Social Casino Games Creative Strategy

Creative is an advertiser’s best opportunity for a competitive advantage in social advertising. Soon, the combination of Facebook’s and Google’s Media buying automation with Apple’s removal of IDFA will make ‘winning’ creative ﹘the five percent of Facebook videos that are successful﹘of paramount importance. Here we break down social casino games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Social Casino Games Competitive Analysis

  • Competitors: DoubleDown Casino, Jackpot Party Casino, Slotomania, House of Fun, Goldfish Casino, Heart of Vegas, Hot Shot Casino, Hit it Rich!, DoubleU Casino, Quick Hit Slots, Slotomania, 21 Blitz, GSN Casino, Caesars Casino Slots, Lucky Lottery Scratchers, Worldwinner, WSOP, SpinToWin Slots, Jackpocket, Huuuge Casino, Wizard of Oz Slots, Big Fish Casino, Cashman Casino, Pop! Slots, Bingo Blitz, Coin Master, FaFaFa Gold Slots Casino, June’s Journey, Cradle of Empires, Coin Kings, Coin Runner, VeryDice, Lucktastic Match, Crazy Coin Pusher, Lucky Day, Piggy Go – Clash of Coin, Bricks n Balls, Bricks Ball Crusher, Casino Coin Pusher, Pirate Kings, Disney Emoji Blitz, Match to Win, Wordscapes.
  • View competitive videos here.

social casino app ads

Social Casino Games Trends

  • Game Overview/Gameplay: Gameplay with an overview of the game, levels, and rewards. (Big Fish Casino, Jackpocket, many more)
  • Bonus: Gameplay focused on offering free rewards, coins, and bonuses when you sign up. (Cashman, Double Down, many more)
  • Players/Gameplay: Split screens showing players enjoying the game with gameplay. (21 Blitz, WSOP, Heart of Vegas)
  • News Report: Real or fake news clips showing the importance of the game. (Jackpocket, Casino Slots)
  • Celebs: Celeb spokespersons advocating for the game. (Coin Master, Jackpocket)
  • Puzzles/Hidden Object: Brain teasers designed to engage viewers. (June’s Journey, Cradle of Empires)
  • Mortised Gameplay: Gameplay shown with backgrounds and licensed characters. (Wizard of Oz, Game of Thrones, Hit it Rich!, Hot Shot Casino)
  • Seasonal: Gameplay with seasonal additions reflecting Halloween, Christmas, and other holidays. (Huuuge Casino, Quick Hit Casino, Slotomania, many more)

scial casino games

Social Casino Games Trends (Cont.)

  • Fake Text: Two characters or “real players” interacting via text, discussing the game, or daring them to play
  • Split screens: Noob vs. Pro, Winner vs. Loser, Comparing screens with highlighted part of the screen, explosive elements
  • Players with UI elements: Showing “players” using elements of the game in real-life situations (Game buttons, coins, interacting with characters)
  • Coin, Money, and Gift Cards showers: Big wins are seen often with luring monetary elements and prizes/ overtaking the screen or as transitions
  • Spinning wins with prizes: Faux Spinning wheel with Prizes and mascot encouraging the user to spin
  • Connect the dots: A drawing outline is presented and the final picture is revealed at the end, connecting drawing to gameplay
  • Color by numbers/Draw: Replicating old coloring books, a simple drawing is colored one color at a time until a character or game scene is revealed
  • Matching Cards: Faux matching/pairing game where two correct cards reveal a prize or game feature
  • Save the character: Obstacle, a puzzle-like concept where I character in peril needs to be saved.
  • I Spy/Found the Object: Find one or several objects that are directly associated with the game
  • Relaxing Themes: Adding a touch of escapism and relaxation to an otherwise challenge-based game

Player Motivations

Demographics: As of the last estimate, there were currently over 170 million active social casino gamers worldwide, with millions of players playing on any given day (Martin, 2014).

  • To put this in perspective, social casino gamers outnumber online gamblers 4:1
  • The average social casino gamer is a 40-year-old middle-class woman and women make up over 2/3rds of social casino gamers (Superdata, 2016).
  • Social casino games seem to be a popular form of entertainment across all stages of life, including among adolescents and young adults (Kim, Wohl, Gupta, & Derevensky, 2016, 2017; Griffiths & Wood, 2007)

Motivations: Motivations for playing social casino games are likely similar to motivations for engaging in gambling (Wohl, Salmon, Hollingshead, & Kim, in press).

  • People may play for fun and entertainment, to pass the time, to relax, relieve boredom, or to distract themselves from negative emotions
  • A portion of gamers may be attracted to the social feature of social casino games, such as seeing their scores on leader boards and sharing their achievements on Facebook
  • Some social casino gamers may use free-to-play simulated gambling games to practice their ‘skills’ before playing for real money gambling
  • Social Casino Games: Current Evidence & Future Directions, Hyoun S. Kim, University of Calgary

Gaming Psychology of Near-Misses

“…Near-misses have some intrinsic appeal for our reward circuitry, tricking those brain cells into believing that we won even though we actually lost… This suggests that from the perspective of our dopamine neurons, near misses are virtually indistinguishable from actual wins. Both forms of feedback tickle our reward circuitry, which is why Vegas invests in games and algorithms that are full of close calls. For a casino, the beauty of a near miss is clear: Although we’ve lost money, it feels as if we won. – The Near-Miss Effect, Jonah Lehrer, Wired Magazine, 3.28.11

Although no studies have investigated the ramifications of Candy Crush near-misses, one can make reasonable inferences based on near-misses in other scenarios. In slot machine games, near-miss outcomes encourage the urge to continue to play despite the absence of reward (Côté et al. 2003; Kassinove and Scharev, 2001; Clark et al. 2009; Billieux et al. 2012). In general, the idea of falling just short of a big win appears to facilitate players wanting to continue with the game in the belief that practice makes better, or more spins will eventually lead to success (Kassinove and Schare 2001). – The Candy Crush Sweet Tooth: How Near Misses in Candy Crush Increase Frustration, and the Urge to Continue Gameplay: Journal of Gambling Studies, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 599–61

Concept: Faux Hidden Items/Puzzle Gameplay

Faux “relaxing” games interrupted by exciting gameplay:

  • Begin video with slower games like hidden items or word games, with the header: “Need something more exciting?”
  • Slot gameplay bursts into the frame, obliterating slower game and showing exciting slot gameplay
  • Slot gameplay shows jackpots, wins, and bonuses

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Targets women with “relaxing” ad; women represent 2/3rds of all social casino players

social casino app ads social casino app ads

Concept: Mortised Gameplay

Feature slot gameplay in mortised environments that take advantage of the beautiful game animation:

  • Showcases game graphics
  • More eye-catching than simple gameplay
  • Positions game as premium “Vegas-type” slot play
  • “Wall of Wilds!”, “10x”, etc

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Goldfish Casino: 9% SOV
  • Hit it Rich!: 73% SOV
  • Wizard of Oz Slots: 7% SOV
  • Hot Shot Casino: 14% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Engages players looking to distract themselves from negative emotions or to relax

social casino app ads social casino app ads

social casino app ads

Concept: Comedic Voice Over

Videos that juxtapose slot play with a comedic voiceover:

  • Showcases slot play and graphics
  • Mimics player dialogue
  • Uses subtitles

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • 21 Blitz: 56% SOV
  • Rise of Kingdoms: 72% SOV
  • Questland: 8% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Mirrors social nature of slot play

social casino app ads social casino app ads

social casino app ads 

Concept: Picker Jackpot

Leverage success from Match 3 games test simple pickers to game situations, such as picking coins to match 3 Fur Babies:

  • Increase engagement with viewers
  • Showcases slot play, game graphics, and characters

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Cradle of Empires: 16% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Engage players looking fun & entertainment


Concept: Near Misses

Create videos of slot gameplay in which near misses happen repeatedly:

  • Slot wheels should tease an almost win
  • FAIL or ALMOST supered on near-miss slot play

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Multiple games using this technique but it has not been used in social casino games; missed opportunity given the psychology of near misses

Player Motivations:

  • Capitalize on near-misses motivating players to keep playing as much or more than wins

social casino games

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How Facebook’s AAA and Value Optimization Tools Work Together

In September 2020, Facebook introduced “Automated App Ads” or “AAA”, intended to automate Facebook advertising and level the playing field between advertisers large and small. The premise is that you will tell Facebook what is most important to your business. AAA will automatically make the bid and budget changes. Then target appropriate audiences with high-performing creative all on your behalf.

Facebook AAA

The thinking is that, over time, AAA learns what performs best and will continue to make media buying improvements without a human’s involvement. Facebook AAA then helps the marketer manage ads by creating multiple versions of their ad with unique creative to show the best performing version and tailoring audience options based on campaign goals and financial performance.

This further aligns with what we have seen as a continued shift of user acquisition (UA) day-to-day media buying. Thus, moving away from human-driven marketing teams over to Facebook and Google’s automated algorithms. Effectively, letting the algorithm do what they do best, leaving UA teams with the opportunity to focus less on media buying and spend more time on creative optimization to continually feed the automated algorithms.

That is right, but that is not all…. there is more.


Facebook AAA and Value Optimization Tools

Facebook has just announced, “Value Optimization with Minimum Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) Bidding.” The promise is that this feature will provide marketers with more control over the value you bring to campaigns.

So, if Facebook AAA moves certain campaign controls towards automation, and Value Optimization moves certain controls into the hands of marketers, which one wins?

Facebook’s Value Optimization with Minimum ROAS bidding lets you set the lowest acceptable return on ad spend (ROAS). As a result, giving you more control over the value a campaign delivers to your business. After establishing a minimum ROAS, Facebook will automatically adjust bids to deliver the requested financial return of at least the minimum requested value or higher over the duration of the campaign (that is the AAA kicking in).


How Value Optimization with Minimum ROAS Bidding Works

  • Define minimum ROAS and the lowest return on ad spend you want. Facebook will adjust bids in real-time to stay above this floor.
  • To optimize ROAS, Facebook observes values passed by the Facebook pixel or mobile SDK. For Minimum ROAS bidding to work effectively, purchase values must be passed back into Facebook.
  • Based on these values, Facebook estimates how much a person may spend over a one- or seven-day period. Of course, the seven-day period is all pre-IDFA loss.
  • The Facebook platform optimizes ad delivery to audiences that are likely to help you achieve at least your ROAS floor.
  • Your minimum ROAS value will influence Facebook by adjusting the bids so that the ROAS performance will always be above your minimum ROAS value.

Pro Tip: If the Minimum ROAS bid is too high, Facebook may not be able to meet this threshold to spend the campaign’s full budget.


How and When to Use It

Value optimization works best when you are reaching audiences of at least 2 million people within an ad set. And when you have a business goal of maximizing the purchase value from each conversion or mobile app install. Use the Minimum ROAS bid strategy if you want to reach a specific return on ad dollars. Or, more to keep your campaign running.

To get started using Value Optimization. Look for it within the following marketing objectives: Website Conversions, Mobile App Installs, and Catalog Sales. Once selected, you may elect to use a Minimum ROAS bid strategy. This will adjust your bids within the auction to reach or exceed that goal.


Additional Best Practices to Leverage

  • Use recent historical average ROAS as a benchmark. Lower it by 10% to 25% (as it is a floor benchmark, not a target) to determine the appropriate minimum ROAS bid.
  • Use the most recent average purchase value. Or, value as defined by the business/historical average CPA if there is no historical ROAS to reference. These averages should be based on a comparable campaign to the minimum ROAS campaign. And, the average value should be determined based on the conversion window chosen.
    • For example, if you select a 1-day conversion window, then use a 1-day average. Should you use a 7-day conversion window, use a 7-day average.
  • Start with a lower ROAS threshold to accumulate more conversions sooner. You will still retain the ability to increase the bid over time to maximize profitability and scale.
  • Setting your minimum ROAS too high will hinder your ability to scale and perform as well as Value Optimization campaigns set for the highest value.


As always, if you have any questions or are looking for support with media buying on Facebook or developing fresh creative for video ads for your campaigns, please reach out to

The Creative Renaissance For Mobile App Advertising

2020 is the year of change in many aspects, no less in mobile app advertising. It’s been a creative renaissance. Both Facebook and Google have dramatically improved their algorithms for app campaigns for their fully automated solutions in Facebook AAA (Automated App Ads) and Google AC (App Campaigns). TikTok has also opened up the gates to mobile advertisers to engage in a growing variety of app campaign types.

According to Statista, social advertising will be $52B in the US alone by 2024. That means creative production will have to cater to short-form video advertising across social channels such as Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Snap. What’s more, the majority of that spend ($44B) will be distributed via mobile. According to eMarketer, by 2022, US adults will spend 88% of their time within mobile apps.

creative renaissance for mobile app advertising


creative renaissance for mobile app advertising


Creative Renaissance

The takeaway is creatives will have to increase their time and effort towards social advertising across mobile channels. Many of our clients, such as those in mobile gaming and eCommerce, have been aggressively capitalizing on these trends. What is interesting is that you see commerce brands embracing this mobile-first, app-based experience. From health and fitness brands like Peloton to apparel brands such as Nike and Allbirds to established commerce brands such as Sephora and to app-fueled disruptors across industries such as Acorns, Robin Hood, Calm, and Intuit. Everything is pointing to a creative renaissance for mobile app advertising across social media.

What is holding this creative renaissance back? Well, you have a global economic downturn which is putting more pressure on all aspects of the business to drive performance, even creative. Secondly, social distancing and reduced travel has caused a tremendous impact on the creative process and generating new creative assets via live production and photography. So, the performance pressure has never been higher, the challenges have never been more daunting, and social users are unrelenting in what will make them stop scrolling, engage, and download a brand or publisher’s mobile app.

The answer to tackling this trifecta of challenges to drive performance from digital advertising is to take a whole new approach to creative concepts and testing.


Let’s Start with a Few Simple Realities

New creative concepts drive the step change gains in performance. They can create new interest in a brand, game title, or product. Or they can create a “new creative life” that allows for a longer run time before creative fatigue sets in. New creative concepts open new audiences while building off your existing audiences.

85-90% of new creative concepts fail. Meaning, the new creative concepts do not outperform the existing “champion creative” most of the time, which means that the advertiser is making less money on every impression that is not going to the champion. Any “test and learn” process absorbs the cost of expected failure so a learning agenda will be less efficient than a champion creative until you find a new champion.

Iterations have value. The adage suits: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Iterations and multivariate creative testing keep small percentage points of improvement on winning creative to help extend the life of the creative and reduce creative fatigue but they should not be the focus of your creative efforts.

Essentially this boils down to: marketers need new creative concepts to create big gains. But new creative concepts have a high failure rate, so you need to be very strategic and methodical from a concepting and testing perspective to reduce risk in new concept development. And you need to be methodical, outcome-oriented, and tuned to financial performance on iterations in order to create small gains on legacy creative and extend the life of creative assets.


How to Approach Creative Concepting in a New Way

We are in challenging times for marketers who depend on new creative concepts, especially those that deal with live photography or video such as within eCommerce, retail, or direct-to-consumer businesses.

It is extremely difficult to guarantee production locations, in addition to assembling production teams and models. Booking travel puts limitations on both the ability to do the production but also the quality of the production. So, the pressure is on for marketers leaning into digital channels because of the increased competition both in terms of media CPM’s, eyeballs, and the ability to break through the clutter.

So, what is the solution?

Creative directors and marketers will need to take a whole new approach to concept development. They’ll need to align creative resources and partners to the goals of financial performance and agility and become experts in testing and learning to extend the life of their existing creative assets.

Here’s how to do new concept development when you are limited in production capability:

1. Rewrite the story behind your existing creative assets to play successfully in social:
  • Great social ads play a fine line between the authenticity of the brand but also piquing curiosity to get a user to take notice, stop scrolling, and find entertainment or fulfillment in your creative.
  • Instead of leaning 100% on your customer research, switch to a 50/50 mindset of clearly explaining your product truths but also incorporating competitive intelligence to understand what will get a user to stop scrolling and engage.
    • Process for finding competitive ads and review: It’s a ripple effect of research. We start with direct competitors to see what they’re doing and what is working, what is driving the most impressions.
    • Then we identify what elements are consistent in those best-performing ads. From direct competitors we move further afield into other categories/genres to identify the best performers, selecting elements of those competitors that will work for our client’s creative. Then we test, test, test.
  • It is okay to leverage insights on what works and what doesn’t work from competitors to identify trends of what is working creatively but also what to stay away from.
  • Take your existing creative assets and photography to rewrite the story and entertain.
  • Imagine that the relationship between your creative is asking the user to dance and the user could have any of the following reactions:
    • No, I have seen you before and you are uninteresting to me (stale creative)
    • No, you do not make me curious and interested (lack of entertainment in the creative)
    • Yes, you have piqued my curiosity (the user is entertained)
    • Yes, you feel vaguely familiar but with a whole new spin (leverage successful competitive concepts but tailored to your brand)
    • Essentially, we are fishing for eyeballs and clicks. If you don’t have a hook, you’re not going to get them

If you are limited in your ability to produce new creative assets, you cannot let that stop you from generating revenue. Use competitive trends in addition to your own research to create new stories with existing creative assets leveraging proven strategies at scale. Do not put a huge burden on developing the strategy from scratch. Remember the failure rate on new concepts is high, so you want every advantage. Including learnings from your competitors, who have already poured a ton of resources and ad spend and testing time into creating their own high-performance ads and they are failing at 95%, too. Why not “borrow” from their best ads and customize them to create fresh ideas for your campaigns?

  • Personas: We utilize market research from clients, as well as doing our own research, regarding player personas and the types of motivations that will resonate with potential players.
  • Learnings: By connecting with client performance data, we are able to tweak and evolve creative over time. From iterations to testing elements in unique concepts, this is tremendously helpful in focusing our creative.

Facebook’s ads library tool is an aggressive move towards transparency for the ad platform and it will let you see:

  • Every ad that’s active now or that has even been active since May of 2018.
  • How much a page has spent on Facebook ads.
  • Which pages’ ads reference a particular keyword.

And remember the fine line between the story of your product and the action you want to create…. getting a user to take notice, stop scrolling, and click.

2. Align your creative resources to financial performance.
  • Make sure that your creative resources and partners are tuned into the financial performance of the creative and that it is factored into the strategy. For instance:
    • In social advertising, creative that looks good but does not create engagement or drive net profit is money lost.
    • Great creative strategy and financial performance are not just capable of being paired together; the expectation is that they must be.
    • Our creative team reviews the financial performance of all creative, looks at the specific learnings of each creative test, and executes multivariate tests to understand the drivers of success.
    • That is why our clients trust us with visibility into their social media accounts…because it creates performance.
3. Ensure that “test and learn” is fundamental in your creative process.
  • You need to be efficient in finding new concept winners to reduce the risk of new concept failure. For instance:
    • Better research in using competitive trends to understand what social users are responding to at large and what they are not responding to. You can find our definitive guide to the latest game-related creative trends here.
    • Reduce the exposure of your creative tests through a structured approach starting with quick engagement (CTR, IPM / Bounce Rate) then migrating winners to deeper metric performance such as ROAS and LTV score.
    • Once you have a creative winner, use “test and learn” to ride it as long as you can. Use structured learning agendas to find incremental gains (call to action, color scheme, product imagery, etc.) while you are concurrently loading up your new concept test. The goal is no downtime in your creative performance.

Consumer Acquisition as Your Strategic Partner in Creative Concepting

Our Creative Studio, combined with our marketing services teams, has developed a unique approach to scaling creative that is tested and proven with our clients both large and small. We execute creative testing through a combination of art and science to ensure that we help clients find that “creative sweet spot”, by combining data, trends, and breakthrough concepts, in order to find that winning creative.

We are 100% focused on business outcomes and financial performance in service to our customers, and transparent in our strategies and communications to ensure all teams are aligned towards the same goals.

Creative concepts are a key driver for major market growth. We understand that challenge even more so this year during this creative renaissance. We are here to partner with you on this new challenge as we head into 2021.


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Mobile App Creative Optimization For 2021

What is the best way to guarantee success in mobile app advertising? It is not your brand, and it is not your budget. It is great creative testing and optimization. Over the last seven years, we have developed a world-class creative optimization method that’s given a competitive advantage to thousands of advertisers. It is more powerful than machine learning or branding. And ultimately, more valuable than simply spending more ad budget.

Why? Because creative and creative optimization is the last advantage for any mobile app advertiser. Over the last few years, Google and Facebook’s increasing reliance on automation has taken away most of the competitive advantages of adtech tools and the granular campaign management levers used by humans. “Creative is the only major lever remaining to influence performance for mobile app advertisers,” as Dustin Engel explains in his article, The Faster, Better, Cheaper Mandate in Extraordinary Times.

But not just any creative can cut it. Advertisers need high-performance creative that can perform as well or better than their current winning ad. And being that only one in ten or twenty ads are good enough to beat a winning creative, that means advertisers need a lot of new creative concepts – not variations – and a cost-effective way to test and optimize creative.

Creative Optimization: Why Efficiency is Essential

So efficient, accurate, scalable creative testing is the single best competitive advantage any advertiser has.

But it is harder to do than you would think.

Take efficiency: Anyone who has ever run a simple split-test knows there is a downside to running tests. Ad variations that do not convert as well as your control cost money to test and lose you money. Sometimes a lot of money.

If you test a lot of ads, you can cumulatively lose a big chunk of budget simply by testing ads that do not perform as well as your control.  We recommend that advertisers allocate 10-15% of their monthly budget to A/B testing and assume that 85-95% of that test budget will produce a ROAS of $0.00 – zip – nada – nothing!

This is why we recommend you pay close attention to competitive trends and player profiles.  Paying attention to competitors increases your success rate above 5% to 17%. And when done properly, will provide you an endless supply of tested concepts to try. This approach allows us to find the big new ideas that can lead to huge improvements but to find them in a way that minimizes failure.  Why Pablo Picasso said “a good artist will borrow but a great artist will steal”, you can’t rely on simply coping with competitive concepts.  You need to look broadly across the Facebook / Google / TikTok ecosystem to understand which creative trends are gaining momentum and filter those concepts through user profiles/motivations and a title’s universe of assets and creative restrictions to come up with original ideas.

But that is only half the battle.

Not only do underperforming ads lose money, but just testing itself requires a certain amount of ad spend. The example below shows how getting to statistical significance can cost $20,000 for each version of creative tested. But our shortcut method, IPM creative testing, can find a winner for 1% of the cost that statistical significance would require.

creative optimization



How do we do this? Basically, our internal creative testing methodology is designed to look for big wins early on. If the tests are managed well, and we can control when the algorithm tries to play favorites, we can cut the time it takes to find a new winner. This means we save money by not running ad spend through underperforming ads, but more importantly, it means we can test more creative and test it faster.

This means we can have fresh, high-performance creative running always, with minimal dips in performance between one top-performing ad and the next. We can side-step most of the uneven performance triggered by creative fatigue.

creative optimization

These are some of the tactics that allow us to test more creative faster. They’ve led to the bulk of performance improvements in our clients’ accounts.

Basically, we know creative testing has the single highest return on investment of any other activity in-app businesses. And therefore, we tell every advertiser to do more testing. No matter who you are, or how much you are testing, do more.

Betatyping: Facebook’s New Framework for Creative Optimization

So, given how powerful creative optimization can be, we were eager to see Facebook reveal a new update of their own creative testing framework. They call it “betatyping.”

“Betatyping is a way to intentionally experiment, uncover fertile creative territories and drive success. Looked at from a different angle, Betatyping is a creative and measurement framework to equip advertisers to answer their most pressing business questions, the building blocks of a campaign, by directly tapping into the pulse of their audiences on Facebook.”

Facebook breaks its betatyping framework down into four elements: Ask, Make, Learn, and Adapt.

Here is how they describe each element:

  • Ask: Craft hypotheses based on what you are trying to learn and the outcome measures that will determine success.
  • Make: Design experiments and creative assets based on your hypothesis and what you are trying to learn.
  • Learn: Analyze results and insights from the experiment based on primary KPIs and secondary diagnostics.
  • Adapt: Strategically and creatively determine how the learnings will be implemented.
Facebook Betatyping Framework
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So, does betatyping work? Yes. Facebook draws on a case study from McDonald’s to show how powerful betatyping can be.

Betatyping in Action: McDonald’s Sweden Case Study

McDonald’s Sweden wanted more app downloads. They hypothesized “that app installs would be higher for creative featuring relatable, real-life moment-based deals versus their business-as-usual straightforward deal offers.”

So, they ran an experiment and got some impressive results: an 82% cost reduction per app install compared to previous campaigns.

But that is only the first step. Per Facebook’s new testing approach, McDonald’s Sweden went on to learn from the results of this survey and to adapt their creative development strategy going forward so it reflected their new “relatable, real-life moment-based deals” creative strategy.

They have been loving it ever since. Betatyping that, is. This is one of the core aspects of this new framework: It is ongoing. As Facebook explains, “It’s that continual cycle of hypothesizing, testing, learning and adapting that uncovers fertile creative territories and drives long-term success.”

Facebook Betatyping
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We could not agree more. Mobile app creative optimization cannot be a “one and done” exercise. It must be built into the creative development process from the ground up. But with betatyping, this idea of ongoing optimization is central. It is a creative testing framework that “leads to accumulating valuable insights about a brand and business, beyond what works in one single campaign.”

That last part is key. Betatyping is a far more strategic, and even “meta” approach to creative testing than standard A/B split-tests. What Facebook is describing here does not come from just running split-tests that compare the performance of a hundred different creative elements, like colors, hero-shots, call to action, and the like.

What Facebook is talking about here is on a different level. They are describing a test of an entire creative approach, not just optimizing one isolated ad.

That said, this framework could be used to optimize different creative elements. A company could posit a hypothesis like “bold colors will outperform muted colors.” A company could do that with this framework, but they would be missing the larger opportunity here.

This is both the power of this framework, but also a reason to use it carefully. We advise using betatyping very carefully. Because the whole framework hinges on something that many advertisers have not nailed yet.

The ultimate success of betatyping comes down to posing the right hypothesis and to choosing the right KPI to measure it with.

Betatyping Still Needs an Underlying Creative Strategy

Without understanding the goals of your advertising, and your best plan for how to achieve those goals, the betatyping model might not help as much as you would hope.

Therefore, one of the first things we do when we work with a new account is to see:

  1. what they have done in the past (creative audit)
  2. what their competitors are doing (competitive audit)

This sort of historical analysis and competitive research gives us a framework for a data-driven creative strategy. It also gives us a deep enough understanding of their account so we can pose hypotheses worth testing.

For example, another creative strategy best practice we like to use is the concept of “player profiles.” “Player profiles” are basically a way to segment gaming audiences not so much by demographics, but by what motivates different audiences to play a game.

This sort of creative strategy analysis would be an ideal complement to Facebook’s betatyping approach. You could use each player profile as the hypothesis for the test. Then run your experiments to see if the data from creative performance proved you had defined each player correctly.

If the creative experiments showed you had done those player profiles correctly, you could then confidently adapt all your current creative strategy to align with those player motivations and the six “gaming emotional hooks.”

Gaming Emotional Hooks
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Left brain and right brain thinking for creative optimization

There is one other reason why we like this new betatyping framework so much. It marries data and creative so well. This is exactly the left-brain/right-brain mindset we’ve been advocating for user acquisition managers to embrace.

So welcome to yet more evidence of the blend of data and creativity in current user acquisition advertising – and the proof that this is where UA is heading. With this new betatyping framework, we have been given yet another tool to shift into User Acquisition 2.0.


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