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 is 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 must 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 will also want to home in on your niche, such as with Sports Apps, if this is relevant for you. Here is an overview of the latest Sports Apps  Creative Trends:

 

Competitive Analysis

Competitors: MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2020, 8 Ball Pool™, Real Boxing 2, My NBA 2K20, Tennis Clash: Online League, NBA 2K Mobile Basketball, Asphalt 9: Legends, Basketball Stars™, Homer City, MADDEN NFL MOBILE FOOTBALL, Golf Battle, WWE SuperCard, Oh My Goal! – Soccer, Baseball Boy! MLB 9 Innings 20, NBA LIVE Mobile Basketball, Dream League Soccer 2020, MLB Champions, FIFA soccer, EA SPORTS™ UFC®, PBA® Bowling Challenge, Football Strike, Score! Hero, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, NBA 2K20, R.B.I. Baseball 20, NBA JAM by EA SPORTS™, Football Manager 2020 Mobile

View competitive videos by hitting the competitor tab here.

sports apps creative trends

Sports Apps Creative Trends

  • Gameplay/Game Overview: Shots of gameplay that showcase graphics and players. (Home Run Clash, NBA 2K, Boxing Star, many more)
  • Distance Challenges: Simple gameplay that challenges viewers to hit an object as far as they can. (Baseball Boy, Slap Master)
  • Competition: Videos dramatizing head to head competition between players. (Darts of Fury, Home Run Clash)
  • Noob vs. Pro: Videos displaying bad versus good gameplay. (Darts of Fury, Mini Golf King)
  • Real Player Footage: Real footage replacing game characters and gameplay. (Tennis Clash, Sniper Arena, Draft Kings)
  • Cinematic Techniques: Slo-mo, camera pans, and other cinematic techniques utilizing game characters. (Johnny Trigger, Mr. Bullet, Sniper Arena, Tennis Clash)
  • Augmented Gameplay: Illustrations, emojis, talk bubbles, and voice-over added to gameplay or characters (Mr. Bullet, Draft Kings, Flip & Dive 3D)
  • Game Controller Overlay: Game controller overlay on gameplay to give it a game console effect.  (Tennis Clash, City Fighter Vs. Street Gang)

sports apps creative trends

Concept: Statcast

Create videos that incorporate statistics into the gameplay

  • Overlay graphics to show the distance of tape measure shots and challenge viewers to play and hit home runs
  • Overlay graphics on pitching stats and ground covered by outfielders, challenging viewers to beat their opponent

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Baseball Boy: 90% SOV
  • Slap Masters: 100% SOV

sports apps creative trends sports apps creative trends

sports apps creative trends sports apps creative trends

Concept: Character Countdown

Create a countdown of featured players in the game

  • Showcases animation style, range of players, and stats
  • Use baseball card like graphics
  • Generates engagement (curiosity over the list of characters)

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 28% SOV

Concept: Trash Talk Voice Over

Juxtapose gameplay with player trash talk

  • Showcases gameplay and graphics
  • Mimics player dialogue and chat portion of the game
  • Uses subtitles

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Icing on the Cake: 54% SOV
  • Flip & Dive 3D: 90% SOV

Trash Talk Voice Over Trash Talk Voice Over

Concept: Emoji Gameplay

Feature gameplay with emoji overlays and talk bubbles to communicate player emotions

  • Humorous
  • Humanizes players
  • Showcases game graphics

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Bullet: 3% SOV
  • Flip & Dive 3D: 90% SOV
  • DraftKings: 12% SOV

Emoji Gameplay Emoji Gameplay

Concept: Real Game Footage

Intercut gameplay with real footage, so that it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s the game

  • Showcases game graphics
  • Promotes simulation aspect of the game: “Closest thing to being on the field”

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Tennis Clash: 50% SOV
  • Sniper Arena: 3% SOV

Real Game Footage Real Game Footage

Concept: Announcer Calls

Re-create the feel of a famous announcer calling a legendary game with gameplay and voice over

  • Creates emotional “what if” scenarios (see MLB The Show 2012 “Cubs Win” ad here)
  • Engages the viewer’s curiosity
  • Highlights the passion of sports fans

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • N/A

sports apps creative trends for Announcer Calls sports apps creative trends for Announcer Calls

Concept: Cinematic Stories

Create videos using cinematic techniques and voiceover to up the emotional ante of the game

  • Showcases game graphics
  • Utilizes nostalgic sports documentary feel
  • Appealing to sports fans

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • Tennis Clash: 2% SOV
  • Johnny Trigger: 97% SOV
  • Bullet: 3% SOV

sports apps creative trends for Stories sports apps creative trends for Stories

Concept: Noob vs. Pro

Create side-by-side videos of good and bad gameplay, with “Noob vs. Pro” header

  • Shows the difficulty of the game
  • Triggers player competitive urge
  • Incorporates head-to-head aspect
  • Highlights both “wins” and “fails” – both powerful hooks for players

Competitor/Share of Voice 

  • Darts of Fury: 13% SOV
  • Mini Golf King: 12% SOV

sports apps creative trends for Noob versus Pro

Concept: Sports Chants

Create a sing-along music video of gameplay with a famous sports chant

  • g. bouncing ball version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
  • Most chants are in the public domain
  • Showcases graphics and gameplay
  • Will appeal to sports fans (specific team chants could accompany more targeted campaigns)

Competitor/Share of Voice

  • N/A

sports apps creative trends for Chants sports apps creative trends for Chants

Creative Testing to Optimize Advertising

It is not enough to just stay on top of Facebook creative and Google creative trends, it is also important to remember to continue testing, testing, testing.

Quantitative Creative Testing is an A/B split-testing methodology we have developed for ad creative. It is 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 is a winner or a loser. If it is 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:

 

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, while knowing general creative trends is helpful, dig deeper on the trends most relevant for your product. Further, you will also want to overlay all this creative development and testing with actual performance data. This is because you will want to chase trends that boost ROAS, not just chase every trend that comes along. Keeping testing, and testing, and if you have any questions on how to streamline your creative testing process, reach out to us to discuss.

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