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Best Practices for Creating and Implementing Effective Playable Ads

Alex Author-1

In today’s crowded omnichannel marketplace, ad fatigue is on the rise. In fact, two-thirds of consumers (66%) wish they received fewer marketing messages. In a world in which the average person sees up to 10,000 ads per day, how can brands engage new and existing customers with ad experiences that stand out?

Playable ads! 

In this blog, learn how to create and implement effective playable ads that convert long-term customers.


As we’ve written before, playable ads are interactive ad units that allow users to engage with a mini-game or experience a product or service in an engaging, gamified format. Rather than a passive ad experience that plays a video or serves a static image, playables invite active, hands-on engagement from users. What’s more, the “try before you buy” experience created by playables gives users a taste of an app’s experience before they install it. This makes users who do convert from playable ads stickier by result. 

With their combination of interactivity and gamification, playable ads are one of the highest-performing ad formats today. According to IronSource, playable ads see an almost 5x higher average IPM (installs per thousand impressions) than rewarded video ads.

According to Appodeal, playable ads:

  • convert 2.6x better than other static formats;
  • boost average monthly impressions by 53%;
  • drive 70% more installs; 
  • inspire 60% more clicks;
  • and generate a 40% greater return on ad spend (ROAS).

Playable ads are also cost effective. As reported in Pocket Gamer, playable ads have the lowest cost per install (CPI) at $1.31. This makes them the most cost-effective ad format in mobile gaming, far outpacing video ads’ average CPI of $4.93.


Here are some expert strategies to ensure your playable ads not only captivate but also drive long-term customer conversion.

Showcase Essential Features of Your Game or Product

With just 15 seconds to a minute, maximum, to grab a user’s attention, it’s imperative to highlight the essence of your product, service, or game. Focus on what sets your game or product apart. Whether it’s a unique gameplay mechanic, an innovative feature, or a distinctive aesthetic, ensure that this is front and center in your playable ad. This will increase brand awareness and help your ad stand out.

KISS Your Users

As the design principle goes: Keep It Simple and Straightforward”. A common mistake in creating playable ads is overloading them with too many features or complex gameplay. This can overwhelm or confuse users, leading to a drop in engagement. Simplicity guarantees the greatest level of user acceptance and interaction. Strive for a playable experience that is as intuitive and straightforward as possible. This calls for intuitive design elements like visual "hands" indicating where to swipe, prominent highlighting of key buttons, and offering clear, impossible-to-miss hints and instructions within the first 3 to 4 seconds. Users should be able to grasp how to play almost instantly. 

Adjust the Difficulty Level

Playable ads should neither be too hard nor too easy. Striking the right balance in level design is crucial. While a challenging game can frustrate users, an overly simple one might fail to engage them adequately. The sweet spot? Setting the difficulty level to the easy side of medium. This ensures users are guided through the gameplay without feeling spoon-fed. It also sparks curiosity and interest, making them feel like they are actively solving a puzzle or overcoming a challenge, albeit a manageable one.

Let Them Win

With playable ads, it's not just about showcasing your app; it's about providing a winning experience that leaves users feeling positive and accomplished. There is a psychological impact of winning. Winning not only boosts the mood of the player but also instills a sense of competence and affinity towards the app. By allowing users to experience victory in the ad, the likelihood of them installing the app increases significantly.

Keep Users Wanting More

Build anticipation and a compelling desire to continue the journey beyond the ad by teasing users with a glimpse of the “next level”. This can be done by showing a quick snapshot of what comes next in your game before serving the end card. This sneak peek might be a visual of an exciting, unexplored level or a hint at upcoming challenges or rewards.

After teasing users with a preview of the next level, immediately present them with a clear and compelling CTA. This could be a simple "Download now to continue the adventure" or "See what's next – install now." The goal is to capitalize on the heightened interest and convert it into an install or next desired action.

Always Be Testing

As with all aspects of digital marketing campaigns, it’s important to always be testing and identifying what’s driving performance. This ongoing process of experimentation, analysis, and refinement is crucial to understanding what resonates with your audience and drives conversions.

Types of Tests to Consider

  • A/B Testing: This involves creating two versions of your playable ad with one varying element (like a call-to-action, design element, or level of difficulty) to see which one performs better. It helps in making data-driven decisions rather than relying on assumptions.
  • User Experience Testing: Focus on how users interact with your ad. Are they dropping off at a certain point? Do they find it difficult to understand the gameplay? User experience testing can provide valuable insights into how to make your ad more engaging and user-friendly.
  • Creative Testing: Experiment with different creative elements such as characters, storylines, colors, and music. These components can significantly impact the user's emotional response and engagement levels.
  • Segmentation Testing: Different audience segments may respond differently to your ads. Testing how various groups interact with your ad can help tailor it more effectively to diverse audiences.



Playable ads are more effective, with higher IPM and conversion rates compared to other ad formats. Their engaging, interactive format helps brands stand out in a saturated market and combats user ad fatigue.

Best practices of playable ads:

  • Showcase Key Features: Present the essence of your game or product to capture attention quickly and boost brand awareness within the short span of a playable ad.
  • Simplicity in Design: Keep gameplay straightforward and user-friendly to increase user acceptance and interaction.
  • Balance Difficulty Levels: Ensure the right level of challenge to keep users engaged without overwhelming them.
  • Winning Experience: Allowing users to win in the ad boosts their mood and affinity towards the app, increasing install rates.
  • Create Anticipation: Tease the next level of the game in the ad to encourage users to download the app to continue their experience
  • Continuous Testing and Optimization: Always be testing to understand audience preferences and iterate ad performance over time.


Ready to break through the noise? 

CRAFTSMAN+ can help you captivate your audience with winning playable ads. Our CRAFTSMAN Studio provides a seamless way to personalize your playable ads, offering both ready-made templates and custom tools for bespoke creation. Our intuitive design tools require no coding, making it easier than ever to bring your vision to life, at scale. Take the first step towards leveling up your advertising strategy. Request a demo today and discover the power of engaging, interactive, and effective playable ads with CRAFTSMAN+.