How to build the perfect creative for your mobile game

Key insights by mobile gaming experts from Twitter, Luna Labs, and Goodgame Studios.

Melisa Rocío Fernández

March 23, 2021

Key insights from mobile gaming experts.

We hosted an App Marketers Unplugged session with Dawn Hosie (Content Producer at Twitter), Pau Quevedo (Lead Programmatic Training at GoodGame Studios), and Steven Chard (CEO & Co-Founder at Luna Labs) to discuss creative innovation, top-performing formats, and upcoming trends in the Gaming industry.

Here are the main takeaways from the session:

#1 Make ads more human

Users are more likely to engage with ads that somehow resonate with their feelings. Ads that trigger emotions and feature human characters tend to perform better. That’s why marketers should consider incorporating humans into their ads even if the original game doesn’t actually include any. These characters help generate emotional attachments, making the complete experience more fun at the user level.

#2 It’s more about the fit than about the ad format

When planning your creative strategy, it’s important to consider the different types of users playing your game (payers, non-payers, hyper users, etc.) and identify which is the right creative for each group.

For example, both payers and non-payers are likely to interact with a rewarded ad—after all, all players enjoy free rewards like coins or extra lives. Playable ads, on the other hand, are harder and more expensive to build, and therefore should be used for payers or hyper users. For non-payers, it’s best to leverage formats such as banners and interstitials, which are a more cost-effective yet engaging option.

#3 Playable ads are not like videos, at all

Playables are one of the top-performing formats for gamers, but not a lot of campaign budget goes to playables: they are more expensive to build, harder to get right, and therefore more difficult to iterate.

A common mistake is to think of playables as if they were video ads, when in reality they are very different mediums. A video tells users about what’s in a game without requiring active and constant interaction on behalf of the user. Playables, on the other hand, are about short and concise experiences that show users what the game is about, making the first few seconds hyper-critical to grasp users’ attention.

Here are some quick tips every marketer should consider to make their playable ads successful:

  1. Focus on one concept to keep the experience brief
  2. Make sure your idea is communicated clearly and concisely
  3. Get the first 5 seconds right for users to engage with the ad
  4. Use an effective end card to lead users to the app or store once the playable ends
  5. Test different combinations of elements within the ad to identify top-performing experiences

#4 Automated A/B testing will be the #1 hot topic

While many expect gaming creatives to evolve towards augmented reality experiences, mobile specialists think innovation will come from in-depth A/B testing will be a hot topic.

Adding new data points to formats like video and playable ads would further enable machine learning to conduct real-time optimization and make A/B testing 100% automated. However, enhancing measurement and testing capabilities for these formats still represents a major challenge.

#5 Mobile doesn’t have all the answers

Even if Gaming is somehow leading creative innovation for mobile ads, it’s also important for marketers and developers to draw inspiration from different sources. Mobile does not always have all the answers, other ad formats and verticals can offer original and inventive ideas that can be adapted for mobile game ads.

“I started doing browser advertising on desktop some years ago and moved into mobile about 5-6 years ago. I used to think: "oh, mobile is the new thing, don’t listen to these desktop dinosaurs", and I realized that it was the opposite. Desktop was ahead of mobile, and now I would say: go back to basics, go back to desktop and you’ll learn more for mobile than you thought.” — Pau Quevedo, Lead Programmatic Trading, Goodgame Studios.

Watch the full interview

If you enjoyed this recap, watch the full App Marketers Unplugged session to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 in creative strategy for mobile games, how to leverage technology for better creative performance, and practical advice and lessons from experts.

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