Why The Best Mobile Gaming Ads of 2018 Were Playables

4 Min Read

The mobile advertising sector exploded in 2018 and is expected to continue its upward growth in 2019.

Since mobile device technology itself continues to improve, you can expect that in 2019 and beyond, your audience will be able to access video marketing and other ads in ways not previously imaginable and it’s vital you take advantage of it if you want to earn money as an app developer.

In 2018, the best mobile gaming ads were playables, and with good reason.

The majority of mobile app users who respond to ads are in the coveted 16 – 34 age group. This audience has grown up with Internet and mobile technology and expects to be able to use that technology to participate in activities of interest to them.

These core users are even less likely than anyone else to sit through the types of ads that are shown on television, where the communication all goes one way, and will get bored or irritated with ads that don’t allow them to interact.

We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best mobile playable ads of 2018 so that you can see how they used interactivity to engage users and boost app sales.

By studying these ads, you can generate ideas you can use to successfully market your own gaming apps via interactive ads!

Empire & Puzzles

Empire and Puzzles was one of the best-selling game apps of 2018, thanks in part to their playable ad campaign.

The entire ad is playable; as soon as it loads, a pointer finger graphic shows players how to begin to play the game and then allows them to play on their own for the duration of the 90 second ad while the game’s soundtrack plays in the background.

This gave audience members just enough of a demo game to excite them and encourage them to install the full version.

In addition, the app developers didn’t have to do anything to convince players that their game was different than other RPG Match 3 games because players could see it for themselves when they played the game.

Takeaways from this ad

• A well-designed interactive ad allows your game to speak for itself so that players get excited enough to hit the install button.

• Show off what makes your game unique via an interactive ad for best results.

Cooking Craze

Cooking Craze, a popular time management game in which players have to make assorted dishes for customers in as timely a manner possible, took a slightly different approach to its ad.

The mobile ad for this game consists of two parts: a game trailer followed by a demo game. The demo game is fully interactive and allows the player to try the game for him or herself.

The benefit of this approach is that it shows the player exactly what the game is before they play it. Many viewers will be excited enough by the trailer that being allowed to play the demo game afterwards feels like a sweet bonus.

In addition, players can see for themselves if the game is as challenging as they thought it would be from the video ad when they play for themselves afterwards.

Takeaways from this ad

• If you provide a demo, choose an easier (but not too easy!) level so that players feel the game is both challenging and winnable. This makes it more likely that players who interact with the ad will install the game after.

• A short static ad can whet players’ appetite for a game; following it with an interactive demo will drive home the need to install it.

Choices: The Stories We Play

Choices, an interactive storytelling game in which players drive the story forward by making decisions for their character at crucial points, takes a unique approach to their interactive ad.


Instead of a full demo of the game, the ad throws players into the middle of a scenario and gives them two options to choose from: leave the scenario or download to continue the story.

This novel approach works well for this game because of the nature of the game. Since it’s not a traditional action-oriented game, a full demo might not make sense to players.

But this game is all about making choices, and getting players interested in the story and then giving them the choice to continue or not is in line with its objectives.

Plus, by briefly engaging players in the world of the story, this ad excites them, interests them, and makes them more likely to install the game.

Takeaways from this ad

• Use interactivity to engage your audience in a unique, fun activity so that they’ll be eager to install your game and experience more of the same fun.

• An interactive ad can help highlight what’s unique about your game and make it more appealing to your target audience.


Interactivity is the key to driving downloads. The core audience for mobile gaming is the 18 – 24-year-old demographic, and this demographic expects to be able to interact with technology and has little patience for purely static ads.

However, that doesn’t mean that the same strategies work for every game. The type of interactivity you choose should be based on what type of game you’re advertising and what the target audience for your game will most enjoy.

Study successful interactive ads like the ones discussed here and then ask yourself what your ideal players will most enjoy about your game in order to begin planning your ad.