Facebook ads and Google ads provide powerful ways to reach and target your current and potential customers. 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 creativity 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. It is good to know about broad creative trends. But, you’ll also want to hone in on your particular niche. Such as Social Casino Games’ creative trends, if this is relevant for you. Here’s an overview of the latest social casino creative trends:

 

Social Casino Creative Trends

 

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
  • Top Solitaire Competitors: Coin Kings, Coin Runner, VeryDice, Lucktastic Match, Crazy Coin Pusher, Coin Master, 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 Creative Trends Competitive Analysis

Social Casino Creative 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)
  • Fake Text: Two characters or “real players” interacting via text, discussing games, 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

More Social Casino Creative Trends

  • Celebrities: Games that monetize well rely on celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and The Kardashians to be part of their advertising efforts
  • Real footage background + UI: Using the original game UI while exploring soothing, nature-based backgrounds as the perfect game backdrop
  • 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 the gameplay
  • Color by numbers/Draw: Replicating old coloring books, a simple drawing is colored one color at a time until 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
  • Current events: COVID-19 and Tiger King themes dominating the space currently

Social Casino Creative Trends

Social Casino 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. 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: 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 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 a 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 Creative Trends Faux Hidden Items and Puzzle Gameplay Social Casino Creative Trends Faux Hidden Items and Puzzle Gameplay

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 Creative Trends Mortised Gameplay Social Casino Creative Trends Mortised Gameplay

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 concept comedic voiceoversocial casino concept comedic voiceoversocial casino concept comedic voiceoversocial casino concept comedic voiceover

Concept: Picker Jackpot

Leverage success from Match 3 games and 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

social casino concept picker jackpot

social casino concept picker jackpotsocial casino concept picker jackpot

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 psychology of near misses

Player Motivations: 

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

social casino near misses

social casino near missessocial casino near missessocial casino near misses

Concept: Seasonal

Create new versions of the game incorporating seasonal graphics:

  • Christmas, Halloween, Chinese New Year
  • Attract players with refreshed creative 

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Quick Hit Slots: 5% SOV
  • Heart of Vegas: 7% SOV
  • Slotomania: 9% SOV
  • Huuuge Casino: 6% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Target players looking for fun & entertainment during seasonal holidays

social casino seasonal social casino seasonal

Concept: News Report

Videos that showcase slots in a “fake news” report:

  • Stands out in a sea of gameplay ads 
  • Good for launching new episodes/chapters

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Jackpocket: 16% SOV
  • Casino Slots: 7% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Engage players looking fun & entertainment

social casino news report social casino concept news report

Concept: Real Player/Gameplay

Create iterations of current gameplay/real winner ads by adding commentary/voice-over:

  •     Comedic
  •     Adds another element of entertainment 

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 Creative Trends Real Player/Gameplay Social Casino Creative Trends Real Player/Gameplay

Concept: Connect the Dots

  • Fun way to introduce game to new users
    • Starting with an undefined shape
    • Hand slowly begins to connect the dots
    • Figure is revealed – it’s a bear!
    • Character comes to life and transitions to gameplay
    • CTA
  • Options
    • Challenging header
    • Relaxing header

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 32%

social casino concept connect the dots

Concept: Color by Number

  • Fun way to introduce game to new users
    • Starting with a colorless drawing of known character
    • Hand selects colors to paint the image
    • Figure is colored
    • Character comes to life and transitions to gameplay
    • CTA
  • Options
    • Challenging header
    • Relaxing header

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 24%

social casino concept color by number

Concept: Matching Cards

  •   New way to introduce game to new users
    • Starting with an inciting question
    • Hand tries to find right pairs
    • Right pair is found
    • It’s a match + gameplay
    • CTA
  • Options
    • Challenging header
    • Relaxing header

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 26%

social casino trends matching cards

Concept: Save the Character

  • New way to introduce game to new users
    • Starting with a recognizable game character
    • Character needs to be rescued
    • User is given several options to do so
    • After several attempts character is free
    • CTA
  • Options
    • Fail ending
    • Mysterious ending

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 43%

social casino creative trends Save the Character

Concept: Find the Object

  • Introduce the game to new users in a whimsical way
    • Find the purple bear
    • Select the watch
    • Locate the giant coin
    • Find 5 things
    • Format options
    • Static carousel
    • Video with timer

Competitor/Share of voice 

  • 63%

social casino find the cat 

Concept: Relaxing Themes

  • Alluring new users that are looking to escape
    • Including a relaxing header
    • Use soothing backgrounds but keep game UI
      • Moving Nature-scapes
      • Moving shapes
      • Static images
      • Insertion of users relaxing at home while playing
  • Soothing music and effects
  • Calming CTA
    • “Sit back and relax”

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 40%

social casino relaxing themes social casino relaxing themes

Concept: Mystery Winner

  • Carousel emphasizing Amazon Sweepstakes
    • Each card shows a single winner
    • Copy simply reads
      • He/she won!
  • Last card shows a silhouette with a question mark
  • Copy reads
    • Will you be next?
      • Amazon Gift Card next to it

 Competitor/Share of voice

  • 26%

social casino creative trends mystery winner social casino creative trends mystery winner

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 another 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:

 

Casino Creative Trends – Final Thoughts

As mentioned, while knowing general social casino creative trends is helpful, dig deeper into the 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 social casino creative trends that boost ROAS. Not just chase every trend that comes along. Keeping testing and testing. If you have any questions on how to streamline your creative testing process, reach out to us to discuss.

 

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