Playable Ads Types, Benefits, and Tips

Playable ads
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When first opening an ad, users will come across a tutorial that quickly details how to play the ad, they will see which steps to take, usually with a sentence or two of text instructions.

The text may include see-through overlays that go away as soon as the user starts interacting with the ad.

The ability to test-run a game before deciding to install it makes playable ads more enticing than video ads. For that reason, playable ads have been recognized as one of the most effective ad formats by industry leaders.

Even though they have not been utilized as much as video ads, playable ads are known to remarkably boost conversions due to their interactive nature.

While mobile gaming apps are usually the first to come to mind when thinking of playable ads, other types of ads may also utilize playable ads to connect with their customers.

For example, grocery stores could advertise for their brands by creating a shopping mini-game that enables users to catch items in a virtual shopping cart to get discounts they can use in their app.

This would motivate people to not only engage with the game but also install the app to benefit from the rewards.

By the day, playable ads are gaining more popularity and engagement because they combine interactivity with gamification, and this says that playable ads are not greeted with similar distrust that customers are beginning to attack intrusive advertising

Therefore, this ad format should become a part of every marketer’s toolbox as soon as possible.

In this blog post, I will walk you through a detailed route of what Playable Ads are and how to leverage them in your marketing campaign for 2023.

What are Playable Ads?

Playable ads are the new guys on the bloc; you can call them game changers who are encouraging customers to be free to judge the product by its cover.

The idea behind this ad format comes from the “try-before-you-buy” strategy, which is common in the game creation industry.

They are often associated with mobile game marketing and allow users to try out gameplay without having to first install the actual app. Today, playable ads spread across all types of industries and brand experiences.

These ad types are light, impressive, and engaging with high conversion rates.

How to Develop Playable Ads For Your Mobile App?

By using creative apps, you can simply create playable ads for your brand. With personalized content, you can be creative and earn more return on investment (RoI).

#1. Create tutorials for your playable ad

Playable ads are often very simple formats, but to boost the first-time user experience, it is better to make a tutorial to serve them better ads.

It should be the first thing a user will see, so keep it short and simple. Include only information that is most needed to play and avoid any further advertising.

#2. Boost app performance

As with any other marketing strategy, you should track the feedback and reaction to the ad and possibly perform testing to select the best model.

The A/B testing format is a very famous model to test more versions. Simply utilize different versions and uncover similar user groups for the same amount of time and compare results.

#3. Gain access to valuable data.

Use metrics to have an insight into your user data. This will help you distinguish which is the better and more valuable ad format and how to create future ads.

All data-driven mobile marketers find the insights very useful and can make targeted marketing attract even more users.

#4. Pick software

Choosing quality and user-friendly software is already half of the work completed. You don`t need to have previous knowledge to work in simple programs as the Shoutem app is.

Owing to intuitive features and a drag-and-drop system, you can easily create and personalize ads for your needs and to reflect your brand.

Why Marketers Should Use Playable Ads?

Playable ads are valuable to marketers who have had to rethink their strategies for ad campaigns, due to ad-blocking technologies.

But playable provide much more than just a legal workaround.

One important benefit of playable is that the in-ad interaction points can be separately analyzed for performance and behavioral information.

This, in turn, allows marketers to optimize each creative element for even more effective targeting, without depending on traditional tracking measures for beneficial first-party data.

What’s more, those who choose to engage with playable ads spend more time engaged and are most likely to move beyond awareness and consideration.

Burger King was one of the first non-gaming brands to experiment with playable ads with 2015’s Angriest Whopper game, which generated about 336,700 plays and an average click-through-rate (CTR) of 40.25% in just 14 days, all for the winnings of a Burger King coupon.

This top-of-funnel engagement drives down-funnel conversions and boosts a customer’s lifetime value. Though the initial investment may be greater than regular videos or images, playable ads are more profitable eventually.

Playable ads Types

Looks like you need more convincing and I will do just that.

#1. Playable ads do not require users to download or install anything. The game can be played right there on the place of viewing, outside of the platform.

As a result, there is no distraction in the way of interaction, which provides a smooth user experience.

#2. Playable ads help filtrate non-committed users. We can not stress enough how much an active opt-in measurably improve conversion and retention rates, reduces uninstalls, and delivers a higher effective cost per thousand impressions  (eCPM) to ad publishers.

#3. Playables load quickly on all platforms due to their small size, which minimizes interruptions in the user experience.

#4. Playable ads bring a moment of excitement to users. Especially on mobile devices, users are either focused on a single task or looking for a pleasant distraction to kill boredom.

Short gameplay convincingly combines these two states of attention.

#5. More extensive content elements such as videos, ticketing, and sweepstakes can be easily integrated into playables. This offers the benefit of providing more quality content for even greater interaction.

Tips for Making Great Playable Ads?

Clearly, players that test-drive your game before installing it on their devices are more likely to be the quality long-term audience you are looking for.

Now you have an opportunity to draw them in, so how do you make a great playable ad that inspires customers to tap? Leverage the tips below to get it right.

#1. Keep it fun and simple

Simpler interactions create pleasant experiences that the player is most likely to enjoy and engage with. Make your playables easy from the get-go and avoid overly complex interactions.

Never assume that the user should be familiar with your game. The best approach is to see the users as not having any knowledge of your game.

When the ads pop over a game, there is a strong chance that the user might be seeing it for the first time. This may throw them between the desire to try it or not.

Users can test drive your app within 30 seconds with playable ad games when you utilize intuitive and simple mechanics.

When you keep playables simple, you get results. In simple words, the tutorial should be simple and easy to understand how to play the game by just watching the 30 seconds tutorial.

Your Call-to-Action button should be simple so that they can quickly understand what it is meant for.

#2. Utilize visual language

Explain how to play the ads with intuitive visual cues and textless iconography that can be understood globally. Let the user understand what action you want them to take.

The faster the user understands the rules, the sooner they will play the game.  For example, an image of a hand motioning to hit a button or swipe on the screen has become part of our screen visual vernacular today, no need to tell a user to “swipe to match” when we can show them.

#3. Display your actual game

Playable ads that demo authentic gameplay are less likely to be uninstalled once they are installed by the user.

#4. Show off the best part of the game

Let the users play an exciting and crucial event in your game, preferably a moment that promises some reward if they continue playing. For example, we could make the user collect resources, craft items, or build a shelter, but fighting zombies would be a far better choice and angle to show them.

#5. Let users play ASAP

Drop the user into the middle of the action sooner to make them more likely to engage and less likely to close the ad out of impatience.

Avoid lengthy tutorials, long introduction animations, and static “choose your character” setups. Take the users right at the fun part.

Playable examples

Great Benefits of Playable Ads

#1. Reduce uninstall rates and improves retention

The user that has an opportunity to try the app before installing is less likely to uninstall it after or be disappointed with it later.

This decreases the churn or uninstalls rate after installation. By giving them the opportunity to test-drive the game, users are more likely to start using it immediately and to improve their time using it.

This significantly boosts audience lifetime value and returns better investment.

#2. Gain access to beneficial data insights

Data about users’ preferences and habits are the most valuable information in a digital marketing plan. By properly using the collected data, playable ad developers can help marketing experts to create better ads to reach the target audience.

You can find the exact user type for your brand and create more tailored ads for them.

#3. Drive engagement organically

Since the user journey funnel can be long and last for some time, using the app immediately shortens funnel engagement and motivates users to make the decision faster.

By using an interactive and interesting format, you will drive your engagement organically. This can be well utilized in mobile gaming experiences where people tend to spend more time relaxing.

#4. Distinguishing from other brands

Using the app for the first time in ads creates higher interaction between the user and the brand and transparency makes it preferable for users to use the app.

Plus, the more creative approach you take, the more playable ads will help you to distinguish from other brands and become more recognizable to your market.

Optimizing Your Playable Ads for Better Results

Even though playable ads are very convenient for a larger audience, you still need to optimize your ad campaign to reach the interested group and earn more loyal and constant users.

Here are valuable tips to leverage.

#1. Segment your audience

For testing or launching an advertising campaign, you need to split your audience into two similar groups to convey research on them.

By using a similar, but rather different version of the playable ad, you can discover which has more reactions and which to use in the final process.

#2. Analysis

An analysis is a very popular format in traditional marketing, including in gaming marketing. Once you get the first results, you need to compare them and create an analysis to check what the differences are and to compare facts easier.

#3. Implement changes

For a richer gameplay experience, you should update and change the ad according to research results. This is the important step for playable ad developers to recognize and implement needed changes and create the best version.

#4. Adapt your hypothesis and repeat

Testing time is a continuous circle. Once you are finished with one test, you can create a newer version and test it with the previous best version. That is a unique way to perform better and create a better version around the clock.


Well, now your concepts about playable ads must be truly clear or clearer after walking the road to this point.

Without a doubt, playable ads can be time-consuming and costly to create, but they have shown some good results in the past and promise to show better ones in the future.

Playable ads have made their name in the game industry, and we expect them to do the same in other industries in the coming years.

Feel free to adopt them in your marketing and are sure to reap massive returns leveraging them.

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba has over 11 years of digital marketing and specifically focuses on paid advertising on social media and search engines. He loves tech and kin in learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He consults on digital marketing and growth hacking.

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