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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