3 Successful Creative Trends for Mobile Gaming Ads

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Three creative trends for mobile gaming ads from Sensor Tower's latest webinar with Jam City

With an increasing amount of competition and the demand for creative experiences reaching critical highs, the mobile games category has seen massive innovations in paid user acquisition. Publishers often have only a few seconds to make an impact on potential players, so eye-catching creatives become critical to netting new users.

In November, Sensor Tower hosted a webinar with Jam City that highlighted some of the ways games are pioneering creatives in mobile ads. Take a look at these trends that were especially popular last month.

Character-Focused Content

The trending creatives from Playrix’s Homescapes have moved away from the pin-pulling creatives that didn’t reflect actual gameplay. These newer creatives are almost identical to competitor Matchington Mansion’s infidelity-themed creatives and also imitate Lily’s Garden’s themes of infidelity, heartbreak, and struggle. See the comparison below:

Homescapes' mobile ads are similar to competitor Matchington Mansion's

Playrix has iterated on these creatives by experimenting with the main character, Austin, kneeling instead of standing, as well as Austin dealing with heartbreak due to infidelity (instead of a brokenhearted female character). It appears that Playrix is opting for more character-focused content and even reverting to older “house on fire catastrophe” creatives. This decision mirrors its U.K. creative strategy.

Taking Viewers by Surprise

After time away from the network, KamaGames’ Pokerist began advertising on Chartboost again in early November. Its creative quickly gained traction and is now ranked No. 1 in Top Chartboost Casino creatives for November. How did that happen?

First, what makes this creative compelling is the element of surprise. By having a finger that clicks the “pause” button mid-game, viewers are taken out of their expected demo narrative. Second, by freezing the frame and creating an opportunity for KamaGames to interject three screens about the various types of games available, viewers become more familiar with the overall product offering.

Finally, the combination of engaged viewers and product previews allows Pokerist to have a softer end screen call to action (“Find all these games in the Pokerist App”), further differentiating it from the end screens of its competitors.
Pokerist's mobile ads show off its various product offerings
Other elements in this creative that mimic successful strategies seen in other genres include the presence of a guiding finger, rotating camera POV, and differing speeds. Interestingly enough, this creative was previously seen in March 2020 on AdColony, and has also been shown on Facebook and Instagram in recent months.

Intentionally Misspelled Creatives

While misspelled creatives are not a new trend in the casual games space, it appears that some of the major publishers are revisiting this years-old tactic—and the results are paying off. Both Zynga and Rollic Games’ recent misspelled creatives have reached Sensor Tower’s Top Creatives for November and are attracting attention from their audience. This resurgence of misspelled words in November’s trending creatives speaks to the cyclical nature of gaming creatives.

Since beginning its UA efforts for Fit and Squeeze in late October 2020, Zynga has primarily explored the tactic of misspelled captions in its creatives for this game. These creatives borrow from typical hyper-casual messaging (“Only 1% of people can pass this” misspelled as “Only %1 poeple can pass this”) and have been successful across a range of networks, such as Facebook, Mopub, TikTok, and more.

In the first half of November, Fit and Squeeze was the No. 3 Top Creative captured on TikTok for the Puzzle Games sub-category. Fit and Squeeze also initially tested another misspelling creative variation: “I hope the jar doesn’t explose.” However, this messaging did not gain as much attention and the most recent creatives reflect the “Only %1 poeple” wording.

See how Zynga implemented this old-school tactic to its advantage:
Zynga's Fit and Squeeze used misspellings in its creatives to attract users
Rollic Games’ Onnect has employed a similar strategy since August 2020 with its “Only 1% people can match them all” creatives driving steady impressions across Facebook, Unity, Mopub, Snapchat, and others. Most recently, Onnect’s misspelled creatives took the No. 7, No. 8, and No. 10 Top Snapchat Creative spots for Board Games in November.

Chasing the Next Trend

When it comes to engaging mobile advertising, what works today may not work tomorrow. Game companies eager to boost the growth of their installs will continue to iterate quickly and efficiently in order to capture the attention of as many eyeballs as possible.

Interested in learning more about user acquisition in the gaming industry? Our webinar with Jam City is available on demand. Check it out here.