a point which must be simply mind-blowing. It should combine excitement, challenge and fun. Use all the resources that today’s media world has to offer. This includes music, sounds and tones, animations, visual effects and moving images, but also integrated messages, pop-ups or cutscenes, which can serve as a call-to-action (CTA).
  • The closing sequence must offer the user a logical, actionable and specific next step. Your playable should fulfill a goal you set. So lead your users specifically there – whether it’s a download, sign-up, or other goal you define.

The technical requirements for development

Playable ads are, as already mentioned, very lightweight. This means that they load quickly on browsers and create seamless experiences on both mobile and desktop platforms using HTML5.

Below are a few quick technical terms that you should know in order to co-create a playable ad:

  • First are Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID). To put it simply, they standardize the display requirements of different apps and platforms. They are the common API for ads that are served in mobile apps. This can save money and time that would otherwise be spent developing multiple rich media assets.
  • The other is the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK). The OM SDK is an industry-wide tool for simplifying ad analysis and performance measurement. This allows all measurement data to be read and used from all devices used (IOS, Android, PC, etc.).

The optimization of playable ads and their placement

This is one of the most difficult and complex issues. Measurements and analysis of user behavior provides clues, but you can’t avoid trying and testing new methods. This concerns the placement as well as implementation of your playable ad.

The Optimization Of Playable Ads And Their Placement
The optimization of playable ads and their placement

Gameplay:

  • Interaction behavior can tell if the game needs gameplay improvements. Maybe a swipe is better than scrolling after all?
  • A/B testing could be done for the closing sequence. This can reveal which CTAs are most effective in encouraging user interaction. Also, different sequences can be used depending on whether winning or losing.

Placement:

  • First, playables can be played out directly on major social media. It must be noted that the ad is broadcast individually and in full screen.
  • On the other hand, placements can be bought through programmed automation, which offer opportunities for real-time optimization. Whether this is through bidding strategies to reach only certain target groups or to test differently designed ads.

Measuring and analyzing the data

Here, a wide variety of ad metrics are analyzed. This differs little from normal reporting, but as mentioned above, there are some points that can be done differently. These include the three key design points mentioned above. Analyze your data based on these three points. This will help you to identify things that are going well and things that need to be optimized.

Measuring And Analyzing The Data
Measuring and analyzing the data

Conclusion

As we know, customers value organic, interactive and creative brand experiences. However, they don’t like to feel exploited, overwhelmed or coerced. Thus, it is essential for marketers to meet the needs of customers. By using the latest technology, companies can stand out from the crowd and attract attention through the natural playful urge of people.

With these insights in mind, playable ads offer countless possibilities. They put the advertising use in the hands of the customers. By doing so, you create authentic, fun and exciting moments and strengthen the brand-customer relationship.

If you have any questions, comments or require help by implementing your playable ad – the Brame team will be happy to help. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Summary

Playable ads are one of the most popular ad formats. We'll provide you with an overview of playable ads and how to embed them into your marketing plan for 2022.

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