Playable design guidelines

Designing the right playable is key. Ultimately, you will need to enter the process with a test-and-iterate approach, to find out what works for your games and your audiences.

Here are some of best practices to consider when creating playable ad experiences. They can be used to guide you through the design and creation of your playable, and they highlight some of the most important things to remember.

We have also included a list of must-have features that relate to some of these points, which you should consider when creating your playable.


Get the user engaged

Playable ads require the user to interact in order to experience what you have to offer - if you fail to get the user to do that, you've missed an opportunity. The tutorial and onboarding experience is the most important in your playable ad, so focus a lot of creative energy on this.

Tip: Use fingers, animations and tutorial text i.e. "Can you beat the level" to draw the user in.

Prioritize Interactivity

Playable ads offer you the chance to fully engage a user, so making the experience as interactive as possible is a good start. Make full use of the opportunity; don't simply rely on a single click to complete the game and show an install dialogue.

Tip: Equally, don't over complicate the controls - an experience with multiple controls can be confusing in such a short time frame. Instead focus on single-controls (i.e. tap to jump OR tap to shoot), but with multiple engagement opportunities.

Optimise the playable length

Many playable ads are delivered into rewarded placements, which typically serve a 30s forced-view video. This is a well established ecosystem that is understood by publishers and users.

Tip: Optimise your Playable ad to last ~30s (between 10-40s is generally “ok”)

Consistency is important

Focus on consistency. Whilst you may create a playable ad which drives great CTR and install rates, if the users don’t find what they expect once they have downloaded your app, then this will ultimately lead to low LTV, low engagement and uninstalls.

Tip: Create a playable experience which is consistent with your app experience. For example, allow the user to play through a tutorial or a challenging and exciting feature from the game.

Guide the user

Help the user get the most out of the experience, by giving them guidance on what to do. The user may not be aware that the ad is playable, and they will have likely not played it before. If you only have their attention for 30s, then make sure it’s not wasted being confused about what to do.

Tip: Include 1-2 instructional overlays that explain how to play the game, but don’t make the entire experience a tutorial.

Invite the user

Whilst the playable ad should mimic the real Gameplay, it is important to remember that it is still an ad! The ad should be inviting and have a clear call to action which allows the user to visit the store of your full Game experience.

Tip: Make sure you showcase some of your best features in the ad - you want to hook the user with what you have to offer.

Keep it simple

Hard to do when you have so much to offer, but simplicity really is key. Whilst you will be inclined to excite the user with all of your features, be sure that you don’t lose sight of the end goal.

Tip: Do some real-customer testing and listen to their feedback - was it enough to capture their interest, or was it too overproduced and hard to follow. It’s a fine balance to find, but there’s success in getting it right.

Make it a challenge

Just like designing your game is a careful balance, your playable ad is too. You should focus on making the ad simple, understandable and fun - but of course make sure it’s a challenge! You want to create an experience where the user can easily engage with the ad and get value from it, but not make it so difficult that they give up and leave.

Tip: Don’t simply make users win by default; let them feel like they worked for it. It’s likely to increase conversion rates if the user needs to download your app to complete the challenge.

Iterate

A/B test!

It is important to iterate on your playable ads, as you would with any video or image assets you use for advertising. Two of the main reasons to do this are:

  • Ad saturation or ad fatigue: If you’re running a large ad campaign then you may find that some users are exposed to your playable ad multiple times; as the playable is a short (~30s) game experience with no variation, you will find that users become quickly bored of this.
  • Optimisation: Just with your full game, you will need to continually measure and learn from the experiences you are creating. By doing this, you then iterate on new designs, pointers, characters, difficulty etc. You need to find what works well for your specific game and audience.
Tip: Here are some important metrics to follow closely and measure.
Play rate - how many users play the ad after it is served (per ad impression)
Install rate - how many users install your ad after seeing/playing it
Retention (D1, D7, D28) - what percentage of users retain (keep using) after downloading from your playable.

Localisation

You’ve invested time, resources and money in creating a playable - so go the final length and make sure you’re serving the user with the correct language.

Check out our guide for playable ad localisation.