Solving the Ad Creative Puzzle in an iOS14 world

Rhian Gainsborough

Rhian Gainsborough

Commercial Lead, Gaming

iOS14 caused a stir in the app industry to put it mildly, many a blog spoke of the havoc and destruction caused by Apple’s privacy roll out.  As the dust settles the world continues to spin. UA and marketing teams might be tempted to reduce budgets, CPM’s are increasing and the ability to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns may have diminished, but one thing remains the same: players want to play games

In this blog post I examine creative trends in the casual puzzle sub-genre. With limited tracking available, the universal appeal of casual game developers may stand to gain from Apple’s privacy rollout. 


Why do we play puzzle games?


The majority of puzzle gamers are motivated by
relaxation, stress relief, and overcoming challenges

It’s essential to keep this in mind when developing UA creatives. At VMG we focus on one primary player motivation per video concept. Why? There’s a number of reasons for this. 

Firstly, you get to learn about the different types of players you have and the in-game features they like. 

Secondly, you can experiment with new motivations and try to grow your audience. 

And lastly: Most people will only see a glimpse of your video, so it’s important to make every second relate to your intended audience motivations. Are those the best in-game features to showcase? Do the sound effects, music, subs and gameplay match the intended motivation? 

Now for some creative inspiration…


Challenge videos


Can you
save our hero from the lowering spikes, blazing fire, or from becoming dog food? Ways to visually represent a challenge, make sure you include in-game features such as timers, clocks, meters, locks, chains or treasure chests.

You can also incorporate more relaxing themed challenge videos with gentle spa-like music, cute animals and sound effects of completion or things being opened like a treasure chest, a room, an egg, a secret door etc. 

Breaking the third wall with your game characters


Gameplay footage with your most popular character offering feedback to the player, asking the player a question, heckling the player. The more outlandish, funnier and provocative the better, the aim is to break through the noise and grab your new player.
Coin master have been bringing our favourite masked pig to life with great UA effect!

Source: Facebook Ad Library

I’m always asking our creative team to take inspiration from wider popular culture. Following internet trends and going down Youtube rabbit holes are a good thing, despite what your loved ones might say! 


Influencer reviews


One example is the emergence of
fake influencer game reviews. Taken straight from Youtube, studios are no longer asking for influencers to say something nice about the game, they’re simply paying actors to pretend! 

If you’re interested in going down this avenue VMG partners with VO artists and actors to go crazy over your game, challenge your N00Bs or highlight the game’s stress relieving virtues. You could even ask Winston from the 80’s hit Ghostbusters on Cameo

The fake influencer/ review videos that work best are simple, funny and silly in tone, so follow suit and you could find your next winner.

Source: Facebook Ad Library

 

Oddly Satisfying


Another popular Youtube trend that’s been adopted by mobile game advertisers is
Oddly Satisfying videos, which makes complete sense for gamers looking to unwind, kill time and relieve stress. Find the most soothing and addictive OS videos that match your game and start ideating. Angry Birds 2, Toon Blast and Candy Crush Saga have some excellent examples, some of which have been we made here, at VMG! 

Drama, drama, drama


Does your game have a meta-level or narrative that can be explored in your creatives? 

Tales of drama, scandal, revenge and love have captivated humans for millennia, we’ve just swapped the campfire for the mobile phone. The app landscape is awash with cheating partners, pregnancy tests, ultrasound scans, dates gone wrong, game characters in desperate need of a makeover, murder plots and murder weapons. The more scandalous and provocative the concept the better it seems to perform. Leave your political correctness and prudence at the door and unleash the monster from within. 

If you’d like to have a chat about how we can apply some of these learnings to your game then please get in touch.

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