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What playables are and why they matter 7


Alex Y author 1

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising, finding innovative ways to engage audiences and leave a lasting impression is a constant challenge for marketers. One such innovation that has been making waves in the advertising world is playable ads. These interactive ad formats not only capture users' attention but also provide a unique opportunity to create positive user experiences. But what are playables and how can they effectively reach new audiences in a more engaging manner than traditional advertising?

What Are Playable Ads?

Playable ads, as the name suggests, are interactive advertisements that allow users to engage with a mini-game or experience a product or service in a hands-on way. Instead of passively watching a video or viewing static images, users get to participate in the ad content, often in the form of a brief game or interactive simulation. Playable ads provide a sneak peek into the value a product or service offers, ostensibly allowing users to ‘try before they buy’.


Why Do Playable Ads Matter?

Rowan Santa Cruz, PLAY Product Manager says it best:“In a world where advertisements are often seen as intrusive and annoying, it's crucial to find a technique which engages users and captures their attention. Playable ads provide users with the opportunity to have an impact in their ad experience, which could be the difference between a successful install, or not.”

When presented with a playable, roughly 1 in 5 consumers will choose to engage with it and spend time with a brand. [Interactive Advertising Bureau-Playable Ads for Brands]

So, why is it that consumers are reacting so positively to playable ads?


Interactive Engagement

Playable ads stand out by allowing users to actively participate. Instead of being passive observers, users become part of the ad experience. This active engagement not only captures attention but also enhances the ad's memorability.

Juan Carlos Martinez, the CRAFTSMAN+ resident expert on all things playables [and he should be, he designs them!] underscores this:

“Playable ads are crucial because they give users a taste of what's in store [for them]. Instead of just watching a video or looking at static images, players get to actually experience the product or service. It's like a sneak peek into the fun they can have or the value they can get. Plus, playable ads are super effective. They boost engagement and retention rates because they're just so dang entertaining. Why watch a video about a game, when you can play it instead? Try before you buy!”


User-Centric Approach

Playable ads also prioritize the user's experience, offering them a snapshot of what a product or service entails. Users appreciate the opportunity to make informed decisions, which can lead to higher user satisfaction and long-term loyalty.

Brands are wising up to this approach and are capitalizing on it with rewarded experiences. Ryan Ondriezek, Art Director CRAFTSMAN+ confirms this: “Advertisers are able to achieve higher conversion rates by incentivizing the audience to engage with the ad. Maybe the user gets reward points, vouchers, or rewarded deals. The rewarded campaigns I've worked on have achieved 5X more engagement than standard advertisements in the mobile space.”

How, then, do advertisers strike the right balance between consumer experience and revenue?

As the Director of Customer Success at CRAFTSMAN+, what I am seeing in the mobile gaming and app industry, is a noticeable shift towards retaining users for longer periods. Playable ads play a crucial role in this shift as they bring in more engaged users who tend to spend more time within the app or game. These engaged users often have a higher Lifetime Value (LTV), which can lead to increased revenue opportunities and cross-promotion of other titles.

Ensuring the consumer is still the central focus means that you will not only hold onto the engagement, you will also begin to create loyalty around your brand. Playables are integral to creating quality experiences that consumers see as enjoyable, not forced. It is that balance that will drive performance for brands, and generate more revenue.


Quality Leads

A key aspect of playable ads is the ability to act as a filter. Playable ads are a powerful tool in attracting users who are genuinely interested in your product.

Juan Carlos Martinez confirms: “Playable ads help filter out the genuinely interested users, ensuring better quality leads.”

By allowing users to experience a slice of what's on offer, playable ads ensure that the leads generated are of higher quality, increasing the chances of conversion.


A/B Testing and Experimentation

Playable ads also provide marketers the ability to unlock valuable insights and data that will help drive performance. Ryan Ondriezek has some thoughts: “Playable ads hold key performance data by tracking user interactions, time spent on ads, and can help to identify key moments where conversions are likely to happen.”

With this type of valuable data, marketers can A/B test their playable ad campaigns effectively, fine-tuning the user experience and optimizing their campaigns for better engagement and conversion.

Rowan Santa Cruz has firsthand knowledge of how far playable ads have come, working with the CRAFTSMAN+ developers to build PLAY, a purpose-built platform that enables advertisers to create playable ads in minutes: “With playable ads, it’s never been easier to grab users' attention and create a snapshot experience of your game or brand. A process which used to require a dedicated developer and countless hours of work can now be accomplished on PLAY in minutes — all while using the same assets from your existing static and motion creatives. These new efficiencies in playable ad creation open up opportunities to test out concepts which would have been too risky to commit to in the past. Games can showcase the impact users have in their decisions, while brands can experiment with fun interactive experiences that drive positive connections.”

Whether you are looking to engage, challenge, frustrate, or excite your users, PLAY is your playable ad solution for an easy way to create, test and scale– in minutes.