How Ilyon Turned Playable Ads into a Success

Playable Ads - A New trend in Mobile App Advertising

Usually, when we want to take a break and clear the mind during our day, we retreat into our mobile phones. Whether if to play a game that we like or just scroll down our social media feed. Either way, you have probably come across with different types of ads. One of them is the Playable ad which is considered a new way to attract people to play mobile games.

The playable ad allows users to experience your game before they decide whether to install the app. The format of the ad is a short interactive mini-game aimed to provide a preview to the actual game, showcase the game’s main gameplay and to prompt users to play it.

Recently, Facebook launched its version of playable ads and opened the opportunity for all game developers to showcase their games. Ilyon that was ready in advance for this moment was able to increase exposure for its iOS games and reach the most relevant audience. I sat down with Avi Shor (VP R&D) and Uri Pearl (Product Marketing Manager) to talk about how Ilyon approached this new technology and what factors contributed to this success.

A Successful Pre-Planning and Development

“Ilyon was ready for the playable ads trend in terms of development from day one, as we were aiming to build games on several platforms, beginning with,” Shor relates. The in-house infrastructure that we have developed enabled us to meet the different requirements of the different platforms (Facebook, Google, etc.) and to have our playable ads ready within a rather short time-to-market, after applying a few adjustments. Moreover, we have implemented an actual code from our games in the ads and used our original gameplay and elements.

“It is not self-evident that a company would use an original game code, as many companies often use outsourcing,” Shor points out. “The process was not always easy, and we have encountered some technical difficulties while trying to align to the strict format demands. We had to create our own development tool to translate the different graphical assets that we use in our games into a code. Moreover, we have successfully managed to reduce the playable ad file size, and it is significantly smaller than the maximum size required by the different networks. “So besides the fact that our ads load very fast, it also allowed us to broaden our market outreach and to get to users who are using old mobile devices.”

The development team successfully collaborated with the Game Design, Art and Animation teams and together they were able to create a fun and smooth user experience that engages our users within seconds.

Defining Goals and Implementing a Winning Marketing Strategy

Based on our previous and continuing success with Google UAC platform (Universal App Campaigns) in entering the iOS market, it was merely natural to use it for testing and publishing our playable ads. “We were able to turn our playable ads into success by constantly iterating ad versions and adapting learnings,” says Pearl. “The key to success using playable ads was simple and fast gameplay that got users engaged within the first seconds. By immersing the user with smooth user experience, we found an extremely valuable creative asset in our mix”.

In terms of our playable ads’ visibility rate, we outnumber our competitors with one of the highest penetration rates into the iOS ads-inventory on Google’s platform. “Our playable ads enabled us to unlock high-quality inventory of users with 70% higher ARPU vs. the users we have reached before adding playable ads to our asset mix,” according to Pearl. “Using playable ads, we have managed to scale up our in-app revenues, to increase our user base and to combine an IAP strategy along with our already successful ad-based strategy.”

Future Plans

Concerning the development, “our next step is to implement a lot of cool elements and features from our Bubble Shooter gameplay into our playable ads,” Shor discloses. “We are using the most up-to-date code, and our goal is to reduce the assets further and to implement gameplay elements from our Match 3 and Tap 2 games as well.”

“As for our marketing future goals, we will continue to test new ad versions, optimize best practices and adjust our infrastructure to all the other ad networks requirements,” Pearl sums up.