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Interactive Advertising Redefined: How Playable Ads Benefit Brands

The increase in mobile device usage, with US adults now spending over 4 hours a day on their smartphones and tablets, has drastically changed the way that we consume and interact with media. Combined with shifts in technology, privacy concerns, and more consumers wary of disruptive ads, marketers and publishers are rethinking how they approach building effective advertising strategies.

Although the opportunity in mobile is clear, it's proven to be a challenging space for brand advertisers due to data and measurement issues, challenges capturing consumer attention and brand safety concerns. Playables are a truly endemic form of mobile advertising that address many of these challenges, as well as enabling the collection of deeper engagement and analytics than static or video ads.

Since the launch of playable ads on Google in 2017 and Facebook in August 2018, playable ads have seen a large increase in adoption in just a few years with a growth of 113% between July 2020 and January 2021. The reason is understandable, as playable ads (often termed playables) play well into our mobile ready world - a world where experiential marketing and media offer a brand new way to capture attention through rich and interactive experiences.

So should brand advertisers leverage playables in their marketing strategies? Do playables have applications beyond gaming? Let’s dive into some of the primary reasons brands should consider playables. 


  What are playable ads?

Playable ads are interactive ad units that allow users to engage through mobile-ready gestures such as scrolling, swiping, tapping, or clicking. They often replicate game or in-app experiences, enabling users to "try before you buy" and explore a brand or product in an interactive manner.


G‍o Where Consumers Are

With the rise of mobile device usage, the mobile gaming market has grown significantly, now representing 60% of the overall gaming market. In 2019, mobile games accounted for 33% of installs, 10% of time and 74% of consumer spend. This presents an opportunity for brands and marketers to experiment with new ways to engage with consumers where they are. 

71% of app marketers believe playable ads are an effective way to engage with audiences.

Along with its growth in adoption, playable ads have seen a growth in availability. Mobile gaming saw its first introduction into the world of playables with its ease of transfer from the live gaming environment - making them a powerful technique to reach users in-app during breaks in gaming dedicated to ad viewing.

From there, playable ads have grown immensely, becoming the most used ad format of 2021 with active use by 41% of users! Not only that, but their effectiveness has been top-rated as well. A whopping 28% of ad agency professionals have noted playable ads as the most effective in-app ad format, with an additional 23% citing interactive ads.

Users on social media also see a large degree of the web’s use of playable ads, including across Facebook News Feed, Facebook Stories, Audience Network Interstitial and Audience Network Rewarded video. It’s rapid adoption is also affording an even further reach into Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories.


How Playable Ads Drive Performance

Playable ads have emerged as a valuable tool for marketers and companies, demonstrating remarkable success in driving advertising efforts. If you're wondering about their effectiveness, the answer is a resounding "yes."

Let's explore some of the ways playable ads contribute to achieving success:


1. Higher Retention Rates

By allowing users to experience the brand or game firsthand, playable ads effectively shape user expectations. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of retaining users who not only install the app or purchase the product but also become long-term customers, ultimately boosting their lifetime value (LTV).

Pro Tip: Enhance retention rates by aligning the values and core experience of your brand or product with the playable ads.


2. Increased Click-Through and Conversion Rates

Playable ad campaigns have demonstrated notable improvements in conversion and click-through rates. By captivating users with immersive media, playable ads effectively capture attention even in cluttered user interfaces, leading to heightened interaction. The engaging storylines or gaming elements within these ads foster a stronger connection with the brand, motivating users to take action.

  Pro Tip: Determine your campaign's end goal and align it with your playable ad strategy and story to increase conversions. Playable ads offer a whole new way to understand your users. Keep analytics in mind when utilizing playable ad builders, as they provide insights into user behavior and allow for testing variations to improve click-through rates (CTR) in various settings and instances.

  Case Study: Bon Appétit's Holiday Cookie Mini-Quiz significantly reduced cost-per-subscription by 51%. The interactive quiz engaged users by guiding them through a series of questions to discover their personality type and match it with a specific holiday cookie. This playful and interactive approach not only entertained users but also drove conversions at a lower cost, making it a highly effective marketing strategy for Bon Appétit. Learn More >


3. Lower Cost Per Install (CPI)

Playable ads drive lower Cost Per Install (CPI) compared to other formats. By giving users a taste of the app or game experience upfront, these ads attract more qualified and engaged users. This targeted approach reduces ad spend waste and boosts user acquisition campaign efficiency. Interactive elements also provide valuable data for campaign optimization. With lower CPI and enhanced targeting, playable ads offer a cost-effective solution for maximizing app installations and marketing budgets.


Key Benefits For Brands

Playable ads provide brands with unique advantages that can enhance their marketing campaigns:

  • Capturing User Attention Through Elevated Brand Experiences: Playable ads use movement, storytelling, and interactivity to capture users' attention and create a connection between the user and the brand.
  • Providing Value in a Low-Friction Way: Playable ads introduce users to the brand or product in an enabled environment, offering a touchpoint with little or no friction.
  • "Try Before You Buy" Approach: Playable ads enable users to experience a brand's identity, products, and messaging, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
  • Data and Iterations: Playable ads provide real-time data on user behavior, allowing brands to iterate on ad creative and optimize their strategies.
  • Performant Ad Experiences: Playable ads are designed for smooth delivery and responsiveness, ensuring a seamless user experience.

In the dynamic world of marketing in 2023, brands need to level up their strategies and embrace the power of playable ads. By meeting users right where they are, playable ads have the ability to seize attention and deliver undeniable value. In a sea of advertisements vying for attention, playables empower brands to rise above the noise and make a lasting impact. It's time to seize the moment and embrace the game-changing potential of playable ads!



Want to make playable ads part of your creative strategy? We're ready to help.

CRAFTSMAN+ makes it easy and quick to generate playable ads at scale. With Craftsman Play you can personalize your playables using ready-made templates or create your own with intuitively designed custom tools. No coding required! Request a demo today.

P.S. Need some tips? Find out more here: 7 Tips For Building Winning Playable Ads