HTML5 Playable ads

html5 playable ads


Ever entered a supermarket to be greeted by a complimentary sample of a new product a company launched? Try before you buy, or taste that new ice cream flavor before splurging on it? Well, meet this strategy’s online counterpart, a new breed of advertisement, just when you thought ads couldn’t get any more creative—presenting to you, HTML5 playable ads!

What Are Playable Ads?

According to an exhaustive study by Magna, with 11,000 U.S consumers, 64% couldn’t wait to skip YouTube ads, and 84% of people skip skippable YouTube ads on smartphones. Hence, the need arises for businesses to make people interact or take action on the billions of dollars they spend on video marketing. So they came up with playable ads, mainly HTML5 playable ads.

Playable ads are mini-games or tutorials that give you a ‘taste’ of the whole host of features that the original application offers. Both gaming and non-gaming industries employ them, and the number of conversions (from being a mere browser to a potential customer) is astounding!

Playable ads are usually built on HTML5 and are scaled-down versions of the full-blown app. After trying out the mini-game, players are asked to install the app for immersive gameplay. We can also direct them to a website/landing page or any other call to action.

Why Do You Think You Need HTML5 Playable Ads?

The obvious answer is to make online users see what you offer since the usual video ads, animated banners and pop-ups are instinctively blocked by users globally. Instead of continuing to be intrusive or irrelevant, the ad industry has re-positioned its strategy towards interactive ad format or gameplay that has seen promising results.

High Retention Rate:

Html5 playable ads development is a powerful marketing strategy for acquiring users. Moreover, they focus on attracting quality customers rather than a large volume of uninterested customers who are bound to leave. 

According to ironSource, retention rates go up by 30 to 40 percent via playable ads. Since the users have already interacted with your product and have been through a mini demo, they are in by choice. And they are here to stay. User retention rates are double for playable than they are for traditional video ads, and they offer seven times more click-through rates as well. So, with playable ads, you see your KPIs going up the graph exponentially as they bring in the most engaged users. Also, they are fun!

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Apart from generating higher retention rates, html5 playable ads development also results in lifetime value customers. Since users have already tried out the game mechanics and are hooked by the storyline, there is a high chance they are going to stick with it till the end. This results in high player LTV.

Come to think of it, the users who don’t like the application are already out of the picture. This lets the marketing team focus entirely on engaged users as well as save allocated advertisement funds in the long run.

Greater Return on Investment (ROI) despite high Cost per Install (CPI):

Playable ads are more expensive to create and implement than video ads which make their cost per install (CPI) higher. But due to high retention rates, advertisers are better able to focus more on interested users and filter out low LTV users, consequently increasing return on investment (ROI) which is totally worth it. 

Gain deep data insights:

You have access to advanced analytics in real-time, which is not the case with conventional banner ads. Since there are more moving parts in a playable that can be optimized and tracked, you can gain valuable insight into the following parameters:

  • Why users like the ad, and why did they install the app
  • Number of downloads
  • User behaviour with tutorial prompt metrics
  • User behaviour with the gameplay
  • User’s response to the end card CTA
  • Click through rate
  • Share rate
  • Replay rate

How Do HTML5 Playable Ads Work?

Html5 Playable ads work by incorporating three main elements into your ad.

  1. Tutorial
  2. Gameplay
  3. CTA (Call to Action)

The tutorial introduces your game to viewers by showing them the game mechanics. It should be short and sweet and strategically made to draw in potential customers. Consider it the hook with the bait to lure customers. So if the tutorial is uninteresting, there is a low chance of a conversion.

For example, a tutorial for a game like Bejeweled should show how identical diamonds they matched to make them disappear and score points. Since the tutorial is your first point of contact with the viewers, make sure it impresses them enough to try the ad and ultimately install the app.

Gameplay is the user’s turn to try out the game after watching the mini tutorial. Your gameplay should be engaging and should include the main aspects of the game for the player to try out. Be sure to include sound effects, reward points and other assets to create an incredible experience that leaves people wanting more. 

For non-gaming apps, gamification allows users to interact or test-drive some features of your app to see how snappy it would feel to actually use one.

Call-to-Action (CTA) is the end card that prompts users to install the app to continue enjoying the game. We should place CTA at the end or throughout the playable ad to direct users to the main website or the App Store/ Play Store. This is the final element of your ad experience and can be customized to fit the type of campaign you are running. It could be prompt to download an app, make a purchase, sign up for an email list or whatever it is you are targeting.

Playable ad expert, Tim Shepherd, shares his thoughts on what he believes to be a spectacular closing of a playable–

“I will always try to end a playable experience on a ‘wow moment’ which piques players’ curiosity about the content of the game – a huge reveal, a big reward moment, a story cliffhanger… All of these methods are great at making players excited to uncover the secrets in the games themselves. I believe the immersive playable experience delivering those moments can help boost retention later on in the actual game.”

Playable ad formats

There are two approaches to creating a playable ad:

  1. Pure HTML5 playable ads
  2. Interactive video

We build pure HTML5 playable ads from scratch, and it replicates the main game assets and mechanics. It is of small file size, so it streams more smoothly. It is capable of replicating your game as closely as possible and offers more accuracy and complete control of the ad.

An interactive video is an embedded video wrapped in an HTML5 layer. This type is more suitable for 3D or cinematic gaming experiences that are hard to replicate by pure HTML. The file size is heavy, so it puts a strain on the server, and slow buffering may be counter-intuitive to lots of users.

How to Develop Playable Ads for Mobile:

Development of a playable ad requires more advanced programming than other ad formats, as there are more parts to optimize. But the outstanding results overshadow the extra time, energy and resources that go into creating one.

The challenging part is to identify the most engaging features of your game and incorporate them seamlessly into your playable. You also need to ensure that your game represents the original gameplay in the app.

If you are thinking about creating playable ads for mobile/smartphones, then think of Facebook. With over 2.3 billion users, Facebook is a good place to find your audience and people interested in your company. Apart from an immersive, interactive experience that Facebook playable ad offers, it also helps to increase brand recall.

So you’ve created a playable to market the game you’ve recently launched. Now what?

Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when creating and deploying a playable ad on the web:

  1. Make sure your ad preview matches the game tutorial that follows, and the gameplay matches that of the original in the app. Failure to do so will make users shy away from making future purchases, and your brand will also lose trust and reputation with its followers.
  2. Make the demo simple and easy to follow with on-screen instructions.
  3. Test, track, optimize and iterate. That’s a lot to follow. But it would be sheer negligence on your part if you don’t make the most out of the rich analytics behind your playable ad. Delve deeper into your user base, see what triggers them to take action and fine-tune the playable accordingly. You can do this by carrying out A/B testing. A/B testing is an iterative process n which you create different versions of your ads and run each variant across similar audience groups. This allows you to understand which version delivers the best results so that you can scale it up to include a larger audience.
  4. Reward players in your playable ad with points or an advantage with which they can start the actual game in the app. This is an effective strategy for converting users into dedicated players. 

What Can We Expect from HTML5 Playable Ads?

There are numerous case studies that reflect how powerful playable ads can be. High retention rates and high-quality LTV players have transformed ordinary games into all-time favourites on the charts. 

Me2Zen is one such game that ran Facebook playable ads to stand out in a competitive market. Me2Zen is a card game developer based in Hong Kong. It launched Solitaire TriPeaks Journey in the already saturated card game market. They stood out from the crowd by attaining a competitive edge by running playable ad campaigns on Facebook. They used both playable ads and video ads to gain some traction. Ultimately, the engaging and interactive playable ad creative piqued the interest of high-intent players and their KPIs sky-rocketed. The following are the key points in their success story.

  • The game app saw an increase in click-through rates by 10X
  • Achieved 50% return on investment on ad spend
  • Players made 3X more in-app purchases
  • Cost per install decreased by 9%

Final Thoughts:

With ad blocking technologies on the rise, chances are your video ad might not see the light of day even if it is being played in front of the target users. Html5 Playable ads are an effective technique to tell the world you exist. Though they are a highly successful marketing strategy, it would be unwise to solely bank on playable to market your products. It should include them in the advertisement plan, along with other ad formats.          

A challenge encountered with playable is that these ads are costlier to produce than other video ads, and many companies don’t have a budget allocated, especially to a playable format. But if outsourced to the right company, you can simply reduce the time and effort it takes to produce one. If you have a game that you want to market to acquire users, don’t hesitate to contact us at Gamenary.

Gamenary is an HTML5 game development company that can execute your game concept into virtual reality. Select a platform or framework of your choice, or let us take care of that, too. We build high-quality games with rich graphics and a high frame rate that works across multiple platforms and feel incredibly seamless as you explore the game worlds that we create.