“I swear to you, sitting a throne is a thousand times harder than winning one.” – This especially holds true if we are talking about keeping mobile audiences engaged. The power of creative plays a major role in ruling this game, with a special emphasis on playables.

We invited the Berlin mobile marketing to our Glispa Kingdom in Berlin for the #GameofPhones panel about the impact of playable and interactive creatives on the mobile industry. Johana Leeflang, Head of Marketing at Glispa, and I led the discussion with mobile experts about how creative can help you navigate through the speed of tech, mounting data, and fraudulent activities to reach your audiences. Read on for the key takeaways from the talk.

 

The rising importance of creative in mobile marketing

The advertisers among the panelists had a stark view on the role of creative in mobile marketing. According to CEO of Stanga Games, Adam Jaffe, creative is probably the most important component of the entire process. He argued, “we’re quite limited in where we market our product, it doesn’t matter necessarily if you’re going with Google or Facebook. At the end of the day, you are looking at the value users are bringing to you, and how much you are paying for these.”

Advertisers are also the ones demanding more insight in creative metrics like CTR as well as transparency over where their ads are displayed, Sven Hezel, Managing Director at 24 Metrics, said. “Networks are reacting in measuring and reporting in that regard.”

For data measurement companies like Appsflyer, where listening to clients is paramount for building accurate tools, creative requests are not an exception, Ben Jeger, Managing Director DACH & Nordics of the company said. From his clients, he gained insight that “creative changes in app campaigns are more often required on Facebook than on Google.” The reason behind that is Facebook offering a more segmented and thus smaller audience, in which ad fatigue sets in more quickly.

 

How advertisers use creative data right

When it comes to using data, Playtika does it in its most granular way in order to optimize, build, and retest creative. Shay Yosifon, Director of Media at the company, explained, “we try to break down creative data to the most granular level we can, not just for optimizing creative but building new, improved concepts. We want to know what are the exact building blocks that generate better performance.”

Data can furthermore be used for building concepts from the initial setup process. Adam elaborated on this saying, “we run different creatives to see what works and what not. From that, we build common dialectic insights about positive and negative attributes of a creative. In building creatives based on a pre-existing condition,” he continued, “the design team is part of an optimal data conversation, oriented at maximizing the effort of the designer.”

 

How new formats impact attribution

Interactive ads or playables remind us more of video than banner. How does that affect attribution if at all? Ben told us that networks decide when to fire a click vs. impression URL. Criteria vary but need to be standardized across the industry, or at very least, transparency needs to be created, which helps attribution. He mentioned that Appsflyer is working towards building a solution.

 

What fraud implies for creative

On the creative side, advertisers have come to the understanding that designing multi-click interactive ads makes it harder for bots to send clicks and steal attribution.

Shay pointed out here the key element being customization: “The more complex and custom-made an interactive ad format is, the less fraud we will see. Having said that, fraud is a complex problem. But in custom-making an experience that correlates to the product, the more difficult it gets for a fraudster to build a unique fraud-clicker just to get that certain install down the line.”

However, it is still not as easy as it seems. Sven said, “there is still not a one fits it all solution because there are bots that have advanced and can play your tutorial or fill out forms. That’s not a problem at all. CPCs will be higher in a highly interactive ad than just a click banner, which will then again incentivize frauds to catch up.”

So if it’s a catch-up game, be sure to catch up fast. Know that where the incentive is high, and there is money, fraudsters will move. “Though, from what we see at Appsflyer,” Ben said, “fraudsters choose the least resistance. They capture the low hanging fruits before moving on to complex problems – always in relation to the reward.”

Lastly, a human look at the metrics matters. Adam advised trusting your instincts on metrics that don’t seem right. Despite all fraud protection companies around, the responsibility is on the advertisers’ side. “It’s on us, the advertisers, to catch fraud, unfortunately. At the end of the day, I’m the guy paying the bills,” he said.

 

What the future holds for mobile creatives

One thing is for sure, mobile creatives will be increasingly data-driven. That has implications for multiple aspects. First, on the importance of creative itself. Ben pointed out, “With universal app campaigns on Google it is clear that creatives gain more importance as that is where advertisers can differentiate themselves. Creatives are becoming more important, and we need to make sure data is there for everyone to react to it and improve it.”

So far, “mobile is ten years behind the web,” said Adam. The reason for that is that publishers have been less concerned about the advertiser optimizing creative, but were rather seeking to sell inventory. The future will be more advertiser-friendly, involving homogenous CPI, more dynamic and automated ads on platforms.

With the conditions for it set, we will see creatives becoming more interactive and relevant to location, weather, events, consumer data and history if you ask Sven. On how this could look like, he said, “Banners should be mini landing pages for booking a flight, for example.”

Data-driven creative furthermore comes with immense learning opportunities about the consumer. “Creative is going to change according to what you want to sell based on understanding what your customers want, and what their emotional triggers are,” Shay said.

Along with that, the way we measure needs to be rethought with new ad formats evolving. Following Ben, playables challenge us to incorporate more layers of measurement: While we are currently dividing between clicks and views, in the future, we need to find the value of playable ad engagement – somewhere between views and clicks.

 

Thank YOU for contributing to this powerful dialogue

We want to thank all of you that were able to join us, whether it was in our transformed office or via live stream. Special thanks to our panelists Shay Yosifon (Playtika), Ben Jeger (Appsflyer), Adam Jaffe (Stanga Games) and Sven Hezel (24Metrics). If you weren’t able to make it, check out some of the fomo-inducing pictures on facebook.

Want to continue the conversation? Tweet Glispa at @glispa or get in touch with me via LinkedIn.