Developers

Q&A with SparkLabs: Best Practices for Creating Compelling Ads

by Claire Tak on Jul 16, 2021

How will your ads stand out and resonate with your target audience? Being able to produce compelling, relevant, and engaging ads quickly will help maximize the performance of your campaigns. 

Marketers have identified creatives to be an important part of the business, with 76 percent having reported they had in-house creative teams to optimize the process. Through creatives, app creators can: 

  • Identify potential success and failure of campaigns
  • Use data to further optimize performance
  • Engage the right audience a targeted audience that is engaged 

Developers are constantly working to improve metrics for ad creatives, including installs, CPIs, and ROAS (return on ad spend). You need a solid creative testing strategy in order to create compelling ads, whether you’re trying different formats, such as banner or video ads.  

To successfully achieve scale in your user acquisition, we turned to AppLovin’s creative team, SparkLabs to provide guidance on how to create compelling ads. 

The following Q&A with Senior Design Manager Jessica Dolan outlines some of the best creative practices to follow to create engaging ads. 

How do the best creative processes work?

The SparkLabs creative process is extremely efficient and streamlined. 

In addition to research we are constantly testing new, innovative concepts across all creative types: ASO (App Store Optimization), videos, playables, and graphics. 

What are your top tips for keeping messaging clear and straightforward?

The best ways to keep messaging clear and straightforward are to reduce the amount of text that users need to read

For example, this Blockscapes playable ad starts with a challenge—Can you solve in 15 moves? and prompts the user to shift blocks using a tutorial hand animation. 

This is engaging and shows the game mechanic to the user without requiring any additional text. The intention here is to have the user’s first interaction to swipe a block. If the ad had the same question, Can you solve in 15 moves? in a text box with a “Try now” button, the user would be much less likely to take that first action. 

For generating conversions, keep the messaging clear and stay true to the game mechanic and/or art style.

From a design perspective, what tends to motivate a user to click?

When deciding on colors, shapes, or assets to use, we almost always stick to the brand guidelines. For example, if an app’s brand uses a pastel palette, it would be best to avoid bright, high-contrasting colors in the ad, as these are conflicting aesthetics.

Keeping the design streamlined helps ensure the user has a seamless, fluid experience from the ad to the app store to installing the app. 

If you’re new to advertising, is it best to try different kinds of ad formats?

It’s always best to test a variety of ad types whenever possible. Videos and playables are the most common today for driving volume. However, after testing what designs, copy, and concepts work best, you can apply those learnings to other types of ads. For example, if you have a high-performing video, you can test that same concept as a playable ad. 

What is the biggest mistake publishers make when implementing playables? 

Over-complicating the user experience. For example, in this Wordscapes playable we didn’t include tutorials because it’s obvious to the average what the game is all about.

There’s no need to add a large text box that says, ‘Swipe the letters to spell a word!’ as it could deter users by adding unnecessary text, which makes the screen less visually appealing.

What do you think is the most engaging way to make a playable? 

Keep the interactions straightforward, use a clean composition, and include eye-catching visual effects. 

If the functionality of the ad can mimic the app’s, such as swiping, tilting, pinch, or clicking, it allows for easy engagement by making it more entertaining and easy for your target audience to jump right in and take action. 

Staying relevant requires consistent research. Browse through social media and you’ll see trends on TikTok and Instagram. Check out your competitors’ ads, and use tools like Sensor Tower to analyze performance data across a wide range of genres and titles.  

Growing your business

UA advertising is an imperative part of growing your app business and as the industry continues to evolve, so should your strategy. Continuously test and optimize as you learn more about what concepts and designs work best for your creatives.

Claire Tak is Marketing Manager, Content at AppLovin.