Playable Ads Beyond Mobile Games: 3 Successful Examples

Viola Zannarini
January 4, 2024
Playable Ads Beyond Mobile Games: 3 Successful Examples

In a world where attention spans are as brief as an Instagram story, traditional ad formats for mobile apps are losing their appeal. 

Here enter playable ads, the interactive mini-games that are not just a pitch but an immersive adventure into the app itself.

Playable ads, which are usually made for mobile games, let users have a fun and interactive experience with a brand's product or service. This leads to more people getting interested and actually engaging with the app, making the ads more effective.

But lately, we've been noticing a new trend - playable ads for non-gaming apps

Brands like food and beverage, fashion, and beauty companies are jumping in this direction and using playable ads to promote their stuff. And it's actually working pretty well!

Join us in this article as we unravel the magic behind playable ads, exploring how non-gaming apps leverage interactivity to captivate audiences, reshape user acquisition, and transform the mobile app experience. 

What Are Playable Ads

Playable ads are mini-games that offer users a unique opportunity to explore and engage with an app's features before actually installing it. This interactive experience provides a concise yet compelling customer experience, encapsulating the very essence of a brand.

Playable ads give brands an opportunity to show off their best features and make users interact with them. These small games have better results in terms of conversion rates and CTR compared to traditional formats. 

By offering users a sneak peek into the gameplay or in-app experience, playable ads break free from the static nature of conventional advertising, creating a more profound connection with the audience.

Playables strategically position themselves as in-app full-screen interstitials within prominent social media platforms, mobile gaming apps, and various entertainment or media apps. 

The user's conscious decision to interact with the ad signals not only their interest but also their willingness to engage with your brand. This ensures a higher chance that the users that will install the app will effectively enjoy it, becoming active high-quality users with high LTV

From the user's perspective, the perks of playable ads lie in the ability to experience a taste of the app's functionality before making the commitment to install. 

Engaging in a mini-game not only provides entertainment but also transforms the typical passive waiting time during an ad into an interactive and enjoyable moment. 

In essence, playable ads totally change the way we experience ads. They take annoying interruptions and turn them into something fun and interesting, breaking the rules of regular advertising.

Why Playable Ads Can Be Used Also for Non-Gaming Apps

It's true that playable ads have mostly been used for mobile games, but that doesn't mean they can't be effective for other types of apps. Actually, in recent years, more and more non-gaming apps have been using playable ads in their advertising campaigns. 

This is because playable ads have a lot of benefits. First of all, they're 32% more memorable than video and static ads, and people pay attention to them for longer too, which is a benefit that shouldn’t be underestimated. 

They're interactive and immersive, which creates excitement and curiosity. When you can actually interact with an ad, it gets you more interested and engaged, so you end up spending more time with it. And that means better chances of actually getting people to install the app.

Playable ads have 3 times higher conversion rates than traditional video ads and are 46% more effective than other ads. By letting users experience a brand's product or service firsthand, playable ads can help build trust and confidence in the brand. 

This makes users more likely to make a purchase or take any other desired action. 

And on top of all that, they're easier to measure and have a lower CPI rate, compared to other ad formats. 

That's why non-gaming companies like dating, e-commerce, food and beverage brands, and others are using playable ads now.

What Does It Mean to Gamify Non-Gaming Apps

But how do you turn a routine utility app into a captivating, competitive experience? 

The answer lies in the art of gamification, where smart marketers are transforming regular tasks into fun and interactive adventures that immediately grab the users' attention.

The initial issue for non-gaming apps adopting gamification is identifying a gamified or competitive aspect that can be showcased within a playable ad.

By thinking outside the app's primary functionality, marketers can create mini-games related to their industry or business.

For example, a dating app might feature a fake “swipe and match” experience, showcasing the mechanics of this non-gaming app. Otherwise a food delivery app might feature a playable ad with a puzzle of a popular dish that has to be completed.

This approach allows marketers to connect with users through a playful experience that may even not directly mirror the app's core functionality.

Moreover, as people become less tolerant of annoying interruptions, it becomes crucial to prioritize the best user experience. 

That's where opt-in ad formats like rewarded videos come in, giving users the choice to engage voluntarily. It's all about letting users take control and shape their own ad experience. 

When users feel in charge, it's a win-win situation for both the non-gaming app and users.

The world is your oyster when it comes to gamifying apps, and being creative is a must to capture users' attention. Marketers who creatively integrate gamification into their campaigns unlock the potential for positive brand associations, connecting with both potential and existing users on a deeper level.

Some Examples of Playable Ads for Non-Gaming Apps

Now let’s look at some successful examples of non-gaming apps that have used playable ads in their user acquisition campaigns.

McDonald’s some time ago, to launch its new app, created this fun and entertaining ad

Instead of showing just the features of the app, the marketing team decided to design a labyrinth game, in which the users had to solve the puzzle game and connect some food items to the Big Mac at the end of the path.

Another interesting example is this Lego Friends ad. To advertise the new product, Lego decided to display the concept of assembling the pieces, typical of its products, with a simple but still enjoyable playable.

In this mini game, the players have to assemble a Lego house by dragging the pieces.

At the end of the ad, the users have engaged with the brand and their attention has been captured by the new product.

And last but not least, the popular shopping app Temu has recently been circulating a playable ad that features the brand logo split into puzzle pieces.

The user has then to complete the puzzle to finally reveal the image.

While not being representative of the in-app experience like some other brand’s ads, it still demonstrates its effectiveness.

With this mini game the users are entertained and, as the length of the ad depends on the speed at which they finish the puzzle, they are more willing to interact with it. 

This leads to a lasting and positive impression of the brand that remains within the user, who is then more inclined to install the app.

Playable Ads are the Future of Non-Gaming Apps

Nowadays users’ attention is a scarce commodity, and playable ads have become game-changers. 

They are not just for mobile games anymore, as all kinds of brands are using playable ads to grab people's attention and make ads more interesting. 

These ads are memorable and interactive, they turn boring tasks into exciting adventures, and they actually get people to engage with the brand or install the app. It's a winning strategy for companies that aren't in the gaming industry. 

The future is playful, interactive, and full of possibilities for non-gaming apps ready to captivate their audience. It's time to play and win in the world of mobile advertising!