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Is using banner ads even sensible anymore? Why is it not a good idea to use static banners? What should you consider during the promotion of mobile games? By how much can you increase retention with the use of playable ads? Find the answers in the article below

What is a playable ad?

I have been hearing for a long time that display ads in mobile games are not useful in terms of promotion of mobile apps and acquisition of new users. If we’re talking about regular, static banners sized 320 x 50 pixels or centered banners sized 300 x 250 pixels, I do agree. Aren’t we foreshadowing the death of display ads too soon, though? We very much are. Display ads have not died, and they are doing perfectly fine.
A new format that gets all the attention of the mobile app promotion industry are playable ads.
In 2017, playable ads have been said to be just as optimal of a format for intriguing a new user as mobile video ads. The term ‘games’ is narrowed on purpose – this ad format is mostly used with mobile games.
The games I have recently been playing monetize through those very formats (video ads + playable in-app ads).
Playable mobile ads are also called clickable interstitials (full screen mobile ads) and are coded in html5. Their main goal is to engage the user and encourage him to download the mobile app.
The user has the option to click on the ad and experience the game, and is later given the opportunity to download it.
Such ads are usually displayed to users after a ‘game over’. Advertisement companies are constantly looking for new formats, which would enable them to reach users with high LTV and introduce them to the mobile app.

Is it worth it to market a mobile app through playable ads?

Absolutely yes. These types of ads get a lot of attention. You have the opportunity to engage your user right from the start, and a chance to show the general concept behind the game. You pay for users, who will engage in the game and install it. Playable ads have a very high CTR Click Through Rate), too. Knowing that your ad has engaged the user in the app, as an advertiser you should be willing to pay more for him.
In 2017, changes have been made in both markets: (the App Store) and (Google Play), which have above 5 million apps. Getting attention is extremely difficult, and miracle stories like Flappy Bird or Color Switch are exceptionally rare.
Speaking about the latter, if you are a developer of mobile games, you should definitely read Michael Michalko’s book called Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques. Believe me, you won’t regret it.
Mobile formats of 320 x 50 pixels or 300 x 250 pixels are, in these days, artifacts. They are subject to so-called banner blindness. Due to the overflow of ads, users tend not to notice them anymore. Moreover, placed in clickable areas, they can irritate the users.
As for mobile app marketing for our clients, when working with mobile app publishers, we immediately exclude the CPM model for ineffective formats, such as a static 320×50 or 300×2500 banner (Cost Per Mile – 1000 ad views).
Unfortunately, I need to point out that this is the most popular format on the Polish market and there is not much to do about it.
After ending the CPM campaign, it often turns out that the cost of an installation of the mobile app is extremely high. If you are an advertisement company, forget about this format – unless you like to burn through your budget.
Of course, every advertisement company prefers settlements based on the CPA (Cost Per Action) or CPS (Cost Per Sale) models. Those are however reserved for publishers with bigger budgets.
Playable ads are perfect for mobile games – especially so-called Casino Games, where it is easier to present the flow of the game than, for example, in the case of sports or arcade games. Remember that playable mobile ads can also be used when promoting mobile apps other than games.

The advantages of playable mobile ads

According to a case study ( based on a mobile game called Pirate Kings, playable mobile ads can help obtain customers that are more loyal and more willing to spend money
Retention of day 1 – 64,63%
Retention of day 7 – 32,52%
Retention of day 30 – 11,79 %
In-App-Purchases – 5,10%
Retention in market benchmarks was significantly worse:
Retention of day 1 – 35,50%
Retention of day 7 – 14,00%
Retention of day 30 – 4,40%
In-App-Purchases – 1,54%
The situation of Chartboost, a mobile advertisement company, was no different. Mobile app retention of day 7 is, in the case of playable mobile ads, 27% higher than with static ads.
Playable mobile ad for mobile game Final Fantasy
According to a survey conducted by AdColony (Mobile Advertising Network), among the 100 largest publishers of apps (where 75% are publishers of mobile games and 25% publish other mobile apps), playable mobile ads rank 5th in terms of effectivity of app installation. The formats that surpassed playable ads are, respectively, full-screen video ads, social video ads, social display ads, in-feed video ads)
The good thing about playable ads is that, if you do not wish to interact with them, after a few seconds (usually 5 seconds) they can be skipped. Engagement in such an ad usually lasts up to 30 seconds.
In 2017, playable mobile ads are the most action-engaging advertisement format. If you want the user to install your game, you need to lure him in and engage him in your project.
If you are a mobile app developer, it is a good idea to test every format of mobile ads (from influence mobile app or game marketing on Youtube to playable mobile ads). As a publisher of mobile games, testing the format of playable ads is a must. App Store Optimization (ASO) is not the only thing it’s about 🙂

ARPU Brothers Founder, App marketing agency for mobile apps and games

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