Best practices for playable ads for midcore gaming apps

In a competitive ecosystem such as Advertising, time is money, and attention – the fuel that propels revenue. With advances in technology paving the way for new ad formats and consumers seeking to be engaged in creative approaches, Marketers have quickly realized the need to create an exciting ad experience. Playable ads are one such format that has built momentum and taken the industry by storm. Quick to gain popularity in the mobile gaming industry, 28% of US agency professionals cite playable ads as the most effective in-app ad format.  

What are Playable Ads and why are they the gamechanger for midcore games? 

Playable Ads are innovative and interactive single ad units that let the consumer experience the main features of the game before they decide to install it. It combines a scaled-down 30 second storyline with core gaming gestures of the game like swipe, flip, and tap, to engage with consumers directly within the ad. The unique feature of playable ads that lets users experience authentic previews of the games results in high CRs and lifetime value (LTV) players. Think of playable ads as test drives for midcore games – attraction and final decision are based on features and performance you put forth; its your chance to sway the vote for the best outcome.  

Guidelines to keep in mind: 

  • Keep it simple: It’s important to remember that playable ads act to guide and engage users through the gaming experience within a 30-45 second timeframe – that’s not a lot of time for jargons. Simplify your game play and provide users with clear instructions and tips to help them navigate their way through the game. You want them to feel engaged and excited to install the game. Avoid complex instructions that could potentially confuse and wane interest off the game.  
  • Keep it exciting: Time is of the essence – focus on the most exciting features of the game. Though important, the storyline should not be your highlight. Choose the most exhilarating level, interesting character (male vs female character arcs), showcase interactivity through engaging movement (kick, punch, jump), and don’t be afraid to add a sprinkle of drama! Avoid boring and mundane movement, static images, or dialogue – you risk losing high-value users.  
Kabam Marvel Contest of Champions
  • Keep the energy: While playables serve as previews, avoid compressing all character movements to fit the frame. Be mindful that gamers are already exposed to the usual movements and could be put off by a mix of mundane movements. Choose movements that are special and central to the character – detailed special moves, character powers, combo attacks, and strategies. This will help the user connect with the character and leave them wanting to invest in the characters background – steppingstones to converting to installs.  
  • Keep Testing: With a variety of characters, levels, movements, and skins to choose from, it’s important to test and optimize your playables as you go. Try a mix of different variables in an A/B test sequence regularly to understand what resonates with your audience. Once you identify what works, fine-tune your playables, gauge their performance, and optimize at intervals to reap the best results.  

Interested to know more about playable ads? We’re happy to help! Drop us a note at and let’s get talking! 

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