Facebook Playable Ads Best Practices

By Tal Entin

With Facebook recently announcing their move into playable ads, mobile app marketers everywhere are strategizing to make the most of this exciting new format before it rolls out across news feeds later this year.

Official Facebook playable developers Bidalgo has successfully executed extensive campaigns with select clients where the format exceeded expectation,  increasing Click-Through Rates by 50% and Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU) by 33% .

Based on data and results acquired so far, we are delighted to reveal our top five best practice tips for superior Facebook playable campaigns.

1) Take Lessons from Your Video Ads

Mobile app marketers need to think of playable ads as ‘next generation’ video ads. Facebook themselves explain that the growth of video ads on mobile is the primary driver behind this new ad format as 2017 saw more than half of total app ad spend on video alone. Adding to this, our research and results from our clients reveal that the success of video ads often translates into playable.

As video and playable share similar behavioral patterns, it makes sense that successful video ads can also make successful playable ads- and this is far from theory. Using our technology we broke down winning creative assets from video, inserted them into a playable format and witnessed similar (and stronger) ROAS and higher long term ARPPU. Lesson learned? We identified quickly that winning creative video assets can serve as a great foundation for strong playable ads.

2) Focus on Ad Construction

If you want to create winning playable ads, you need to allocate the time, effort and manpower to structure ads that will convert. If you’re taking on this challenge alone, you better prep your team for battle as you will need to take into account elements from creative and beyond. We used our AI technology to test different playable ad characteristics and discovered the following:

Lead-in Video: we found that the lead-in video (the video that appears on the news feed, taking users to the full screen playable) can make a significant impact to the playable ad as whole. The substance of the ad needs to be well represented in your lead-in since it will be acting as a preview: the same elements need to be shared. A poor performing lead-in has the potential to stop the user journey and negatively impact ad performance.

Call to Action: we discovered that a clear call to action needs to be fully visible within the playable ad at all times for superior ad performance. After extensive testing we discovered that playable ads without calls to action did not perform at the same level as those with this feature. Wording of this element also plays it part; certain word combinations performed better than others. We experienced that in some cases ‘Next Level’ type calls to action did indeed outperform types revolving around the ‘Play Game’ wording.

Instructional Elements: we discovered that offering ‘hand holding’ instructions within playable ads can work wonders for performance. You need to find the right way to achieve this for your app. For example: from our experience, inserting a ‘user hand’ into the ad showing how to complete an app action can make a significant impact on performance compared to not inserting this element at all.

3) Ad Duration: Focus on Action!

The key take-home from playable ad length is that… duration is not the focus; action is! As the playable ad serves as an interactive ‘next generation’ video ad, you need to think in actions, not seconds. You need to focus on how many actions you include in your ad and consider the balance between offering insight into the game and over complicating the experience. From our tests, two moves generally experienced stronger performance than three or more.  Remember: once published, a playable ad can be played for hours.

4) Expect Higher Quality Users: Optimize for ROAS

The playable ad format gives users a taste of playing a game prior to install, this, in turn, creates a stronger connection between the user and the ad resulting in higher-intent installs. When considering reaching out into the world of Facebook playable ads, remember the nature of the ad. Users get to immerse themselves in this interactive video and thus will create stronger ties to the experience. From our recent campaigns, we saw this theory play out in action: ARPPU over time displayed impressive results, outperforming other ad formats by up to 33%. Select Bidalgo clients saw playable ads outperform video on user engagement and ROI metrics with a 25-30% ROAS gain after very few optimizations and iterations.

5) ….Think BEYOND the Ad

It’s all too easy to get lost in playable ad production. Facebook playable ads need to fold into a wider ad strategy. You need to consider how these ads fit into a wider multi-channel setting to push past the competition. There might just be winning elements you can take from other channel offerings (including Google HTML5 ads). Here at Bidalgo, we see the distribution of playable ads as part of a wider ‘monetization balancing’ ecosystem – playable ads generate higher quality users and stronger long term ROAS, yet CPI might be slightly higher, in turn creating a more costly ad; so it might be better to distribute playable ads in line with a wider distribution strategy for efficient spending. We see stronger performance when viewing Facebook playable ads sitting alongside other formats and indeed other channels.

By bringing playable ads to news feeds, Facebook is providing a new and intuitive ad format with an easier path to install for higher quality app users. Having extensively tested this ad with select clients, we are excited about this initiative to roll out. However, as exciting as this rollout will be for app marketers, it’s important to note that playable ads follow the rules of all other app install ads: to release successful playable ads at scale, you need winning creative assets and the technology to A/B test at a higher level. 

Published on May 3, 2018
Written by
Tal Entin

Performance Manager at Bidalgo

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