Mindworks break down playable ads in case-study

Playable ads are a way of showcasing gameplay within an advertisement to engage and attract players. So how do they work and how effective are they?

Mindworks break down playable ads in case-study

Playable ads are not a new concept. For those familiar with Adobe flash games, there were plenty of them around that challenged players to shoot at targets or complete simple tasks. Even if the game being advertised was more complex in reality these simple ads seemed to pop up everywhere. Whatever their effectiveness they seemed to mostly be a thing of the past, but on mobile these ads are quickly becoming in vogue.

A playable ad, as you’ve probably already guessed, is a playable portion of a given mobile game served as an ad. Players are challenged to complete some simple gameplay that then takes them to the app store, with the hope that this taster will entice them to make the download. According to Mindworks these techniques have been very effective.

Try me

In one of their promotional blog posts, Mindworks broke down their approach to creating a playable ad for the game “Wacky Jelly”. They approached it in three different ways; By picking the game’s most “fun and eye-catching levels,” integrating effects to improve positive feedback (sound, changing visuals and a ‘Bullet Screen’ effect in the background) and setting a maximum of two playable levels. Winning both levels would send players to the app store, whereas losing one would give them another chance at the level before taking them to the app store regardless.

Naturally Mindworks are also looking to promote their Playturbo service, however their approach to rapid A/B testing is still interesting, especially with a purported 62.11% conversion rate. Their final three suggestions were: “Know what players like and get their attention,” “Fun ≠ complex; reducing churn is key” and “Make the best of your ad through constant iterations”. Essentially, recognise what would immediately stand out to a player and look to rapidly change in accordance with metrics.

We’ve previously examined other breakdowns of mobile advertising and user acquisition, as well as some pitfalls faced by those running afoul of the Advertising Standards Agency. Keeping conscious of advertising and understanding it on all levels is one of the key challenges faced by both developers and publishers in the mobile gaming market.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.