Game On: Strategies for Creating Killer Mobile Game Ads

Chiara Patrizi
March 30, 2023
Game On: Strategies for Creating Killer Mobile Game Ads

What Are Mobile Game Ads and why are they so important?

Mobile gaming has become a massive industry, with millions of people playing games on their smartphones every day. As a result, mobile games ads have become the most effective way for businesses to reach their target audience. In this article, we will explore the world of mobile game ads and take a closer look at the most popular ad formats for mobile games and what features ads must display to be more appealing and compelling. Let’s start answering a simple question, what are Ad Creatives?

Ad creatives are the ads used in app install campaigns to capture the attention of potential customers and persuade them to take a specific action, such as downloading or purchasing a mobile game. In the context of mobile games, ad creatives may include video trailers, gameplay footage, screenshots, app icons, and other promotional materials. 

Effective ad creatives can help increase visibility and downloads, leading to high quality user acquisition and better retention rates, which ultimately drive revenue and profitability for mobile game developers. Therefore, it is essential for game developers to invest time and resources into developing high-quality ad creatives that resonate with their target audience and drive the desired user behaviors. 

Most Popular Mobile Game Ads

  • Playable Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Native Ads
  • Rewarded Ads

Playable Ads

When speaking about Mobile Games Ads, one of the most popular formats are without any doubt Playable ads, which are a type of interactive mobile ad format that allows users to try out a portion of a game or app within the ad itself, before they download or purchase the full version. Essentially, they are a mini version of the game that users can interact with directly in the ad.

Playable ads typically start with a short teaser video or image that showcases the game's key features and invites users to play. The playable ad usually includes a simplified version of the game's interface, along with a tutorial or instructions on how to play. This format can be highly engaging and effective at driving app installs, as they allow users to experience the game's mechanics, rather than just watching a video or seeing static images.

Video Ads

Another widely used Mobile Games Ads format is the one of Video Ads. Short, engaging video ads  (around 30 seconds) can be effective in capturing users' attention and promoting the game's key features and drive app installs or in-app purchases. Video ads can take several different forms, but they typically feature gameplay footage or animations set to music or voiceover narration. The goal of the video ad is to capture the viewer's attention and showcase the game's unique features or gameplay mechanics.

Playable and Video Ads are more expensive than other ad formats, such as banners, however, they are also the most profitable formats in terms of CTR, install and ROI.

Native Ads

A further mobile game ads format, which is highly performative are Native Ads. These ads blend in with users' interface and appear as if they are a natural part of the app. Native ads can be less intrusive than other formats and may have higher click-through rates. Native ads for mobile games can be effective because they feel less intrusive than other ad formats.

To give an example, TikTok Native Ads seem to be the most effective ad format for mobile games, since this social media boasts more than 800 million active users. The key for a successful TikTok Native Ad isn’t creating traditional ads, but rather focus on producing Tik Toks that display your mobile game. The most effective TikTok ads are those that blend seamlessly with user-generated content, meaning the more your ad resembles a typical TikTok video, the greater level of engagement it will likely receive. Basically, Don’t Make Ads, Make Tik Toks.

Rewarded Ads

Last but not least,  Rewarded ads for mobile games are a popular way for developers to monetize their games while providing a positive user experience. These ads offer in-game rewards to players who choose to watch them voluntarily, providing players with a way to progress faster or unlock new features without having to spend real money.

Rewarded ads typically offer players in-game currency, special items, or power-ups in exchange for watching a short advertisement. They are often presented as a choice to the player, allowing them to opt-in to the ad experience if they desire the reward.

One of the benefits of rewarded ads is that they offer a win-win situation for both players and developers. Players can enjoy the game without having to spend money, while developers can earn revenue from advertisers who pay for the ads.

3 Tips Tips to Create Killer Ads for Your Mobile Game

Make the gameplay clear

The best way to make gameplay clear in ad creatives is to show actual gameplay footage. This allows potential players to see what the game looks like in action and get a better understanding of how it plays.

To keep the ad creatives interesting and engaging, use a variety of shots that showcase different aspects of the gameplay. For example, show close-ups of characters or weapons, as well as wider shots of environments or battles.


Use bright and eye-catching colors

When creating visuals it is important to keep in mind that some colors are more performative than others. Bright colors can catch the eye and grab the attention of potential players as they scroll through social media feeds or app stores. Bright colors can convey a sense of excitement and energy, which is important for mobile games that often involve fast-paced action or intense competition. 

Appeal to your users’ motivation and emotions

When realizing your mobile game ad, you must keep in mind that  people’s actions are often motivated by emotions. Therefore, also choosing a game rather than another can be a decision driven by the emotional sphere.  Use emotional appeals in your ad content to tap into your audience's motivations. For example, you can create a sense of urgency by using phrases like “Act now before it's too late”, in fact people are more likely to take action when they feel a sense of urgency. 

Appealing to motivation can also be helpful. Gamer motivations are the reasons why people choose to play certain games. We can use these motivations to understand our audience better and create content that appeals to them. An example of motivation can be self-expression, users can be motivated to play a certain game to express their creativity and personal identity ( i.e. by designing their home etc.)

To Sum Up

Let’s sum up the key point of this article, shall we? It is clear as day that mobile game ads play a crucial role in attracting and retaining users. Effective ad creatives can increase visibility, downloads, user acquisition, retention rates, and ultimately, profitability for game developers. The most popular ad creative formats for mobile games include playable ads, video ads, native ads, and rewarded ads. When creating ad creatives, it is essential to make gameplay clear, use bright and eye-catching colors, and appeal to the users' emotions and motivations. By creating high-quality ad creatives that resonate with their target audience, mobile game developers can increase their chances of success and profitability.