Beginners Guide to Creating a Playable Ad

Beginners guide to creating playable ads
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Advertising and marketing have been forever changed with the rise of the mobile application, with many new ways for advertisers to reach potential customers.  Whilst playable ads were less popular among the mobile gaming sector in 2017 – 2019, in 2021, it was readily used. However, we believe that playable ads also have applications outside of the mobile gaming sector, and we expect other categories to follow suit, after witnessing the increased engagement rates. Whilst playable ads are one of the newest application advertising formats out there, creating and using one can require advanced knowledge and a certain degree of trial and error. Let’s take a look at what are playable ads, how to create playable ads, whether playable ads are right for your business goal, marketing, and campaign, and how to utilize use playable ads.

In this article/

First Things First: Why Playable Ads?

Playable ads are best utilized for advertising mobile games, and best implemented on other mobile games.  When used in this situation, playable ads can attract a player base of your desired target audience, presumably those who enjoy mobile gaming.  Instead of staring at a static image for thirty seconds, consumers can interact with an ad to gain a better sense of the product being advertised.  Playable ads truly provide the “try before you buy experience” with little inconvenience to the consumer.  

Creating a playable ad is a project that requires extensive programming experience.  However, creativity and strategy are required to create a playable ad that will actually entice users to interact with the ad and generate clicks and downloads.  Exciting visuals, actual storylines, and game mechanics that excite and attract players should be forefront in the playable. Tim Shepherd, Creative Director at Wooga, also strongly encourages the avoidance of “dishonest” playable ad tactics (such as false close buttons):   “I have seen publishers attempting to artificially boost conversions with misleading UI…I do NOT recommend it”.  Creating an environment of honesty and trust can help with attracting players to the game as well as retaining them down the road.  Retention, as we know, is a vital metric to most freemium’s apps survival, as many freemium app’s monetization strategies focus on in-game engagement and an active community of ‘fishes’ to keep the ‘sharks’ interested. 

On the technical side of things, there are two dominant approaches to creating a playable ad.  The first is using “interactive video,” which is essentially video footage integrated with HTML code or a pure HTML approach where the game in the ad is recreated from scratch using HTML code.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages as well as situations where each is more appropriate.  

Interactive Video 

  • Best for 3D, cinematic games
  • Larger file size games
  • Disadvantage: high network strain


  • Full control over user interactions
  • The most accurate portrayal of actual gameplay
  • User Engagement 

HTML playable ad

When developing a playable ad, the developer should always remember that the goal is to pique the curiosity of the user through an immersive experience that leaves them wanting to find out more. If a playable is too complicated, too hard to understand, or just does not seem fun, users will put their phone down and wait for the ad to expire.  Here are some crucial tips for making your ad seem as appealing as possible.

1. Use Simple, Intuitive Mechanics

When a playable ad pops up on a user’s phone, it very well may be the first time that they have seen your game.  They may have no idea how to operate the interactive portion and decide that it is not worth trying to figure it out.  Simple mechanics that have been used in other games are perfect for allowing users to test drive the game in a short time frame.

2. Make Interactivity Apparent

The first image that a user sees should be obvious that the ad is not just a static image but is interactive.  The initial impression of the ad should point users directly to the interactive functions of the ad and provide a clear notion of what they can do within the ad.

3. Promote Further Engagement

Ideal further engagement is realized by the app being advertised being downloaded by an interested user.  If a user interacts with a playable ad and then determines there to be no additional appeal, they will never think about your app again.  The perfect equation for an app download begins with entertaining interactions and gameplay and ends with inspiration to learn more. This could be an engaging storyline, evidence of other mechanics, or just that “wow” factor that ends with a trip to the app store.  

Facebook Playable Ads

Showcase your mobile app or game with a Facebook playable ad and an intro video that encourages users to engage in News Feed or Stories. Give your users the opportunity to preview your app or game directly from your ad before installing it. So, how to create playable ads Facebook?

To upload a playable ad, go to Facebook Ads Manager and create a new campaign. Select App Installs as your campaign objective. Select the app or game you want to promote before uploading playable ads. You can search by name or store URL.

Rollout and Maintenance

Once completing your playable ad and finding the right place to display it, you may assume that your work is finished.  Wrong! Like all advertisements, playable ads will require constant monitoring and tweaking to ensure that they are completing the job that they were created to do.  Today’s advanced metrics provide us with the tools we need to fine-tune a playable ad. Click-away time, user engagement, download conversion, and others can give you a look inside the performance of your ad.  Each metric can hint at the cause of poor performance and allow you to adjust, relaunch, and watch the changes in real-time. 

Creating the perfect playable ad is most certainly a trial and error undertaking.  The first iteration of your ad may not be as successful as desired, but everything requires improvement.  This post can serve as a beginner’s guide to the world of playable ads, but experience and testing will help you to create the best playable ad possible. 

Final Thoughts on How to Create Playable Ads

Playable ads are shown to increase many vital metrics, such as ad completion and conversion. Although, they might have higher start-up costs and be more involved and time-consuming to create. Whilst playable ads have effectively penetrated the mobile gaming sector, we predict that the enhanced interactivity and glimpse into the product or service will drive an increase in playable ad spend in other sectors in 2021. We hope this guide has answered all of your questions, regarding what are playable ads, and how to implement them.

If you’d like to get a gauge on whether or not your playable ads are clean, and generating sustainable and healthy traffic, then get started here with our free trial. 

About the Author

Natalie Stepanova. Natalie has a account Head of Marketing & PR – Apptica

Natalie Stepanova is Head of Marketing & PR at Apptica.com, she leads marketing activity and turns analytical data into comprehensive market reports being a source of insider information for any kind of mobile experts.

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