End of 2020 Sprint: Capture Q5 and Prepare for IDFA Impact

With the end of 2020 just weeks away, instead of winding down, now is the time to seize the Q5 final user acquisition opportunities of the year. Namely, the two opportunities to take advantage of right now are the following:

1. Preparing for the Q5 2020 year-end period where CPMs dip.

The New Q5

2. The upcoming Q1 change from Apple requires users to opt-in to Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) for campaign tracking. Eric Seufert from MobileDevMemo believes this will happen in March and will contract iOS spending by 30-40% over the course of Q2 2021 following the rollout of ATT.

the new Q5


How to Take Advantage of Q5 2020


Q5 is our coined concept. It includes the 10-day period between the last Amazon shipping day before Christmas until New Year’s Eve. Where retail and eCommerce advertisers pull back spending on Facebook and Google. So CPMs decline by about 40%, giving other mobile app advertisers a tremendous opportunity. You can view historical charts showing these CPM trends here: https://www.consumeracquisition.com/5th-quarter-2020-are-you-ready/

The window is now, so to take full advantage of this opportunity, here is what you should do:

1. If your arsenal of creative is drying up, bulk up your production to replenish now.
  • To capture this opportunity, we are advising mobile app advertisers to stock up on holiday creative. Also, do this quickly to capture this extended online shopping season. And if you have not already, also bulk up production and testing to capture CMP drops related to Q5.
2. Mobile app advertisers should have their biggest December / Q5 2020 ever!
  • This has been an unprecedented holiday season. The effect will be felt more significantly this year due to the overwhelming amount of first-time eCommerce spenders participating this year. Thus, pulling back near Christmas.
  • This year more than ever, mobile app advertisers should be ready to capitalize on an influx of ad inventory primed for non-eCommerce shopping. We are advising gaming, entertainment streaming apps, meditation and fitness apps, DTC, and others to GET READY!
3. Travel industry demand will flow into other verticals instead, as lockdowns continue.
  • The travel industry has been hit extremely hard in 2020 by global quarantines that started in March and show no signs of slowing, especially with lockdowns extended now.
  • Holiday gatherings this year are advised to remain small and travel discouragement is causing travel advertisers to forecast a low spend season.
  • This poses an additional opportunity for mobile app advertisers to reach millions of people. People who are staying home, finding gaming, entertainment, health, and fitness as a means to “escape or enhance” their at-home time.
4. People are much more likely to connect more this holiday through shared experiences via social sites vs in-person traveling.
  • Gaming with friends has never been more important. We expect that social platforms like Facebook, Google, and TikTok that offer a way to play and engage with friends and family will continue to surge through the winter season and well into 2021.


How to Prepare for IDFA in March 2021


Many challenges lie ahead in 2021 for marketers. Particularly around navigating the privacy-related changes stemming from Apple’s Apple Tracking Transparency (ATT) with iOS 14.4. Also, how it impacts the ability to identify and target audiences in social media. In fact, this is by far the most impactful thing that will happen to the mobile ecosystem. Along with the corresponding lack of optics that it provides for the entire mobile ecosystem, independent of vertical.

Facebook also notes that web campaigns will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain attribution. And will now be governed by “Aggregated Event Measurement”, as its mobile SKAdNetwork campaign-centric conversion value counts. Meaning that events will only be counted at the level of campaign granularity. As with SKAdNetwork conversion events, these 8 conversion events will exist on a priority spectrum. In addition, only the highest-priority event triggered by the user will be attributed to that campaign. Value Optimization (VO) campaigns will still be available to web advertisers. Although VO campaigns will only allow for 4 conversion events to be tracked. And 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows are being deprecated.

For app advertisers, Facebook has noted that advertisers will be limited to one ad account per app for iOS14 campaigns. But they will not need to create a new, dedicated account for iOS14 campaigns.

To prepare now and mitigate the impact of these tracking changes that are anticipated to take effect in March 2021, here’s what you can do now:


Media Buying and Measuring in Q5


If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 to help personalize ads delivered to devices on iOS 14. Also, continue to receive app conversion events reporting from iOS 14 devices. You can do this from the Events Manager. You will need to be an app admin to do so. Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1, currently supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API and enables measurement for app install ads. If you do not have the SDK installed, you may want to install it.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • You may need to verify your website’s domain to help avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns. Domain verification must be done for the effective top-level domain plus one (eTLD+1). For example, for www.books.jasper.co.uk, books.jasper.co.uk, and jasper.co.uk the eTLD+1 domain is jasper.co.uk. This can help ensure that your domain verification will encompass all variations.
  • Domain verification should be prioritized for domains with pixels used by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. This will enable you to configure pixel conversion events when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available.
If you plan to deliver ads for both web and app conversion events, take all the actions listed above.


Capture Q5 with Ad Creative


You can use your existing ad accounts to advertise to devices on iOS 14. But you will need to create separate iOS 14 app install campaigns due to reporting limitations from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. The following are additional limitations that you will need to consider.

If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • You can only associate your app with a single ad account. However, you can use the same ad account to advertise for multiple apps.
  • Each app is limited to 9 iOS 14 campaigns at once. Each campaign is limited to 5 ad sets of the same optimization type. You cannot vary your optimization choice across ad sets in the same campaign. There is a 72-hour reset period after you turn off or delete one of your 9 permitted iOS 14 campaigns. This is before it will no longer count against your limit. This will help minimize the risk of incorrect campaign optimization and reporting due to the delayed reporting of conversion event data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.
  • Auction is the only available buying option when you create an ad for devices on iOS 14. Reach and Frequency is not available.
  • Once your campaign is published, you cannot turn on or turn off the iOS 14 campaign toggle. You will have to turn off or delete your campaign.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • Your pixel may only optimize for a maximum of 8 conversion events for each domain. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events we believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. All other events will be made inactive for campaign optimization and reporting. You will be able to manage your preferences in Events Manager. When you create your ad set, you’ll choose only one of the 8 designated conversion events to optimize for.
  • Ad sets that are optimizing for a pixel conversion event that is no longer active, will be paused. In advance of this limitation, you may need to consider making changes to your campaign or measurement strategy. You may also need to consider optimizing for upper-funnel objectives. For example, landing page views and link clicks.
You can also refer to an article we published in September, at the launch of iOS 14, on how IDFA may impact advertisers in 2021: https://www.consumeracquisition.com/game-over-ios-14-idfa-loss-drive-layoffs/


How We Can Help You Capture Q5?

  • We produce Hollywood-level creative at a fraction of the cost of holding company creative shops. And, at a high velocity of production with proprietary testing methodology tied to business outcomes.
  • Check out our new Gaming Reel & Non-Gaming Reel.
  • We have sharpened our teeth in immersive digital storytelling (gaming) and bring that storytelling to new brands, verticals, and markets.
  • Our creative and platform are geared towards performance and business outcomes instead of awards.
  • Our capabilities lend themselves to emerging digital media such as OTT, DTC, Mobile Web, and DOOH. As established brands are forced to adapt to post-COVID digital transformation.

Match 3 Puzzle 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 match 3 puzzle games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Check Out Our Match 3 Puzzle Games Reel

Match 3 Puzzle Games Competitive Analysis

  • Competitors: Competitors: Fishdom, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, Mansion Blast, Home Design Challenge, Wildscapes, Slices, Township Farm & City, Wordscapes, Clockmaker, Meow Match, Home Design Makeover, Jelly Juice, Lily’s Garden, My Home, Paint by Number, Sweet Road, Vineyard Valley, Brain Out, Candy Crush, Cookie Jam, Disney Magic Kingdoms, Fashion Blogger, Fashion Boutique, Museum Story, Sweet Escapes, Tropicats, Tropic Trouble, Choices, Dragon City, Episode, Hustle Castle, Lost Island, Merge Dragons!, Party in My Dorm, The Simpsons, Covet Fashion, Klondike, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, June’s Journey, Panda Pop, Manor Cafe, Home Blast, Hidden Resort
  • Top Competitors: Match 3 Toon Blast, Farm Heroes Saga, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, Toy Blast, Candy Smash Mania, Jewel Crush, Jewel Fever, Candy Blast Mania, Candy Pop, Sugar Blast, Cookie Jam Top Match 3 game.
  • Top Competitors: Building Matchington Mansion, Homescapes, Gardenscapes, Township, Fishdom, Coin Master
  • View competitive videos here

Match 3 Puzzle Game Trends

  • Puzzles: Locks & Gates and other puzzles that challenge users to free a game character (Fishdom, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, many others)
  • Picker Videos: 3D or 2D situations with pickers, often resulting in disastrous fails. (Township, Sweet Escapes, Manor Cafe, many others)
  • Hidden Items: Videos or still images that contain hidden items the user must find. (Meow Match, June’s Journey)
  • Design Challenges: Tasks that must be completed within an allotted time or budget. (Design Home, Sweet Escapes)
  • Real Player Gameplay: Split screen featuring a player and gameplay. (Jelly Juice)
  • Female-Centered Vignettes: Women overcoming adversity and men behaving badly in soap opera situations. (Lily’s Garden, Choices, Vineyard Valley, My Home: Design Dreams)
  • Choose Your Adventure: Series of situations where you choose between two actions. (Choices, Episode)
  • Game Controller: Picker that mimics a game console, guiding character through levels. (Candy Crush, Hustle Castle)

match 3 apps

Match 3 Puzzle Game Trends (cont.)

  • Lifestyle and Gameplay: Showing lifestyle footage and gameplay that matches image (Toon Blast, Farm Hero Saga)
  • Gameplay + Side Character: Gameplay elements leaving the screen to interact with character (Candy Blast Mania, Candy Smash Mania, )
  • Mixing gameplay with narrative: Storybook narration, Coloring book style (Bubble Witch Saga))
  • 3D effect: Characters “floating” above gameplay (Farm Heroes Saga)
  • Funny but still cute: Evil character getting hit by gameplay, mentioning how you can’t get weight by playing candy games (Candy Blast Mania, Bubble Witch Saga))
  • Incorporating game to solve a problem: Using gameplay to find the key to escape a room (Candy Smash mania)

match 3 apps

match 3 apps


Player Motivations

Sample motivations for playing:

  • Stress relief
  • Complete levels or beat score
  • Killing time
  • Escape from “real life”
  • Socialize with friends, family, or other people

match 3 games

Player Motivations

The Most Common Primary Motivations for Women are Completion and Fantasy:

  • For women, Completion (get all stars/collectibles, complete all missions) and Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else) are the most common primary motivations, while Excitement (fast-paced, action, surprises, thrills) and Challenge (practice, high difficulty missions) are the least common.
  • These gender differences seem to align with stereotypes, but as we’ve pointed out before, age differences are often just as large if not more so.

Completion is the Most Low-Risk, High-Reward Motivation:

  • One finding that surprised us was consistently high Completion (get all stars/collectibles, complete all missions) placed across all the charts. Whether we’re comparing gender or age segments, Completion is always in the top 3. In this sense, Completion is a very low-risk, high-reward motivation.
  • It helps explain why games that emphasize Completion, such as Pokemon Go, can be so broadly appealing across different demographic segments, especially when these games also steer away from motivations that are more volatile and polarizing, such as Completion.
match 3
Source: Quantic Foundry, 7 Things We Learned About Primary Gaming Motivations From Over 250,000 Gamers

Player Motivations

Here’s an illustration of what such a motivation map looks like for mobile puzzle games (games like Candy Crush, Pet Rescue, or Bubble Witch):

  • The data tells us that puzzle game players would like to have more Immersion and Creativity in their games. This could provide an explanation to the success of titles such as Gardenscapes or Homescapes, which provide players with some light narrative and decoration options

Puzzle Players, broken down by clusters:

  • 55% of players (Completionists and Solvers) are quite happy with their games as they are
  • 25% of players (Explorers and Designers) are where the narrative/decoration opportunity lies
  • 20% of players (Champions) are interested in a more social puzzle game
  • Written by Ishai Smadja, Product Manager @ King // Player of Games // Contrarian

Concept: Faux Hidden Items Gameplay

Faux “relaxing” games are interrupted by exciting interactions/fights between characters:

  • Begin video with slower games like hidden items or word games, with a header like “Find 5 Bats”
  • Characters breakthrough painting as others chase with a (baseball) bat

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Decorative/creative opening could attract puzzle players

match 3 puzzle games match 3 puzzle games


Concept: Locks and Gates

  • New 2D animation style
  • Try characters in “How to Loot?” where a lock releases sweets or allows her to escape
  • Test “What’s Next?” vs FAIL – to appeal to new users Leverage “dumb ways to die” assets

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Gardenscapes: 96%
  • Homescapes: 36%

Player Motivations:

  • Engage puzzle players who want to complete challenges

match 3 puzzle games match 3 puzzle games


Concept: Connect The Dots

Create videos where finger connects dots to create Matchington characters:

  • Simple background
  • Engages viewer’s curiosity
  • Can speak to game truths like Clockmaker’s “We know you’re tired of Match-3 ads..”

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Sweet Escapes

Player Motivations:

  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

match 3 puzzle games match 3 puzzle games


Concept: Serial Storytelling

Serial storytelling style:

  • Soap opera clichés and adult situations to capture the attention of the 25-54 female demographic
  • Minimal scenes (“UP” style opening)
  • Rival characters fighting over a love interest
  • Female characters overcoming odds and bad male behavior

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Lily’s Garden: 91% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets player need for narrative in games

match 3 puzzle games match 3 puzzle games match 3 puzzle games


Concept: Perilous Situations

  • Rescue situations: Feature characters. Leverage pop culture, movies, or just mini-games
  • Character holding rope bridge (Indiana Jones)
  • The character holding a clock (Harold Lloyd)
  • Dumb ways to die concepts
  • HS/GS “in a theme tied to the game”


Reveal more Match 3 Puzzle Games Creative Ideas!

Download Match 3 Puzzle Games Today!

The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads 2021

TikTok is a hot spot for mobile app advertising right now. It is not hard to see why. The platform’s massively growing userbase and affinity for short-form video make it an ideal environment for all mobile app advertisers. To learn what TikTok is, its platform capabilities, and the TikTok culture CLICK HERE to read The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads 2021.

Here are just a few reasons why TikTok has become a must-use advertising platform so quickly:

  • It is big! With 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has a user base more than twice the size of Twitter (340+ million) and almost double the size of Reddit (430+ million). That makes it the sixth most popular app globally based on the number of monthly active users, and one of the most downloaded apps in 2020.
  • It is global. TikTok users span 150 countries worldwide (so you can do plenty of testing to smaller countries before you roll out to the US audience).
  • Its userbase is well-off. 51.8% of TikTok users in the United States make over $75,000 per year.
  • It is insanely video-friendly. “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video.” The platform has video ads and influencer marketing built into its DNA.


The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads 2021



  • TikTok 101: What it is, platform capabilities, and TikTok culture


Section One: How to Get Started with TikTok Advertising

  • An introduction to TikTok’s advertising platform
  • An introduction to TikTok’s advertising platform
  • Standard TikTok ads
  • Non-standard TikTok ads
  • How can marketers use TikTok?
  • How to set up your first TikTok advertising campaign


Section Two: Best Practices for TikTok Ads

  • Creative Testing
  • TikTok Automated Creative Optimization
  • TikTok Creative Specs
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Bids and budgets


Section Three: Media Buying Best Practices for TikTok Ads

  • TikTok audience targeting
  • Custom Audiences
  • Retargeting and the TikTok Pixel
  • Ad placements
  • Optimization goals
  • How much do TikTok ads cost?


definitive guide to tiktok ads


What Can App Commerce Marketers Learn From Fake Gameplay Ads?

We have all seen the ads on TV — ads designed to shock, disrupt, or entertain. What can mobile app commerce marketers learn from fake gameplay ads?

Think irreverent brand ads from the likes of GEICO, Skittles, and Budweiser. A bit funny, weird, strange, and entertaining, and not always seemingly matched to the very product they are intended to promote.

What do these mobile app commerce marketers know that every other marketer who simply espouses their product, game, or app does not?

Think back now to every movie trailer that blew you out of your chair and got your butt into the seat of the movie theater. Did the movie and the 2-minute movie trailer line up exactly to the plotline as you would expect? Did it even come close? But moreover, when you were watching the movie, did you care, or were you so engrossed in the experience that the trailer had little to do with your end satisfaction with the movie?

So, why are trailers not always a short version of the film?

The answer is that to get “butts in seats” and ensure that the trailer you saw was enough to compel you to allocate your time and money to the movie, marketers focus on these three things:

  • Interrupt your thought stream so you take notice. Which nowadays means marketers must focus on interrupting your casual scroll through your social feed.
  • Create a reason, any reason, to follow the call-to-action. Even if that reason is only loosely tied to the product
  • Create enough attachment to the actual product to ensure that the product feels familiar and customers feel comfortable when they are actually exposed to the product

Game advertising has surprising parallels to this approach.


What are Fake Gameplay Ads?


Game developers and mobile app commerce marketers often use alternative gameplay, more commonly called “fake gameplay” in their ad creative. The reason is that for mobile game developers, the stakes are incredibly high.



As the name implies, typically, 100% of a mobile game’s revenue is derived from their mobile app, as opposed to the commerce world where revenue can be split amongst app, eCommerce, and retail storefronts.

Game trends can also change on a dime. Users are incredibly fickle. With a limited barrier to entry to install an app, apps can launch with a great deal of success. But then fatigue very quickly (and see performance shift just as fast) if a new trend or competitor emerges.

Mobile Games

Mobile games are incredibly complex with large budgets and deep gameplay, and game developers cannot always alter gameplay to match fast-changing trends, nor should they if they have a quality product that users love once they start playing.

As a result, some apps never even make it out of the soft launch period, especially if they are not supported by strong paid user acquisition before word-of-mouth can support their growth. For those that do launch, many marketers are turning to alternative gameplay in ads to catch user attention. In fact, if you spend enough time viewing your social feeds, you will start to see similarities in ads for games. Common themes such as pickers, puzzles, hidden objects, matching, and success/fail, seem to come in waves before it almost feels like that is all that you see.

There are reasons for seeing so much copycat advertising. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Game developers are widely known for their adherence to test and learn internally and from peers in order to drive users to install their games and then also to drive deeper monetization.

Innovative game developers are experts in the “getting butts in seats” strategy by:
  • Introducing alternative gameplay in ads to create engagement and ultimately drive users to install and play their game
  • Identifying trending games or ad themes from other games and adding that gameplay to their ads to create the desired effect
  • Testing all kinds of alternative gameplay creative and doing it on a recurring basis to drive positive marketing performance

As game developers are some of the most performance-minded marketers around, it is clear that the strategy of alternative gameplay simply works. Meaning, it drives financial performance. As a matter of fact, beyond alternative gameplay ads outperforming on scale, we have seen alternative gameplay outperform the nearest competitive ad on Day 7 Return on Ad Spend by 200%.

What you may not know is that to be successful with this strategy and to ensure that as a marketer, you avoid dissatisfied users, there is a playbook that can deliver success time and time again. And it goes like this:


Step 1: Do The Research

Make sure you have the ability and take the time to identify trends. Also, know where creative impressions in your competitive set (both broadly and narrowly) are heading. You can always check out our guide for creative research and testing best practices: 2020 Definitive Guide Of Facebook Ads Creative Strategy, Creative Testing and Launching New Games

  • The amount and weighting of impressions against a certain theme will provide you with tremendous insights as to what users are responding to.
  • We pride ourselves on creating tools and data sets to provide our clients with an objective view of the marketplace and the data to support creative strategies and creative learning agendas.


Step 2: Define the Strategy and Learning Agenda

  • Design the strategy based on the trends. The key element is understanding the user motivation behind the themes. As that will unlock a greater understanding of the boundaries of your creative strategy. Concept something completely new that will attach to the same user motivation. This will put you in the first-mover position on a new creative concept.
  • Remembering that every impression you burn on lower-performing ads results in a lower direct ROI. So you need to test as efficiently and as methodically as possible.
  • Our proprietary methodology for creative testing empowers our clients to test and learn at scale in order to find creative winners as efficiently as possible.
  • Let data be your objective guide to what works and what does not.


Step 3: Create The Familiar

This is where art and science merge and storytelling talent is paramount. Make users feel comfortable once they install and start playing the game. Do this by ensuring that there are enough creative assets to make the experience familiar:

  • Think about characters from the game or settings from the game in completely new experiences within ads.

It is a fine line between staying too close to your gameplay to where your ads miss a trend. Also, when you do not have a compelling reason to try the game. Or, you are not using enough game assets to make a user’s experience with a game feel familiar.


Key Learnings for App Commerce Marketers


So, what can commerce brands learn from this 101 on alternative gameplay for game developers?

Commerce brands often hesitate in letting go of the “let the product be the hero” mindset and embracing test and learn at scale.

Mobile app commerce marketers will often feature beautiful products in creative that do not compel you to stop scrolling.  Countless commerce ads miss the mark on captivating the user at that moment and compelling them to care. Marketers need to test all variables of ads at scale as opposed to simply offer and call to action testing.

So, what can app commerce marketers do to change the paradigm?


Step 1: Do The Research

  • Identify the trends that garner impression volume.
  • It is okay to see what larger commerce brands are doing. But, we recommend looking at disruptive, upstart brands because:
    • They have more to lose by running unsuccessful ads.
    • They do not have the benefit of media weight to hide the effect of lower-performing ads or overall return.

Step 2: Define the Strategy and Learning Agenda

  • Within the trends, understand the motivations, including:
    • Practicality, status, utility, and self-reward.
    • Understanding motivation yields a wider range of creative possibilities.
  • Define the learning agenda:
    • This tends to be a hang-up for commerce brands because they are limited in creative assets. And those limitations are increased in the COVID era due to the logistical challenges of live production.
    • Solution: create new narratives through animation and aftereffects of existing creative assets:
      • Brands are slowly but surely leveraging animation to replace product imagery entirely such as Nespresso and Chipotle.
      • Add animation to existing products in order to turn an existing creative asset into an explainer of a core value proposition or product benefits, such as Nest or Vans.

Step 3: Create The Familiar

What makes Consumer Acquisition unique is that our creative storytellers use data for every aspect of decision making and strategy. To change your team’s mindset:

  • Your creative team needs to be comfortable leveraging data to inform how successful they are at walking that fine line between taking new creative risks and staying familiar.
  • When you are taking risks, you are creating improved engagement and action on your ads.
  • If you are staying familiar, your sell-through does not suffer once users land on your app, your website, or your store.
  • When you are doing this at scale, you are not only improving your overall digital marketing performance but you are also adding new benefits to existing creative assets. Thereby improving your return on creative production costs.


Consumer Acquisition as Your Strategic Partner in Adding New Life to Your Creative Assets


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

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

Maximizing your creative asset return and improving your digital marketing performance is more important now than ever. We are here to partner with you on this new challenge as we head into 2021.

app commerce marketers app commerce marketers

app commerce marketers
Images from Mobile Action

Casual RPG 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 Casual RPG Games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Check Out Our RPG Gaming Reel!


Casual RPG Games Competitive Analysis

Competitors: AFK Arena, Disney Sorcerer’s Arena, Idle Heroes, Tap Titans 2, Hero Wars, Taptap Heroes, Empires & Puzzles: Epic Match 3, Legendary: Game of Heroes, Almost a Hero, Clicker Heroes, Ulala: Idle Adventure, Hopeless Heroes: Tap Attack, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, Rise of Kingdoms, Questland: Hero Quest, Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, Rise of Kingdoms, Questland: Hero Quest

More Competitors: Clash of Clans, FTL, Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare, The Elder Scrolls: Legends CCG, Stormbound, Gods of Olympus, TerraGenesis: Star Settlers, Nova Empire: Space Commander, Bit City, AdVenture Communist, Godus, The Battle Cats, South Park: Phone Destroyer, Space Arena: Build & Fight MMO, Fire Emblem Heroes, Dungeon, Inc: Idle Clicker, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, Star Trek Fleet Command, Dawn of Titans, DomiNations, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, Craft Warriors, Mushroom Wars 2, Armello, Deep Town: Idle Miner Factory, Epic Battle Simulator 2, Zombie Gunship Survival, Hades’ Star, Prison Architect, King’s Raid, Hustle Castle, Fallout Shelter, Tiny Tower, Second Galaxy

View competitive videos.

Casual RPG Games Competitive Analysis

Casual RPG Games Player Motivations

Idle Clicker gamers are not primarily casual gamers. In fact, they have a perfectly average core gamer profile. Most are also driven by Completion (collect stars, complete all missions) and Power (leveling up, getting powerful gear). But least driven by Excitement (fast-paced, thrilling, surprises) and Fantasy (being someone else, somewhere else). – Nick Yee, The Surprising Profile of Idle Clicker Gamers, Quantic Foundry

Casual RPG Games Competitive Trends

  • Influencers: Gameplay featuring influencers and in-game commentary. (Ulala)
  • Game Overview/Gameplay: Gameplay with an overview of the game, levels, and rewards. (AFK Arena, Idle Heroes, many more)
  • Countdowns: Characters, weapons, or powers listed in order of their “awesomeness.” (AFK Arena, Rise of Kingdoms)
  • Puzzles: Characters featured in puzzles that are not reflective of gameplay. (Hero Wars)
  • Humor: Comedic voiceover juxtaposed against heroic gameplay/character footage, or dialogue between players. (Rise of Kingdoms, Questland)
  • Music Influenced: Aggressive metal music combined with gameplay, or as a music video. (AFK Arena, King’s Raid)
  • Game Trailer: Gameplay with an overview of game graphics, levels, and rewards. (AFK Arena, Star Trek Fleet Command, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, many others)


casual rpg games

More Competitive Trends:

  • Characters & Countdowns: Characters, weapons, or powers listed in order of their “awesomeness.” (AFK Arena, Rise of Kingdoms)
  • Puzzles: Characters featured in puzzles that are not reflective of gameplay. (Hustle Castle)
  • Humor: Comedic voiceover juxtaposed against heroic gameplay/character footage, or dialogue between players. (Rise of Kingdoms, Questland)
  • Music Influenced: Aggressive metal music combined with gameplay, or as a music video. (AFK Arena, King’s Raid)
  • Player Focused: Gameplay that features inset player imagery and reactions or player interviews. (Space Arena, Mushroom Wars, DomiNations)
  • Noob vs. Pro/Level Focused: Gameplay that shows experienced versus new players, while often based on the level completion. (Space Arena)

Concept: Influencer Gameplay

Create short videos featuring influencers playing the game:

  • Attracts players while legitimizing the game
  • Demonstrates how to win stages and rewards

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Ulala: Idle Adventure: 51% SOV

casual rpg games casual rpg games

Concept: Character Countdown

Feature characters in a countdown of best characters, powers, and/or weapons:

  • Showcases animation style, range of characters, and/or powers
  • Humorous voice over
  • Generates higher engagement (curiosity over rankings)

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 28% SOV

casual rpg games casual rpg games
rpg games rpg games

Concept: Character Puzzles

Create videos featuring characters in brain-teasing puzzles:

  • Engages “completion” and “power” motivators for Idle RPG players
  • Shows characters in a familiar environment

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Hero Wars: 100% SOV

casual rpg games charcter puzzles charcter puzzles charcter puzzlescasual rpg games character puzzles

Concept: Comedic Voice Over

Create videos that juxtapose gameplay with a comedic voice-over.

  • Showcases gameplay and/or characters
  • Mimics gamer dialogue
  • Uses subtitles

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 72% SOV
  • Questland: 8% SOV

Casual RPG games Comedic Voiceover Comedic Voiceover
Comedic Voiceover Comedic Voiceover

Concept: Choices

Add simple pickers to characters and game situations:

  • Increase engagement with viewers

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • AFK Arena: 6% SOV
  • King’s Raid: 4% SOV

casual rpg games casual rpg games
casual rpg games casual rpg

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Puzzle / Hidden Object 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 Puzzle Hidden Object Games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Check Out Our Hidden Object Apps Reel!

Puzzle Hidden Object Games Competitive Analysis

  • Puzzle game competitors: June’s Journey, CC Friends Saga, CC Soda Saga, Gardenscapes, Homescapes, Toon Blast, Toy Blast, Cookie Jam, Sweet Escapes, Lily’s Garden, Funky Bay, Best Fiends, Lost Island, Manor Cafe, Resort Hotel, Passion Puzzle, Design Home Express, Meow Match, Diner Dash, Pet Rescue Saga, Choices, My Home: Design Dreams, My Cafe, Word Villas, Vineyard Valley, Township
  • Hidden Object game competitors: Pearl’s Peril, Criminal Case, The Secret Society, Agent Alice, CSI Hidden Crimes, Diggy’s Adventure, Hidden City, Letters from Nowhere, Murder in the Alps, Mysteries of the Past, Tropicats, Adam Wolfe: Dark Detective Mystery Game, Adventure Escape, Hidden Objects Mystery Society, Pearl’s Peril, Seeker’s Notes: Hidden Mystery, Bubble Island, Survivors: the Quest, Temple Run 2, Township: Farm & City Building, Horse Haven World Adventures, Klondike Adventures, Diamond Dash, Stand O’Food, Virtual City Playground, Just Dance Controller, Just Dance Now, Trials Frontier, Ubisoft Club, Cage & Aviary Birds, Clipomatic, Colorfy, Color Your Call, Galatea, Murder Minute, Paint Color, Quiz Crazy, Shudder, Tarot
  • To view competitive videos, click here

puzzle hidden object games

Puzzle Hidden Object Games Player Profiles

Demographics/Profiles Summary:

  • 91% women aged 35+, 18% of whom aged 65+
  • 70% play in the living room, 40% play in bed, 60% watch TV while playing
  • Favorite YouTube channels include Bernadette Banner (sewing, vintage art), Rachel Maksy (vintage makeup), and Kendall Rae (murder mystery)
  • Other games they enjoy are also strongly story-driven:
  • Hidden Object: Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery, Hidden City, Criminal Case, Pearl’s Peril, Murder in the Alps
  • Words: Word Whizzle Search, Bible Verse Collect
  • Town-building: Klondike Adventures

Target Audience

  • “Escapist Homebodies” (Introverted High Payers)
  • Demographics Women 45-60+
  • Motivations: Escapism, Self Improvement, Self Expression, Self Care

Puzzle Hidden Object Games Player Motivations

Solitary Story Player:

  • Hooked by the story and can’t wait to know what’s next!
  • Wants to know what happens next in the story, but doesn’t want to sacrifice her island decoration to progress faster
  • Wants to decorate her island to her own taste
  • Looking for an immersive solitary bubble to recharge away from the world

Solitary Self-Challengers:

  • Story and decorations are nice but secondary: what matters is hidden-object scenes
  • Immersive gameplay helps her relax into repetitive, hypnotic focus
  • Wants to relax through steady self-improvement Play is “me-time”
  • Looking for a good brain-teaser to improve their memory
  • Cares most about the gameplay, less about the story

Puzzle Hidden Object Games Competitive Trends

  • Cinematic Storytelling: Romantic, dramatic stories (Murder in the Alps, Criminal Case, Galatea)
  • Female-centered storytelling: (StoryScape, Solve It, Galatea)
  • Cats!: “Find the Cat” concepts are becoming more ubiquitous and beginning to evolve (Criminal Case, Hidden City)
  • Hidden Object Countdowns: (Pearl’s Peril, Hidden City)

puzzle hidden object games

Concept: Story-focused challenges

  • Attract Hidden Object players with hidden object challenges in a movie trailer-like format, like Murder in the Alps and Criminal Case
  • Try counted clues in Criminal Case style (before and after)
  • Use a series of images/hidden object challenges that tell a story (similar to Murder in the Alps)

puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games

puzzle hidden object games

Concept: Story-focused countdowns

Use crime scenes to create more of a story in finding hidden objects (Pearl’s Peril, Criminal Case, Murder in the Alps)

puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games

Concept: Character-centric Stories

  • Utilize simulation/role playing-style (e.g. Pocket Gems Episode) technique to tell character-centered stories (Solve It, Storyscape)
  • Create simple puzzles that “save” your main character – targeting both solitary story-centric and self-challenge players (Homescapes)
  • Tell character-centered stories with voice over and/or supers (Galatea, Dream Home Solitaire)

puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games
puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games

Concept: Gameplay Methods

  • Combine live action people playing the game (relaxed, escapist) with gameplay (Klondike, Pearl’s Peril)
  • Combine gameplay with leaderboards (Tropicats)

puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games puzzle hidden object games

Concept: “Find the Cat”

Incorporate saturated interiors with food with the “Find the Cat” challenge or other short headers/items:

  • “Find the Gun”
  • “Locate the Dog”
  • “Find the Rope”
  • “Discover 5 Cats”
  • “Find 5 Oranges” (Criminal Case, June’s Journey)

Consider using cinemagraphs like the bar scene (Pearl’s Peril, Hidden City)

puzzle hidden object games

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Simulation / Lifestyle 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 Simulation Lifestyle Games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Simulation Lifestyle Games Competitive Analysis

  • Top Competitors: Vertical Design Home, Home Design Makeover, Property Brothers, House Flip, Home Design 3D, My Home Design Dreams, Home Maker, My Home Design Story, HomeCraft, House Designer, Home Street, Home Design, Dream House, Design this home, Word Villas, Planner 5D, House Flipper
  • Top Competitors: Apps Zillow, RedFin, Realtor.com, Homescapes, Gardenscapes, SimCity BuildIt, Home Design Story, Design This Home, Home Design Makeover!
  • To view competitive videos, click here and select the competitor tab

simulation lifestyle games

Player Motivations

  • Motivations: “The idea of getting by in 2030 is just too big to wrap my head around, the path there is too obscure and has too many steps, so sometimes I have to turn on my Xbox… in order to feel like I’m making concrete progress in something I can control.”
  • Design Home’s recent appeal, and razor-sharp focus on real-life products and design trends, can tell us something about the type of void aging millennials are seeking to fill. They are a generation scorned by the Great Recession, holed up in city rentals, and unable to afford new homes or furniture. But they also can’t help but be influenced by social media and the excessive displays of wealth that come with it. They long to feel what it’s like to afford the lifestyle of a successful adult.
  • – The House That ‘Design Home’ (and Millennial Anxiety) Built, Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

Simulation Lifestyle Games Competitive Trends

  • Day and Night: Show transitions from day to night, provoking an emotional response. (Sim City)
  • Text Transitions: Transition frames with colorful text in different shapes. (Home Design Makeover, HomeCraft)
  • Emphasize Copy Matching and Emotion: “Bring Vision to Life,” “Create your vision,” “The Power is yours.” (Sim City)
  • Client Based: Design for a specific client. (Property Brothers, Home Design Makeover)
  • Creative Expression/Design: Use pickers to create and furnish rooms and houses, while adding encouraging messages. (My Home: Design Dreams, Home Design Makeover)
  • Unique End Cards: End ad with mobile device and gameplay, search engine style, flipping logo. (Home Design Makeover)

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games
Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games 


Concept: Present a Challenge to Solve

Explore stories with an issue to solve, targeting creative decision-makers:

  • Present problem in the opening: “Help grandma sell her house”
  • The decor is customized based on client needs, using pickers and furniture options

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games

Concept: Give Users the Power

Utilize empowering language to engage users who want to feel more in control of their design process:

  • Mix game footage with compelling copy that speaks directly to users’ ability to creative with their decision making

Simulation Lifestyle Games

Concept: Show the Possibilities

  • Engage users and help them express their personal style by showing an array of different styles and options
  • Give users a creative outlet by transporting them to idyllic yet achievable homes

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games

Concept: Incite Relaxation

Invite users to relax and unwind with concepts that compel them to disconnect:

  • Calming colors, imagery Copy that incites relaxation and “me time”

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games

Concept: Before and After

Create videos that show before and after transformations:

  • Use various headers, split-screen, and “Cinderella Transformations” which flip screens and highlight drastic changes

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games

Concept: New Intros and Outros

  • Create new intro and outros utilizing available assets:
  • Test Intros with the full logo (Design Home Makeover, Property Brothers, HomeCraft)
  • Add search-engine feature to end card (House Flip)
  • Open the first frame with a challenge or question (“Can you help me?”) (My Home Design Dreams)

Simulation Lifestyle Games Simulation Lifestyle Games

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Simulation / Role Playing 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 Simulation role Playing Games with competitive trends & creative recommendations, so you can learn from their creative best practices.

Simulation Role Playing Games Competitive Analysis

  • Top Competitors: Avakin Life, Chapters: Interactive Stories, Choices: Design Home, Cooking Diary, Covet Fashion, Design My Room, Episode: Super Stylist, Episode: Choose your Story, Fill in 3D, Hollywood Story, House Flip, I Peel Good, Icing on the Cake, IMVU Avatar, Ink Inc., Journeys: Interactive Series, Lily’s Garden: Design & Relax, Linda Brown, Linda Brown: Interactive Story, Love Sick, Moments: Choose Your Story, My Cafe, My Home: Design Dreams, My Story, My Story: Choose your own Path, Paint by Numbers, Party in My Dorm, Pottery, Secrets: Game of Choices, Storyscape, Super Stylist, Township, What’s your Story?
  • To view competitive videos, click here

simulation role playing games

Simulation Role Playing Games Competitive Trends

  • Event/Date Prep with Character Reaction: Picker utilized for hair/makeup/clothing, with character reaction (Hollywood Story, My Story, Lovesick)
  • Choices-Style situations: Empowered female characters given option to choose their next move (Episode, Choices, Avakin Life, IMVU Avatar)
  • Men Behaving Badly: Women triumphing over adversity and badly behaving men (Choices, Episode, Love Sick, My Cafe, many others)
  • Female characters in peril: Females suffering and crying but overcoming the obstacles and ultimately having the last laugh
  • Mean Girls: Cruel characters making fun of unpopular/weak girls, but ultimately losing against them
  • Relaxing, Mindless Expressions of Creativity: Decorating, painting, and cooking apps that display simple gameplay, sometimes comedically (I Peel Good, Icing on the Cake, Fill in 3D, Pottery)
  • Creative Expression/Design: Using pickers to create and furnish rooms, houses, etc. (Design Home, My Home: Design Dreams)
  • Time Progressions: Narrative style ads where present conflict is explained by going back in time or forward to the future.
  • Outfit Selections Montage: Showing many outfits or makeup choices. Dressing up girls for an event/date/contest
  • Choosing between two interests: Main character torn between conflicting interests (Best friend and lover, two lovers, money or love)
  • Awful Dates: Female characters enduring awful dates/relationships but finding a better partner in the end or having to decide what outcome to choose
  • Competitive Nature: Friends competing for better dates/outfits/more likes on Instagram/popularity.

simulation role playing games

Concept: Timed Character Reactions

  • Add personality to timed picker challenges by allowing models to react, either with expressions or with talk bubbles. (Hollywood Story, Love Sick, IMVU Avatar)
  • Make the timed challenges more story-focused to engage players (e.g. boyfriend is almost there) (Hollywood Story, Love Sick)

simulation role playing games simulation role playing games