Daniel Herman is the product manager for playable ads at ironSource. This article originally appeared on PocketGamer

While playable ads are the hottest ad unit out there, there are are still a few myths around the format which persist on both the app monetization and marketing sides. Below we go through some of those myths, looking at how playable ads work, how they impact gameplay or app performance, and the ultimate question – whether a 30 second ad can really capture the complexity of a mobile game.

Let’s start with some myths on the monetization side.

1. Playable ads interrupt gameplay

Many developers are under the impression that serving ads with gameplay inside a gaming app is confusing, hurts user experience, and distracts users.

However, playable ads actually help build positive in-app user experiences, since they’re designed to be as enjoyable as possible. This is why you typically see countdown timers on playable ads, because savvy UX designers understand that users feel better when they have the option to x-out – no matter the ad format. This way, playable ads can’t monopolize your users’ time. By providing users with a genuinely entertaining ad unit, developers are building game loyalty and engagement.

Ultimately, user experience depends on the developer, and where you serve the playable ads will dictate how users view them. There are many ways to integrate playable ads so that they facilitate engagement and retention – especially if the ads are running on rewarded traffic.  

If they are running on rewarded traffic, you can serve them like any normal rewarded video ad and integrate them natively into the game loop. Take Crossy Road’s lead – they’ve done a great job of making rewarded video ads seamlessly fit into the gameplay.

2. Playable ads crash apps

Let’s get this straight: playable ads don’t crash apps. The gameplay in the ad might make you think that it’s heavy, and slows down or crashes apps. But that’s simply not the case.

First of all, your app runs in a native system environment, while playable ads run in a sandbox – and whatever’s in the sandbox can’t affect anything outside it. Thus, it’s technically impossible for a playable ad to crash your app. In the rare case that the playable ad itself crashes, your app still won’t be affected.

Second, playable ads actually weigh less than video ads, and there are several optimization techniques to reduce the file size without compromising user experience or ad appearance. For example, we can compress the images into one file, so that the entire playable ad weighs about 1 to 2 MB. This is in contrast to video ads, which can weigh up to 4 MB, and can take longer to load.

Recommended Reading
How Playable Ads Help Publishers and Advertisers
How to Create Playable Ads: 7 Tips and Best Practices
4 Kinds of Interactive Ads and How They Benefit Advertisers
Interactive Video Ads Are Outperforming Static Video

Many people might think that playable ads don’t work in emerging markets, where the majority of users have older smartphones with lower CPUs. However, playable ads are optimized in order to support even the weakest smartphones. At ironSource we’ve tested playable ads on a range of different devices, some from up to six years ago – and the playable ads work fine. If users in emerging markets can play a mobile game, they can play a playable ad, too. Ultimately, building playable ads is an art and a profession. If done right, companies with experience developing playable ads shouldn’t have a problem creating stable environments.

Now that we’ve covered a few myths about serving playable ads in-app, let’s look at one of the central myths that plague app marketers evaluating whether or not to use playable ads in their user acquisition strategy.  

3. Playable ads are too short to convey my gameplay

Playable ads are usually quick, simple, and last about 30 seconds. How could you possibly show users all the complicated gaming mechanics you’ve worked so hard on in such a short snippet?

You don’t. We’ve learned that when it comes to designing playable ads, less is more. The goal isn’t to show off your intricate gameplay, it’s to pique users’ interest and get them to enjoy interacting with your game’s characters and features. The quicker you can get your game’s message across, the better your playable ad will perform. After all, users who come across your ad are in the middle of playing another game – they may not be interested in diving into a completely new world. The 30 second interactive ad is just the right amount of time to show users the best part of your game without losing their attention.

Interestingly, we’ve seen that some of the best playable ads don’t replicate gameplay at all. Instead, they focus on communicating the game’s theme. For example, a complicated strategy game with multiple characters, a convoluted story line, and its own in-game economy, could be stripped down to a simple tower defense game.

Wrapping up

It’s clear that playable ads are going to be a gamechanger. Playable ads are one of the few ad units to fully satisfy all parties involved: advertisers with high-quality users and reduced uninstall rates, publishers with extraordinary eCPMs, and users with an entertaining experience they can actually enjoy and get value from. Soon we can expect playable ads to be a staple in every savvy app developer’s monetization and user acquisition toolkit. The challenge will be in ensuring that developers and their partners treat playable ads almost like mini-games. The best playable ad campaigns involve deep analytics, a lot of A/B testing, multiple different features, and constant iterations. Done right, however, the payoff for both publishers and advertisers could be huge.

Learn more about ironSource playable ads here!

ironSource Blog

The Source

AdChat
ironsource-why-outsource-production-playable-ads

3 Reasons You Should Outsource Production of Your Playable Ad

Daniel Herman is the product manager for playable ads at ironSource. This article originally appeared on PocketGamer.  You might think that producing a playable ad is no different than putting together an app trailer. It’s just an interactive version of the same thing, right? If only it were that easy. It takes a huge amount of..

IndustryChat

3 Hot Topics To Watch Out For At Dmexco 2017

Dmexco 2017 is just around the corner and with over 250 hours of events across two days, we've picked the three hottest topics and talks at this year's conference. Come and say hello to the ironSource team if you're in Cologne. We'll be at booth E58 in Hall 6.1. You can book your meeting with..

AppChat
ironsource-what-is-ecpm-how-to-increase

What the Hell is eCPM and How Can You Increase It?

eCPM is a term that’s thrown around quite often in the mobile advertising world. But it can be quite confusing, especially for new developers looking to monetize their app through in-app advertising. Let’s take a look at what it means and why it matters for app developers. What is eCPM? eCPM is a metric used..

AppChat
zeptolab-ironsource-double-revenue-ad-mediation-platform

ZeptoLab More than Doubles Revenue with ironSource Auto-Optimization Algorithm

Since integrating ironSource’s mediation platform, ZeptoLab saw immediate increases in overall revenue and average revenue per engaged user (ARPDEU) in both Cut the Rope (1B+ installs) and King of Thieves (50M installs). Recognizing the success, ZeptoLab soon started running ironSource’s mediation platform in their newly-launched game, C.A.T.S.: Crash Arena Turbo Stars (50M installs). “With the..

AppChat

45 Twitter Accounts Every Mobile App Developer Should Follow

You want to find information to help with your mobile app but don’t know where to look. You want to follow important people on Twitter, but you find yourself lost in the vortex of links, tweets, videos, GIFs, and a lot of useless information. Twitter can be a confusing place, so we decided to help..

AdChat
ironsource-3-myths-playable-ads

3 Myths About Playable Ads

Daniel Herman is the product manager for playable ads at ironSource. This article originally appeared on PocketGamer.  While playable ads are the hottest ad unit out there, there are are still a few myths around the format which persist on both the app monetization and marketing sides. Below we go through some of those myths,..

CompanyChat
ironsource-active-protect-program-mobile-ad-fraud

ironSource Launches Active Protect Program to Minimize Mobile Ad Fraud

ironSource today announced the launch of the Active Protect program, a program for mobile advertisers which aims to prevent the most frequent types of fraud on non-SDK traffic - primarily attribution and device manipulation - by blocking fraudulent or manipulated traffic in real-time and automatically re-crediting advertisers for any spend on fraudulent traffic. Fighting mobile..

AdChat
ironsource-non-gaming-apps-playable-ad

Should Non-Gaming Apps Use Playable Ads?

This article originally appeared on iMedia Connection.  Advertising technology is evolving, and as developers continue to become more creative with their ad formats, the industry is revealing there is much more to digital advertising in 2017 than simple banner or interstitial ads. The time is right for new, exciting ad formats. 91 percent of users..

AdChat
ironsource-what-are-playable-ads-bitmango-word-cookies

The What, How, and Why of Playable Ads

Oren Cohen is the VP Media at ironSource. This article originally appeared on VentureBeat.  In 2013, the global ad blocking craze pushed the ad industry to rethink its strategies — users were fed up with intrusive, irrelevant, and boring ads. In response, we slowly saw mobile ads shift towards ad formats and creatives that both..

Interested in becoming an ironSource partner?

We’d love to hear from you.