The What, Why and When of Ad Gamification

Injecting playfulness to brand advertising with playables, interactives and AR.

If you are an experienced social media marketer, you are always in the lookout for interesting formats that can increase cut-through and improve the performance of your campaigns.

Gamification has always been around in advertising, but now there are multiple ways you can inject fun while boosting campaign performance with the help of technology.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch our Ad Gamification Masterclass at the time, you can watch it now On Demand or keep on reading to understand the basics of what, why, when and how to get started with Ad Gamification.

What is gamified advertising?

Mobile-first assets have been proven to provide better results in social media and digital platforms. The main reason is the short attention span of users.

Ads on social and digital are getting shorter and shorter, and getting to the point from the start is essential to capture those elusive audiences. The challenge arises when many brands create similar ad content. Even within the same brand, there’s a need for a new way to engage to avoid what we call “creative” fatigue – or in other ways – to avoid people stopping “seeing” your ad when it pops on their screen and therefore diminishing ROAS. Creative refresh and improving the quality of the creative is one of the ways to combat ad fatigue – after all, the creative is 5 times more important than targeting in driving ad awareness.

When your ad is gamified, you encourage your audience to actively participate beyond the usual reactions, comments and sharing.

Why is it powerful?

An obvious way in which gamified ads can be particularly effective is during the COVID-19 situation, because it allows your audience to interact with a product or service, virtually. For example, a Playable ad can be used to launch a physical product with a virtual unboxing when the situation doesn’t allow for a face to face unboxing event.

But why can it be so powerful? Let’s break it down:

  • The ability to interact with your ad – humanises your brand. That means more trust, a deeper connection and ultimately better brand affinity and performance
  • Gamified ads are also effective at lowering the barriers to entry. They do not require your audience to have a specific skill or software as they are already familiar with most of the gameplay. This reduces friction and increases cut-through.
  • Gamified ads are fantastic to inject playfulness and fun to your product/service. And the product/service can be varied – not just games or “fun” brands. These ads have proven to be great ways for brands commonly perceived as “serious” become more relatable and engage on a deeper level.

How to get started with gamification?

There are many ways to inject gamification in your ads. Here are a few examples:

Interactive stories

There are multiple ways to make your Story ads more engaging and interactive.

Some story interactive elements are:

  • Tap and Hold: works exceptionally well to showcase multiple product varieties, or multiple goals that your audience can achieve through your product or service.
  • Polls: A very simple way to encourage your audience to interact with your ads by offering your audience to have a say or choose from your options.
  • Carousel Stories: It allows your audience to participate in your ad storytelling and therefore increase recall because you are getting your audience involved.

Pond’s and Facebook experimented multiple interactive elements to increase engagement in their ads. After testing multiple variations including polls, sliders and carousels all interactive stories showed improvement in CTR and Conversions.

HSBC Bank used a Tap and Hold to showcase goals you can achieve and inviting the audience to get involved by tapping and holding on the ad.

Enjoying the read?

Subscribe to move, our monthly newsletter.


An ad that allows your audience to play with it. It usually uses a well-recognised gameplay experience to allow people to play without acquiring a new skill. Match-3, Scratchies, Quizzes and Puzzles are some but not all of the formats.

Playable ads consist of a driver video that entices the audience to play and contextualises the game within your campaign message. The gameplay look and feel can be customised to suit your brand and messaging.

Playable ads also “end” with a Call To Action and can drive traffic to external links such as a website, landing page, registration form or product.


Standard Chartered Bank
To make personal loans more relatable, Standard Chartered Bank used a Playable Ad where the audience had to play to achieve their dreams. This ad achieved 2x incremental purchases.

Without being able to hold an unboxing event during the COVID-19 pandemic, Huawei created a playable ad to virtually unbox their new phone.

Appealing to an audience of gamers, Piattos used the Playable format to inject personality and fun to their snacks.

Augmented Reality (AR)

With the rise of platforms such as TikTok, where user generated content is becoming a norm, AR filters and branded effects are gaining popularity especially with younger audiences.

This is because AR filters is a format that allows a lot of experimentation. It may look complicated but it isn’t, really. It is after all, a very simple and fun way for your audience to interact with your brands.



When should you consider it?

So now that you know why gamifying your campaigns can help you boost brand affinity, performance and recall and cut-through, let’s see in what scenarios it’s a good idea to consider a gamified ad.

Use gamification when you want the product or brand to be perceived as more fun and relatable.

Gamification also works well when the ad looks and feels like native content when you want to engage ad-conscious audiences.

Give it a shot if you want a simple and effective way to engage your audience by adding personality to your brand.

Want to learn more about ad gamification and interactivity in ads?
Watch our 30-minute masterclass!