What are the latest Facebook and Google creative trends for Card Games?
Learn How to Optimize Your Ad Campaigns
What are the latest Facebook and Google creative trends for card games? Facebook ads and Google ads provide powerful ways to reach and target your current and potential customers. And, as the algorithms for these ad targeting platforms have become more sophisticated, marketers should learn more on the platforms to do the heavy lifting for targeting, bidding, and optimizing their ad campaigns. So what’s left? Creative.
Creative is king in a world rapidly moving towards automated media buying. Optimizing creative is the most effective way to drive ROAS for Facebook and Google. To be effective, generating fresh creative ideas has to be strategic, efficient, and ongoing. Knowing the latest creative trends is a great first step in this process.
Creative trends change fast and they also vary dramatically across genres. While it is good to know broad creative trends, you’ll also want to hone in on your particular niche, such as with Card Games, if this is relevant for you. Here’s an overview of the latest Card Games Creative Trends:
App Explainers: Videos explaining how the game or app works with users/players, screenshots/gameplay, and rewards. (Caesars Casino, Gin Rummy Plus, Inbox Dollars)
Real Winners/Testimonials: Videos featuring real winners and amounts they’ve won. (Lucktastic, Lucky Day)
Newsreel: Videos showing newsworthiness of the app based on real or fake news coverage. (House of Fun Slots, Jackpocket)
Casino Lifestyle: Videos with colorful slot machine graphics and/or big band music. (Caesars Casino, Gin Rummy Plus, WSOP, Slotomania, Spades Plus, Spin to Win Slots)
Community: Videos featuring gameplay between players, or texts between players regarding the app itself. (IBotta, WorldWinner)
Winners/Testimonials: Videos featuring winning moments and real winner testimonial. (Skillz)
Creative Trends (Cont.)
Game Overviews/Gameplay: Overview of how to play, game elements, and gameplay, sometimes with a picker manipulating cards. (Grand Gin Rummy, Spades Plus, many others)
Player Focused: Player versus player with player avatars or live video inset, often focused on range or types of players. (Poker Face, Blackjackist, many others)
Covid-Related: Videos with messaging built around boredom, being stuck at home, or not connecting with friends. (Gin Rummy: The Best Card Game)
Relax/Train Your Brain: Messaging centered on the way the game sharpens your mental skills and/or relaxes you. (WSOP, MobilityWare Solitaire)
Player Testimonial: Positive reviews or testimonials regarding the game. (21 Blitz)
The heat of the Moment: Hyper-focused moments in the game when a big decision will make or break you. (WSOP)
Humorous Voice-over: Mock announcer(s) or player voice-over, used over gameplay. (WSOP, Flip & Dive 3D, Flip Dunk)
Real Game Footage: Live footage intercut with gameplay. (Flip Dunk, WSOP, Zynga)
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. Perhaps surprisingly, 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). That said, 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 for playing social casino games are likely similar to motivations for engaging in gambling (Wohl, Salmon, Hollingshead, & Kim, in press). That is, people may play for fun and entertainment, to pass the time, to relax, relieve boredom or to distract themselves from negative emotions. Additionally, a portion of gamers may be attracted to the social feature of social casino games, such as seeing their scores on leaderboards and sharing their achievements on Facebook. Yet, 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 if 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 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: App Explainer
Explainer videos showcasing how the game works and how players win money:
Legitimizes app while demonstrating how you win
Demystifies the game, lowering barriers to play
Use a spokesperson/actor to appear in a variety of videos:
Interviews with real winners
This has been used by established sweepstakes firms, e.g. Publisher’s Clearing House – to their advantage
Concept: News Coverage/PR
Create videos that leverage any news coverage of the app:
Portrays the app as a legitimate way to win money and by playing card games
Removes barriers new players might have to download and play, e.g. fear it’s a scam
Provides social proof that card games are bonafide
Competitive Landscape/Share of Voice:
House of Fun Slots, Jackpocket
House of Fun Slots: 7% SOV
Jackpocket: 21% SOV
Concept: Card Game Influencers
Create videos featuring influencers such as Mikey Slice and PickTooth:
Attracts players while legitimizing the game
Demonstrates you can win money by playing
Aligned with eSports trend and builds on the success of poker TV broadcasts and programming
Seen more in games featured on live game streaming sites like Steam and Twitch
Concept: E-Sports Cards
Portray real winners as athletes:
Static images of winners in athletic/heroic poses
Graphics like baseball cards with stats and nicknames
Leverages skill of card game players, downplaying luck
Funny but tongue-in-cheek
Aligned with eSports trend and builds on the success of poker TV broadcasts and programming
Twist on the “Real Winner” creative featured in games like Solitaire Cube, Lucktastic and Lucky Day
Juxtapose real money card games and social card games:
Why play regular solitaire when you could win money just for playing?
Short videos compare and contrast screenshots of “boring” card games with winners and excitement of real money card games
Other videos could juxtapose dull-looking stock imagery of people with “Plays Solitaire” winners/stars
Real (or not) winner testimonials perform well across all sub-genres. Testimonial videos tend to run long, so consider featuring them on your website and on YouTube:
Create still imagery ads featuring female winners
Consider opening shots of cash with motion instead of static imagery
Create videos combining winners and gameplay
TikTok style videos of female players playing/winning
Create short videos that better utilize the emotion of the winner testimonials
Create winner reels that leverage multiple winner testimonials into one video
Creative Testing to Optimize Advertising
It’s not enough to just stay on top of Facebook creative and Google creative trends, it’s also important to remember to continue testing, testing, testing.
Quantitative Creative Testing is an A/B split-testing methodology we’ve developed for ad creative. It’s designed to be super-efficient with both time and ad spend, to find the sort of breakout ads that can replace a campaign’s previous control. To do Quantitative Creative Testing effectively, we take batches of new Concepts and run them against each other in an ad set. Each new Concept gets about 50,000 impressions before we decide if it’s a winner or a loser. If it’s a winner, it gets moved up into another ad set where it will run against other winning mobile ad creative, including the current control. If the new ad can outperform all the other ads in that ad set, then it gets moved into another, primary ad set and gets the bulk of the campaign’s spend.
You can also check out our video and whitepaper on creative testing best practices:
As mentioned, while knowing general creative trends is helpful, dig deeper into the card games creative trends most relevant for your product. Further, you’ll also want to overlay all this creative development and testing with actual performance data. This is because you’ll want to chase trends that boost ROAS, not just chase every trend that comes along. Keep testing and testing. If you have any questions on how to streamline your creative testing process, reach out to us to discuss.