How ‘On Ice!’ got 95% of its installs from a single playable ad

Editors note: This article was originally written and published by Mindworks, a leading self-service creatives platform from Mintegral. You can find their original version here.

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How powerful can a premium playable ad be when it comes to user acquisition? Quite powerful, actually. Here is an example: a single playable ad created by Mindworks generated the lion’s share of downloads for ITI Studio’s game ‘On Ice!’.

* Compared to video & banner ads

ITI: top hyper-casual developer with high quality standards for its ad creatives

ITI is a well-known hyper-casual mobile gaming developer in the Japan market. Its hit title Rescue Cut, released in 2019, was named one of the best games of the year at the App Store Awards, which catapulted the company to global fame. As of today, ITI has amassed a whopping 350 million downloads with its portfolio of games, making it a veritable industry veteran.

As an experienced hyper-casual games developer, ITI is well aware of the playable ads’ built-in advantages: good user experience, outstanding ROI performance, and premium users acquired.

But on top of those, ITI wanted to further boost the playable ads’ UA results by leveraging the expertise of a leading creative team.

After many successful partnerships, ITI once again chose Mindworks as its playable creative partner for its newly released game On Ice!, with the aim to acquire high-quality users worldwide.

Creative strategy: gameplay-focused approach designed to attract users

As part of the effort to design effective ad creatives for On Ice!, we developed a comprehensive creative strategy based on an in-depth analysis of the game’s core gameplay, in order to better get players’ attention and bring out their competitiveness, thereby driving conversions.

1. Carefully selected levels and simplified trial to better highlight gameplay

On Ice! is an easy-to-play hyper-casual game with a competitive aspect that combines elements such as parkour and item collection, with a progressive difficulty curve for its levels. After a deep dive into its gameplay and an in-depth round of research to better understand target players’ preferences, we discovered that “gameplay experience” is one of the key aspects that players care most about.

Therefore, to improve player engagement and increase conversions, we came up with a two-step advertising strategy that focused primarily on the core gameplay while simplifying other aspects of the game:

Step 1: easy trial run to maintain retention rate for interested users

To improve users’ willingness to play the game, we selected low-difficulty levels for the playable creative and added clear visual guides, making it easier for them to understand the game.

Step 2: simplified design to highlight the smooth gameplay

Too many details will only blur the focus. To give players a clear idea of how the game is played, we did away with many of the effects and features throughout the original levels, such as coins and “guiding cakes”, to present a simple, clean and clear playable that focused on gameplay experience.

2. Innovative game rules to stimulate players’ urge to win

With the playable ad creatives in place, we decided to further boost downloads by working on ways to stimulate players’ competitive side, the urge to win:

  • We replaced the original “points system” with a “score system,” set the maximum score to 95/100, and paired it with creative copy designed to challenge and taunt players.
  • We set the endcard to display various skin rewards along with a call to action, “Next Round,” to encourage taps and drive conversions.
Playable ads built by Mindworks

Mindworks designed the playable ad for On Ice! based on a deep dive into player preferences and it turned out to be a smashing success: the ad alone contributed 95% of the game’s downloads, and helped increase IVR on both operating systems by 77%, while also lowering CPI by 56%.

Those stellar results encouraged ITI to take things further and use 96% of its advertising budget on playable ads, helping the company continue to acquire users more easily and efficiently than before.

“The playable ad Mindworks designed for On Ice! has been incredible. We’re genuinely amazed,” said ITI’s Chief Brand Officer Masaki Otomo. “We’ve worked with the Mindworks team many times and they have always provided us with effective, relevant, product-centered ad strategies and suggestions. They are truly a reliable partner.”

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