Comment & Opinion

How Playrix mastered appealing to their players' anchoring bias

Rovio’s Claire Rozain casts a meticulous lens over Playrix’s user acquisition strategies, and examines their manipulation of anchoring bias in her new weekly column, UA Eye

How Playrix mastered appealing to their players' anchoring bias does not need to express how vital user acquisition is to the mobile games industry. With IAPs driving less than 50 per cent of revenue, and privacy changes from Apple and Google disrupting the ad monetisation landscape, bringing more players onboard is only becoming more vital.

This means thinking creatively, strategically, and sometimes even misleadingly. Claire Rozain, UA team lead at Rovio, casts her expert lens on the latest user acquisition strategies in her new weekly column, UA Eye.

Hoist the anchor

It's best to be upfront: players rely heavily on the very first piece of information they receive. So when you're trying to speak to the largest possible mobile audience, it's best to be straightforward – give them the essential details to stop them scrolling away.

Fortunately, Playrix is a master of the anchoring bias. Let's take a look at one of the firm's campaigns for Fishdom.

The breakdown

Honing in on interaction while immediately revealing the mechanic: users respond positively to large and immediate elements, being naturally more eye-catching and attention-grabbing. Here, the zoom exaggerates while confidently explaining the mechanic.

Honing in on interaction while immediately revealing the mechanic

Avoidance of scarcity: Not specifically synonymous with expressing plentiful rewards but certainly related. Here, the focus is on multiple yellow dots spreading a satisfying and seemingly unlimited supply of rewards in order to support player progression.

Avoidance of scarcity

Yellow coins effect: Coins perform quite well in advertising and speaks to very groups of demographics. Yellow rewards in particular seems optimal to reach a wide audience – perhaps an associated to the well-known coins in other franchises?

Yellow coins effect

Magnetic interaction: Who doesn't like magnets? In-game magnetic interaction has performed well in hypercasual and especially runner titles – and is even deployed in some idle arcade titles – so it makes sense to focus on this satisfying mechanic.

Magnetic interaction

Disclosure of progress: It is only at the end of Playrix's ad that the complexity of messaging increases, to prevent overwhelming the target audience. You get a zoom-out effect disclosing the complexity of the game, pairing the simplicity of gameplay at the start with the declaration of a more involved progress and possible metagame.

Disclosure of progress

Overall, this is a near-perfect creative ad by Playrix! There is strong ad consistency across the concept, depiction of interaction, and it has mastered how to create immediate appeal and enhanced the psychological effect over potential players.


You can find every weekly installment of Claire Rozain's UA Eye through this link, and for more from Rozain, check out the Puzzle Society. regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.