The Power of Playable Ads – And How to Make Them Real

Nov 10, 2023

Playable ads are revolutionizing how mobile games are discovered and driving explosive growth in user acquisition. But what exactly are playable ads, and how can publishers maximize their capabilities?

Defining Playable Ads

In a nutshell, playable ads allow mobile users to trial a game directly within an ad unit, playing a short demo or mini-game for up to 30 seconds. Instead of passively watching a video trailer or static image, users can actively experience the gameplay themselves before deciding whether to download and install the full app.

This interactive approach provides a much richer impression of the actual game’s look, feel, and flow compared to traditional mobile video ads. Even 15-30 seconds of hands-on gameplay conveys the real mechanics and UI flow better than any trailer. Playable ads also benefit from holding user attention for significantly longer – over 6X the interaction time versus standard mobile video creatives according to recent research. [1]

Leading mobile ad networks like Google, Facebook, Unity, and IronSource have introduced interactive playable ad formats to meet this demand. For mobile game publishers focused on driving efficient user acquisition and discovery, playable ads are quickly becoming an essential marketing channel to incorporate in the mix.

The Benefits of Playable Ads

It’s easy to see why playable ads are taking off so rapidly. The benefits speak for themselves:

  • Click-through rates on playable ads can be 2 to 4 times higher compared to regular mobile video ads. When users get a quick gaming experience upfront, they are much more inclined to engage further. [2]
  • Install conversion rates are 3 to 5 times higher from users that try a playable ad demo versus those just watching a trailer. Interacting with a game, even briefly, creates stronger intent to download. [3]
  • Playable ads drive up to 10 times longer engagement versus standard mobile video creatives. The extended interaction signals users are genuinely interested in the gameplay experience. [4]
  • Playable ads boost total user acquisition results by 40-60% across key metrics like CPI, CPM, ROAS according to recent industry reports. The highly qualified traffic from playables improves nearly every metric. [5]

For publishers prioritizing growth and discovery, these spectacular results make a strong case for allocating more ad budget towards playable ads. They simply outperform traditional formats.

Crafting Effective Playable Ads

However, creating playable ad experiences that accurately reflect and represent the real gameplay is complex using traditional methods. Publishers essentially have two options:

  1. Code a lightweight “mini” version of the game in HTML5 specifically for the ad unit. This requires extensive additional development effort and time – often weeks per ad creative.
  2. Use video capture of a gameplay segment, then heavily compress and crop it to fit inside ad units. However, this results in a poor user experience with degraded graphics.

Neither approach properly conveys the true look, feel, and flow of the real gameplay. Users can easily spot deceptive tactics or misleading experiences in ads. This breeds frustration and distrust in the publisher’s brand.

In fact, a 2021 study by AdColony found 84% of mobile gamers pay close attention to how accurately app ads represent real gameplay, seeking authentic experiences before deciding to download. [6]

An example of minimalist playable ads, with Nothing2Install we can do better

Streaming Real Gameplay for Playable Ads

So what if publishers could instantly turn genuine gameplay segments from their live Android applications into playable ad experiences? This is exactly the capability provided by Nothing2install’s patented 3DPipe technology.

Instead of video or coding lightweight imposters, 3DPipe streams the actual gameplay mechanics, graphics, and flow from the real Unity or Android native application. This makes any desired section of the game instantly “playable” while maintaining the genuine look, feel, and flow.

Rather than a misleading recreation, users experience the real gameplay built natively by the publisher’s own developers. It feels like instantly jumping into the full game, despite being served in a playable ad unit.

3DPipe achieves this by streaming lightweight graphics commands from the game versus using memory-intensive compressed video assets. Only essential data required to reconstruct gameplay is transmitted, minimized for high performance.

New Opportunities for Publishers

For mobile game developers and publishers, this technological approach unlocks completely new avenues:

  • Build playable ads featuring any desired part of your app. Showcase the most exciting levels or features.
  • Update creatives in real-time as you release new content and gameplay mechanics. No additional coding required.
  • Preserve brand integrity by conveying an authentic experience users recognize. No more misleading trailers.
  • Significantly reduce cloud delivery costs by minimizing data usage. No more expensive compressed video.
  • Enable users to seamlessly pick up full games where demo ads left off.
  • Create multiple variations for A/B testing instantly without added dev work.
  • Incorporate playable ads into ad experiences like try before you download or instant demos.

piepe3d also provides advanced analytics on gameplay sessions to gain data-driven insights into audience behavior and optimize creatives.

For mobile users and gamers, playable ads enable properly trying out apps before installing. No more surprises from misleading representations. Just honest discovery.

Try this discovery demo of mob control, a long playable ads to ensure you can play with our 3DPipe tech 😉

The Future with True Gameplay Playables

As publishers allocate more ad budget toward playable ads, 3DPipe technology can maximize results through authentic real gameplay demos.

Together, Nothing2install and our partners aim to transform playable ads into true representations of the innovative, engaging experiences developers work hard to build. It’s a win for users, publishers, and the entire mobile ecosystem.


[1] Unity, Mobile Gaming Report
[2] Juniper Research, The Future of Playable Ads
[3] ironSource, Mobile Gaming Benchmarks
[4] Google, Playable Ads Best Practices Guide
[5] Tenjin, Mobile Game Benchmarks
[6] AdColony, Global Consumer Research