Can Coskuncan was the Growth & Partnership Lead at Playable Factory. His lecture is dedicated to a better way of advertising and how to support mobile marketers and UA managers while creating lovable and effective content. We will start with a famous quote coming from the founding father of modern advertising David Ogilvy:

When you advertise fire extinguishers, open with the fire. 

The fire at the moment for advertisers in digital marketers is Gen Z or, generally speaking, the next generation. We know that they’re born with technology at their fingertips and are now approaching adulthood which means they’ll be able to shape the future of advertising via their behaviours and tendencies. The digital age has shaped their lives, and brands that most want to appeal to them often struggle to understand what differences are relevant to marketers today. 

Getting Through to Teens with Video Games

If we dive deeper into some research results about Gen Z, we’ll have to face some negative approaches to our business models. Recent studies have shown that: 

  • Gen Z demographic, in particular, has a shorter attention span than the previous generation;
  • They’re more likely to avoid, skip and block ads;
  • They have a lower threshold for boredom;
  • They are used to seeing real short, fun and engaging content; 
  • They want the opportunity to interact with ads and to receive rewards for their engagement;
  • They’re all more tied to their mobile devices at the moment.

This is the real problem – blocking the ads, not loving the ads or even hating the ads is the fire at the moment we face as digital marketers and UA managers. One concept or design can appeal to so many users, and eventually, everyone who could be interested will download the game. This is when the ad becomes ineffective, and users ignore it, feeling they see too many ads or see the same ads repeatedly. The best way to combat this problem is to refresh and iterate your ads constantly; you need to bring up new concepts while iterating proven ones. 

How should we engage with Gen Z while they are blocking the ads? 

The only real way for gaming and non-gaming brands is to create content that will stop Gen Z in their tracks. That means to change the perception in the eyes of the new generation; we should start to create something new in parallel with their tendencies. So we need to rely more on a new way of app marketing or digital marketing.

Howard Luck Gossage 

While thinking about the tendencies of new generations (especially Gen Z), it’s good to twist this quote a bit more and make it like “watching or reading the ad can not be more engaging than playing the ad”. We are going towards the solution for the fire. 

This is Puffy. Puffy is Chief Happiness Office at Playable Factory, and he thinks that the solution for all these problems, for the fire, is definitely playable and interactive ad content. Why does he think that? Because playable ads: 

  • rise above other formats in mobile advertising;
  • have the most affordable cost per install, landing at $1.97;
  • keep the attention on the ad for 47% longer;
  • 32% more memorable; 
  • have three times higher conversion rates than traditional video ads; 

Not only game marketers but also non-gaming brands have started to use this interactive ad format. The mobile gaming industry has a rich heritage of driving innovation and creativity in mobile advertising, from developing new ad formats to putting rigorous A/B testing at the heart of their product. Mobile games are often the trendsetters for the broader mobile ecosystem. 

Playable ads grab more attention measurably, boosting conversion and retention rates and delivering higher eCPM. As well as playable for mobile games, gamified brand experiences have become increasingly common, with the ad format tailored to provide a variety of cost action beyond installs. This is a natural progression of the success of playable ads and part of a growing trend of gamification across the entire app ecosystem.

How can we make our ads lovable? 

At first, we should remind ourselves that outstanding marketing doesn’t and shouldn’t feel like marketing. The content we show our users should be natural, friendly, funny, short, exciting, engaging, and easy to understand. Before putting your creativity to work, build a creative strategy for your campaign. Effective strategic planning starts with gathering information on your competition and market trends and knowing your app, target audience, and user experience. After all these, we can go to 10 ways to make your playable ads smoother and better. 

1. Nudging 

This concept in behavioural sciences proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behaviour and decision-making of groups and individuals. To achieve this, for instance, you can show a constantly moving room door just to create a curiosity for your users about what’s behind the door. They should willingly act, tap on the screen, and engage with your ad. 

2. Avoiding any friction like a start button 

Before seeing your ads, people were already having fun: watching something or playing their game. If you want to show them anything, please do it without friction or additional steps like a start button. Don’t forget you are the one requiring attention, so don’t make it hard for people. Just be kind and make it smooth as possible. 

3. Show the core gameplay with a straightforward tutorial 

It will help users immediately understand the concept and start to engage with your product.  

4. Always add some “short cinematic entrances” to attract more attention

In playable ads, we are doing this by changing camera angles in the beginning, showing the end of the level before showing the target or turning around the boss character before the fight starts. It’s good to add a cinematic approach, especially if you have a 3d game.

5. Require no skill

Your ads should be very easy to understand. People don’t have time for over-complicated stuff. Make sure there is nothing complicated to understand in your ad flow or mechanics.

6. Use in-game/in-ad CTA buttons 

You never know when your potential users want to pull the parachute. If they like your ad, they can immediately want to get the app, so they shouldn’t wait until the end of the playable ad. They can instantly download your app with an in-game call-to-action button if they like.

7. Rewards

Give your potential users one task to complete, and then you can give them instant gratification. This is crucial because people always look for more while they spend their precious time. Don’t forget they are losing their time by spending it on your ad, so it’s better to give them something back as a reward.

8. Create excitement in the ad with a timing 

It will help to create more challenging content because people love challenges like racing against time. It also creates a legal fear of missing out, so adding this feature to your ad is important.

9. Accelerate & simplify 

Less is more. Make sure that the ad is relaxing because the ad viewer has no time for your over-complicated content. If you have a complicated game or app, you should make an ad simple as possible and accelerate it. The ad doesn’t have to be literally exact gaming or app experience.

10. Option for a restart 

Because everybody deserves a second chance, do this while promising more rewards and let your users know there are more, and give them the possibility to restart the ad again and again, so it’s a good option for them to make a decision later.

Doing all these steps may not be enough. You also need to track the performance of your ad, and according to your feedback from your potential users, you should be able to edit and iterate your content. At Playable Factory, we have a platform called Gearbox for this need. You can create your own playable and interactive ads and track their performances, deciding which version works best or how to improve your existing ones. You don’t need to know any programming knowledge while doing all these changes and improvements.

Playable and interactive ad formats are not only for mobile devices. They can be used on websites and even on smart TVs. For instance, last year Playable Factory created a playable ad for smart TV where users could start to play the ad via the banner on the tv secret by using their remote controller. It gained huge success after.

It is important to understand your existing playable performance and improve it according to database results. Playable Factory’s platform has a graphics editor feature for this need. It mainly allows you to create infinite versions of your creative content with different visual effects, so you are no longer dependent on an agency, your developer team, or your marketing team for these changes.

Can Coskuncan would like to summarize all of these things in three magical words:

create, perform and grow

To make the ads lovable, we need to be creative and perform well, track your performance and iterate your content with feedback for potential users. In the end, thanks to feedback and improvements, we can grow. That’s the main goal for all gaming and non-gaming brands, apps and companies.

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