Section One

 

 

Why Creative Is So Important

 

Creative is an advertiser’s best opportunity for a competitive advantage in social advertising, and it has been since 2019.

Here’s why:
  1. Expensive, third-party automated adtech platforms aren’t as much of a competitive advantage as they used to be. Facebook and Google’s platforms have integrated the best features of those tools and offered them as standard features to campaign dashboards. All that fancy adtech is now available in your ad accounts, for free. However, if you are spending over $250,000 per month or running multiple titles, an inexpensive ad management platform like AdRules can greatly simplify your workflow and increase productivity.
  2. If you’re spending less than $250,000 per month, you may not need expensive, high-end ad jockeys. Automation features have taken a lot of the controls away from UA managers and ad accounts with smaller ad spends have become easier to manage. However, if you are spending over $250,000 per month or across several networks, you may find it helpful to look for inefficiencies in automated solutions. There are still many levers where a Rockstar UA manager will outperform an algorithm.

Those two factors alone leave creative as the most critical competitive advantage. Because you can now run powerful campaigns without adtech, and lower-spending advertisers can actually get good results, two key competitive advantages are gone. Creative is now critical.

The data backs this up. After managing over $3 billion in ad spend, we’ve seen creative prove itself over and over as the single-best driver of ROAS.

Across our portfolio of accounts, we’ve found that 75% of the ROAS gains we’ve generated for clients can be directly attributed to creative optimization. Compare that to 15% of the ROAS gained from audience expansion, and 10% of the ROAS gained from media buying tactics and optimization.

Audience expansion and media buying tactics are still fantastic tools for the Rockstar UA manager, but creative wins hands down. Creative is king.

But not all creative is created equal.

Just pumping out more and more creative variations from winning ads won’t give you the advantage you need. You need high-performance new concepts and control-beating fresh ideas. Those can be hard to find. Only 1-3 ad concepts out of 20 ever beat the control.

To know which creative assets and elements deliver big results, you need an efficient, accurate testing system. Without efficiency, it’s easy to blow your budget on testing variations that end up generating a disproportionate percent of non-converting spend.

This can be more a challenge than it might seem. Beating the control is surprisingly hard… but more about that later.

If that looks different than how you’re managing UA campaigns right now, it’s time to bring your advertising – and your entire UA program – into 2020.

 

Creative Tunnel Vision and How to Overcome It

 

Even with a world-class testing methodology and creative optimization process, your creative team needs fresh ideas. They have to be aware of all the trends in ad creative that your competitors know about and are already taking advantage of.

To increase the success rate of creative testing while eliminating creative tunnel vision, we are sharing our proprietary creative strategies for gaming genres. We’ve reviewed thousands of Facebook and Google ads to create a “visual taxonomy” of creative trends. We use those trends to generate a list of fresh creative concepts informed by competitive ads, player motivations, and advertiser performance.

As Picasso said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal!” Once you identify your competitors’ best ads, you have an endless supply of “tested” concepts. However, we have found that analyzing competitive creative, as challenging as it is, is not a UA or Design function. It appears to be a cross-disciplinary exercise.

At this particular snapshot in time, in 2020, we’re seeing trends like these that drive ad performance:

  • Connect the Dots
  • Puzzles
  • Noob vs Pro
  • Hidden Object
  • Influencers

Again: These trends come and go faster than fashion, and you need to be in touch with the heartbeat of online advertising across thousands of advertisers to even recognize the trends in the massive number of ads launched every day. Then, once you’ve recognized them, you need to adapt these creative trends so you can use them in your own ads. Get it all right, then test it with a super-efficient creative testing system, and you win the prize: New ad creative that beats the control.

It’s all a little bit like baseball… you’re only as good as your last hit.

Trying to keep up with trends that evolve so rapidly is hard. Trying to do it while you maintain ROAS is even harder. And expecting the same team of people to do it over and over again, week after week… is damn near impossible. Eventually, almost covertly, creative teams learn what works and what fails and then “play it safe” with their creative. They’ll default back to their greatest (and safest) hits of the past and become just a little bit too cautious about testing any out of the box ideas that might not work. We call this “creative tunnel vision”.

Unfortunately, while many out of the box ideas don’t work, some will. And one or two of those ads – those unlikely, out of the blue winners – could have delivered you a 10-40% leap in ROAS.

But if your team never develops those out of the box ideas, they’ll never test them. You’ll never know how much revenue you’ve missed.

This is why an outside team can be so helpful. And why competitive analysis should be a core skill of somebody in every creative team.

Competitive analysis has two key benefits:

  • It lets you peer into an almost endless library of tested concepts (tested with your competitors’ ad budgets, not yours).
  • It increases your success rate for your new concepts, so your entire testing program involves a lot less risk.

Think of all this shared knowledge as the “wisdom of creative crowds.” Fortunately, we have ample resources to make competitive analysis efficient. Creative research tools like AdRules are great, as are SocialPeta and AppAnnie and many others. There’s even Facebook’s ad library, which is completely free, though it only lets you see which ads your competitors are running, not how those ads have actually performed.

If that’s not enough, you can also check out our resource of over 500,000 competitive video ads from Facebook and Google AC advertisers. Just remember to check competitive benchmarks data so you can recognize what’s breakout performance and what’s just average for that genre.

 

Creative Trends & Recommendations

 

Although creative trends change fast, they also vary dramatically across genres. And so while it is good to know broad creative trends, you’ll also want to hone in on your particular niche. Of course, you’ll also want to overlay all this with actual performance data. We want to chase trends that boost ROAS, not just chase every trend that comes along.

To get you started with this, we’ve developed seven genre-specific creative trend reports. Here are the highlights from several genres below or jump directly to your genre here:

 

 

 

Competitive Analysis

Wordscapes, WordWhizzle Search, Word Cross Puzzle, Word Cookies!, Word Collect, Word Hunt, Word Tiles, Scrabble, Words with Friends, Word Connect, WordTrip, Word Mania

To view competitive videos, click here.

Word Games Competitive Analysis

Creative Trends
  • Paper Puzzle: Mimicking gameplay with a paper version.
  • Scientific claims: “30 minutes a day sharpen your brain” “Neuroscientists recommend playing this game to stay young.”
  • Challenges: “What’s Americans’ favorite food?” “Can you find this item?”
  • Reasons to play the game: Meet friends, upgrades, learn new words, game tutorials.
  • Whimsical: “The first word you see is your destiny!”
  • Relaxing themes: “What are you doing to decompress?” Soothing landscapes and music.

Word Games Creative Trends

Concept: Clever challenges
  • Introduce a question that must be answered by gameplay
  • Examples
    • What word is fake?
    • What’s the synonym of a word
  • Timed challenges that force users to act fast
    • Find five three-letter words!

Word Games Clever ChallengesWord Games Clever Challenges

Concept: Mix reviews with gameplay
  • Showcase the benefits of playing the game by adding reviews
  • Emphasize by adding the name of user and country
  • Still make gameplay the center of the ad

Word Games Mixed reviews with gameplay Word Games Mixed reviews with gameplay

Concept: Paper puzzle
  • Show “paper version” of the game by adding a challenge
  • Examples:
    • Americans love ____
    • Find 15 words
    • Picnic items
    • School supplies
    • Recipe ingredients

Word Games Paper Puzzle Word Games Paper Puzzle

Concept: Mix footage with gameplay
  • Mix UGC with gameplay to add realism to the game
  • Mix footage with game elements to showcase various game elements

Word Games Mix footage with gameplay Word Games Mix footage with gameplay

Concept: Claim intro
  • Introduce gameplay with a short 2-3 sec intro card based on:
    • Mental benefits
    • Aspirational (Success, intelligence)

Word Games Claim Intro Word Games Claim Intro

Concept: Goal intro
  • Introduce gameplay with a short 2-3 sec intro card based on:
    • Improvement (Improve your vocabulary)
    • Learning (Learn new words!)

Word Games With Goal Intro Word Games With Goal Intro

Concept: Relaxation intro
  • Introduce gameplay with a short 2-3 sec intro card based on:
    • Relaxation and “me time”
    • Soothing copy that incites “time for yourself”
    • “Get lost and find words”
    • Relaxing imagery

Word Games with Relaxation Intro Word Games with Relaxation Intro

 

 

Competitive Analysis
Competitors
  • Card Games: Solitaire Deluxe 2, Solitaire Tri Peaks, Spades Plus, MobilityWare Solitaire, WSOP, Solitaire Cube, Rummy Royale, Gin Rummy Plus, Gin Rummy Best Card Game, Gin Rummy Master, Spades, Spades Card Classic, Solitaire Deluxe 2, Solitaire Tri Peaks, Spades Plus, Fairway Solitaire, WSOP, Hearts World Tour, Klondike Farm Adventure, 21 Blitz, Bingo Town, Bingo Blast, Hearts Card Game Classic, Solitaire Time Warp, Grand Gin Rummy, Solitaire Epic Adventures, Bingo Pop, House of Blackjack 21, Bingo Bash, Wild Classic Slots, Poker Face Live Texas Hold Em, Zynga Poker, Blackjackist, Backgammon Live, Dominoes Gold, Flip & Dive 3D, Flip Dunk, NBA 2K Mobile, Chess Royale, Fairway Solitaire, Solitaire Grand Harvest, Pyramid Solitaire Saga, Farmship Solitaire 3D, Solitaire Garden TriPeak Story, Solitaire Treasure Island, Destination Solitaire, Solitaire Paradise, Solitaire Pets.
  • Casino/Lottery: Lucktastic, 21 Blitz, Lucky Day, Caesars Casino Official Slots, House of Fun Slots, Lucky Lottery Scratchers, Slotomania Vegas Casino Slots, Cube Cube, Worldwinner,  Jackpocket, SpinToWin Slots, Dice with Ellen
  • Shopping/Cash Back: Inbox Dollars, IBotta, Receipt Hog, Shopkick, Surveys on the Go, Swagbucks

View competitive videos here.

Card Games Competitive Analysis

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)
  • 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 the range of 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)

Card Games Competitive Analysis

Creative Trends (cont.):
  • Player Testimonial: Positive reviews or testimonials regarding the game. (21 Blitz)
  • 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)
  • Character introducing game: Main mascot introducing herself and game via speech bubbles – similar to in-game intro. Tutorial explaining the game often found.
  • Faux Playable: Reproducing a playable by creating 2-3 chances to get gameplay right, ending on a big win (Casino big win style). Using prompts and CTA’s used in this format.
  • Scenes within scene: Introducing a second scene by flipping card and becoming a new scene within main scene.
  • Elements of variety: Animated intro, evermoving background, perpendicular transitions.
  • Unexpected Cards: Cards exploding from volcano, cards dancing onto scene, cards floating into space.
  • Other games elements: Casino coin explosions, slot-machine simulation
  • Gameplay Wallpaper: Wallpaper made out of phone screens, which animate one by one, showing different gameplays or styles within the game.

Card Games Creative Trends Card Games Creative Trends Card Games Creative Trends Card Games Creative Trends

card game trend card game trend card game trends card game trend

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: 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
  • Demonstrates how the game works

Competitive Landscape/Share of Voice

  • Caesars Casino, Gin Rummy Plus, Solitaire Deluxe 2, Dice with Ellen, Inbox Dollars, Shopkick, many more
  • Dosh: 76.8% Share of Voice
  • Gin Rummy Plus: 70% Share of Voice

Card Games App Explainer Card Games App Explainer

Concept: Spokesperson

Use a spokesperson/actor to appear in a variety of videos

  • App demonstration/overview
  • Interviews with real winners
  • Aspirational/optimistic stories

Competitive Landscape

This has been used by established sweepstakes firms, e.g. Publisher’s Clearing House – to their advantage

Card Games Spokesperson

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

Card Games News Coverage/PR Card Games News Coverage/PR

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

Competitive Landscape

  • Seen more in games featured on live game streaming sites like Steam and Twitch

Card Games Influencers Card Games Influencers

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
  • Aspirational
  • Funny but tongue-in-cheek
  • Aligned with eSports trend and builds on the success of poker TV broadcasts and programming

Competitive Landscape

  • Twist on the “Real Winner” creative featured in games like Solitaire Cube, Lucktastic and Lucky Day

Card Games E-Sports Cards Card Games E-Sports Cards

Concept: Competitive

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

Card Games Competitive Card Games Competitive Card Games Competitive

Concept: Winners/Testimonials

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

Card Games Winners/Testimonials Card Games Winners/Testimonials Card Games Winners/Testimonials

Concept: Game Explainer 

Create videos that explain how to play Rummy Stars and Spades Royale:

  • Showcases superior game graphics
  • Demystifies the game, lowering barriers to play
  • Demonstrates how the game works
  • Engages potential players
  • 1 concept currently in production

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Gin Rummy The Best Card Game: 92% SOV
  • Grand Gin Rummy: 89% SOV
  • Spades Plus: 100% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in Social & Mastery motivation models

Card Games Game Explainer Card Games Game Explainer

Concept: Player Types

Showcase the different types of players in Rummy & Spades

  • Can use “real” players (stock footage)
  • Types such as “The Risk Taker,” “The Slow & Steady,” “The Trash Talker”
  • Combine with gameplay scenarios

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Zynga Poker: 59% SOV
  • Poker Face: 100% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in Social motivation model

Card Games Player Types Card Games Player Types Card Games Player Types

Concept: Character Countdown

Feature avatars while giving them a backstory and/or special talents:

  • Can adapt to “types of players” as well
  • Showcases animation style
  • Can use humorous voice over
  • Player backgrounds further game narrative

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 28% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in Achievement motivation model (power & completion) and narrative

Card Games Character Countdown Card Games Character Countdown Card Games Character Countdown

Concept: Game Benefits 

Create videos that leverage the benefits of playing Gin Rummy & Spades:

  • Scientific evidence that card-playing relieves stress, boosts the immune system, improves motor skills, and increases memory function and socialization
  • Targets an older demographic (50+)

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • WSOP: 24% SOV
  • MobilityWare Solitaire 31% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in relaxation and enjoyable self-improvement/self-preservation (a game with benefits)

card games concept game benefits Card Games Concept Game Benefits Card Games Concept Game Benefits

Concept: Player Testimonial 

Create videos featuring influencers or real players who enjoy Gin Rummy Stars & Spades Royale:

  • Attracts players while legitimizing the game
  • Demystifies the game, lowering barriers to play
  • Could be a combination of gameplay and remote/zoom interview or supers

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Dominoes Gold: 87% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in Social motivation model

Card Games Concept Player Testimonial Card Games Concept Player Testimonial

Concept: Heat of the Moment 

Dramatize the make or break moments in a game:

  • Engage players by presenting them with options to win
  • Demonstrates strategy and tension of gameplay
  • Provides lesson in how the game works

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • WSOP: 16% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in Social & Mastery motivation models

Card Games Concept Heat of the Moment Card Games Concept Heat of the Moment

Concept: Play by Play 

If you’ve ever watched WSOP, you’ve heard the announcers doing play by play (and a lot of random conversation). Let’s bring that “announcer” feel to Rummy Stars & Spades Royale:

  • Adds humor to the games
  • Makes games feel “larger than life”
  • Gives the games a more sport-like feel, rather than the older demographic it can sometimes be associated with

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • WSOP: 6% SOV
  • Flip & Dive 3D: 89% SOV
  • Flip Dunk: 90% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested primarily in fun & entertainment

Card Games Concept Play by Play Card Games Concept Play by Play

Concept: Avatar Lives

What do these avatars do when they’re not playing cards? Let’s put them in funny 2D situations (in a car, in a restaurant) where we can utilize their shape and engage them in mundane conversations

  • Breakthrough for this category where there is almost exclusively gameplay
  • Showcases visual style of the game
  • Can combine with gameplay

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players who will be attracted to visual style and narrative

Card Games Concept Avatar Lives

Concept: Near Misses

Create videos of gameplay in which near wins happen repeatedly and lead to FAILS:

  • Waiting for Gin card when other player puts down the card you need
  • Going down and getting undercut by a point
  • Can feature voice-over or supers underscoring frustration

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Multiple games using this technique but it has not been used in social casino games; the missed opportunity has given the psychology of near misses

Player Motivations:

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

Card Games Concept Near Misses

Concept: Slams/Music Video

Use R&B or other genres to create game art-based music videos:

  • Syncopate music to cards getting slammed down in gameplay

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • AFK Arena: 78% SOV
  • King’s Raid: 25% SOV
  • Tap Sports Baseball: 16% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players who will be attracted to music and visual style

Concepts Slams Music Videos Concept Slams Music Videos

 

Concept: Character Introducing Game

Introduce character and the “playable” by adding speech bubbles. 

 

  • Hi! I’m “character”!
  • This is my Island
  • These are your cards (Faux Playable)
  • Let’s play some cards!
  • Tap any card one higher or one lower.
  • Good! Do it again!
  • You got it! Now you’re ready to play the game!

*Player motivation: Challenge, Escaping

character introducing game character introducing game

 

Concept: Scene Inside Scene

Narrating a story by making the cards the center of the story:

  • Cards appear on screen 
  • One of them is highlighted
  • Card flips over and a scene is seen inside it.
  • Each new scene is connected to the previous scene.
  • Character is always seen in the corner.

*Player Motivation: Escaping

scene inside scene scene inside scene

 

Concept: Environment Focused

Showcasing TriPeaks changing environments by showing gameplay and Tiki directing the audience:
Cards appear on screen:

  • Tiki is seen next to gameplay
  • Tiki directs user to make a move
  • The environment is always moving onto the next one from right to left, ending in a night scene.

*Player Motivation: Escaping

card game environment focused card game environment focused

 

Concept: Real Environment

Showcasing changing environments by using real footage that matches the game scenes:

  • Maintain same elements of best performer “Dive in” (IPM)
  • Adjust verbiage according to scene
    • Come in
    • Jump in
    • Join in

*Player Motivation: Escape, Kill Time

card game real environment

 

Concept: Character + Date Scene

A mashup or best performer “Date Scene” (IPM) with best performer character inclusion:

  • Character appears in the scene as the date
  • Character appears as a waiter commenting how much he loves playing game too
  • Character is seen inside the gameplay

*Player Motivation: Stress relief (comedic)

character date scene character date scene

 

Concept: Dark Waters

Presenting same mysterious elements of original best performer (IPM) by including the flipping card/scene effect:

  • After cards are seen they flip over revealing the new scene
  • In the Following scene, each card flips to show Tripeaks characters.

*Player Motivation: Escape

dark waters dark waters

 

Concept: Partnerships

Investigate partnerships with organizations and celebrities:

  • Create partnership with American Cribbage Congress and/or Tournament of Champions
  • Enable player donations for ACC Youth Cribbage program helping kids with mathematics, critical thinking, and cooperative learning in school
  • Celeb hosted Ultimate Cribbage event (see Minnesota Wild NHL segment at right)

Competitors:

  • Zynga and has done celeb-hosted online events
  • Spades Royale Partnership with Dwayne Wade

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players who are unfamiliar with cribbage or its benefits

partnerships partnerships

 

Concept: Mental Benfits/Relaxation:

Continue to create videos that leverage the benefits of playing cards, specifically cribbage:
Scientific evidence that card-playing relieves stress, boosts the immune system, improves motor skills, and increases memory function and socialization:

  • Targets an older demographic (50+)

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • WSOP: 24% SOV
  • MobilityWare Solitaire 31% SOV
  • Scrabble GO: 32% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players interested in relaxation and enjoyable self-improvement/self-preservation

mental benfitsmental benefits

 

Concept: Game Magnifier

Holding a finger on game elements (cribbage board, cards) magnifies that element until you click on it again:

  • This would allow an older demographic to play despite issues with eyesight.

(Aligns with current target demographic, 35-64+)

game magnifier

 

 

 

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 Competitive Analysis

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, lotomania, 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.
  • 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 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 

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 if 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 creative trends concept faux hidden objects social casino creative trends concept faux hidden objects

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 concept mortised gameplay social casino concept 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 voiceover social casino concept comedic voiceover social casino concept comedic voiceover social casino concept comedic voiceover

Concept: Picker Jackpot

Leverage success from Match 3 games test simple pickers to game situations, such as picking coins to match 3 Fu 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 jackpot social 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 the psychology of near misses

Player Motivations:

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

social casino Concept Near Misses social casino Concept Near Misses social casino Concept Near Misses

Concept: Seasonal

Create new versions of the game incorporating seasonal graphics:

  • Christmas, Halloween, Chinese New Year
  • Attract players with refreshed cr›eative

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 concept seasonal social casino concept 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 concept real player social casino concept real player gameplay

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

Competitor/Share of voice

  • 26%

social casino Concept Matching Cards

Concept: Save the Character
  • New way to introduce the 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 concept save the character

Concept: Find the Object

Introduce the game to new users in a whimsical way

  • Find the purple bear
  • Locate the watch
  • Where is the giant coin
  • Find 5 things
  • Format options
    • Static carousel
    • Video with timer

Competitor/Share of voice 

  • 63%

why creative is so important social casino find the object

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%

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 concept mystery winner social casino concept mystery

Competitive Analysis

Competitors: AFK 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, 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 here.

Casual RPG Competitive Analysis

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)
  • 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, often based on level completion. (Space Arena)

casual rpg creative trends

 

Player Motivations

Idle Clicker gamers are not primarily casual gamers. In fact, they have a perfectly average core gamer profile… most are driven by Completion (collect stars, complete all missions) and Power (leveling up, getting powerful gear), and 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

 

Concept: Influencer Gameplay

Create short videos featuring influencers playing 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 Influencer Gameplay Casual RPG Influencer Gameplay

 

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 Character Countdown Casual RPG Character Countdown Casual RPG Character Countdown Casual RPG Character Countdown

 

Concept: Character Puzzles

Create videos featuring characters in brain-teasing puzzles:

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

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Hero Wars: 100% SOV

Casual RPG Character PuzzlesCasual RPG Character PuzzlesCasual RPG Character PuzzlesCasual RPG Character Puzzles

 

Concept: Comedic Voice Over

Create videos that juxtapose gameplay with 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 Comedic Voice Over Casual RPG Comedic Voice Over Casual RPG Comedic Voice Over Casual RPG Comedic Voice Over

 

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 Choices Casual RPG Choices Casual RPG Choices Casual RPG Choices

 

Concept: Music Based

Use of Heavy Metal or other genres to create game trailers and game art-based music videos

  • License Steve Liberace metal song “Crush Them All” to create music video featuring game characters
  • Create gameplay videos featuring different types of music to test.

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • AFK Arena: 78% SOV
  • King’s Raid: 25% SOV

Casual RPG Music Based Casual RPG Music Based

 

Concept: Game Overview/Trailer

Create new edits of game trailer:

  • Utilize new music (test different genres)
  • Utilize comedic voice over

Casual RPG Game Overview/Trailer

 

Concept: PVP Gameplay 

Augment gameplay with inset view of players experiencing the game

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

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Mushroom Wars 2: 6% SOV
  • Star Arena: 37% SOV

Casual RPG PVP Gameplay Casual RPG PVP Gameplay

 

Concept: Noob vs. Pro 

Create split-screen videos showing amateur versus experienced gameplay:

  • Highlights “motivation through frustration”
  • Demonstrates how to win stages and rewards

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Space Arena: 20% SOV

Casual RPG Noob vs. Pro 

 

Concept: Player Interviews

Create videos that combine gameplay with interviews of actual game players and/or influencers:

  • Attracts players while legitimizing the game
  • Creates PR buzz around the game
  • Consider doing remote interviews while gaming conferences are on hiatus

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • DomiNations: 23% SOV

Casual RPG Player Interviews

 

Concept: Character Countdown 

Feature characters from specific crews (Epic, Legendary, Common, etc) in a countdown of best characters, powers and/or weapons:

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

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 28% SOV

Casual RPG Character Countdown Casual RPG Character CountdownCasual RPG Character Countdown Casual RPG Character Countdown

 

Concept: Character Puzzles 

Create videos featuring Pixel Starships characters in brain-teasing puzzles:

  • Engages “completion” motivator for strategy players
  • Could be accomplished with minimum animation with word-based puzzles on game background, engaging sci-fi fans

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Hustle Castle 47% SOV

Casual RPG Character Puzzles Casual RPG Character Puzzles

 

Concept: Female-Centered Ads

Create ads that utilize more female characters and storylines:

  • Attracts more female gamers
  • Can be accomplished in character countdowns, puzzles

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Create ads that utilize more female characters and storylines: 

  • Attracts more female gamers 
  • Can be accomplished in character countdowns, puzzles

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • N/A

Casual RPG Female-Centered Ads Casual RPG Female-Centered Ads Casual RPG Female-Centered Ads Casual RPG Female-Centered Ads

 

Concept: Pixel Art

Utilize game graphics to create “pixel art”

  • Highlights beauty of pixel games
  • Create kaleidoscope videos by mirroring quadrants
  • Visually arresting

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Casual RPG Pixel Art Casual RPG Pixel Art

 

 

Competitive Analysis

Top Competitors: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Tubi, Philo, Pluto TV, Starz, Sling, Crackle, Paramount Network, SyFy, BET Now, Shudder, Vudu

View competitive videos here.

Entertainment Competitive Analysis

 

Competitive Trends:
  • Movie Trailers: Videos with movie trailer style content, featuring multiple titles. (Vudu, Pluto, Shudder, Netflix, Sundance Now)
  • Promoting Exclusive Content: Videos or images promoting exclusive or original content. (Hulu, Vudu, Netflix, Starz, BET, Crackle)
  • Special Offers: Videos or images with special offers. (Netflix, Hulu, Philo, Starz)
  • Competitive: Videos or images comparing prices to competitors or cable. (Sling, Hulu, Pluto)
  • Movie Poster: Images leveraging a singular movie or TV series to promote the service. (Vudu, Hulu)
  • Genre content: Video or images promoting a specific genre (sports, horror, etc.). (Sling, Shudder, Hulu)
  • Shared Passion: Videos or images that engage passion communities (e.g., Star Wars fans)  with quizzes, trivia, and profiles. (SyFy)

Entertainment Competitive Trends

User Motivations:

What are you looking for in an Entertainment app?

  • Something to put me in a positive mood
  • Background noise until I finally fall asleep
  • Escape the commute
  • Relax and enjoy some “Me Time”
  • Looking for a good action/family movie
  • Reality-TV
  • Something short before work
  • “Anything to help me wind down from work”

Why do you open an Entertainment up?

  • Unwind/settle in
  • Relax and escape
  • A quick laugh

What need are you fulfilling when using an entertainment app?

  • Eliminate boredom
    • I need my time to not worry about anything and just relax, catch my breath, be lazy and pamper myself
  • Elevate mood + aid sleep
    • Laugh and have good thoughts before going to bed
  • Access to content
    • Fulfills some nostalgia of shows I used to watch with family or siblings growing up
    • Catch up on new/old movies I haven’t seen before
    • I am able to select from a huge pool of movies and shows and I am not limited to what I can and can’t watch
    • Find movies I might have a hard time finding on another service

 

Concept: “Only on…” / “Not on…”

 Focus on exclusive content. User profiles suggest hard-to-find content is a big reason for using multiple entertainment apps

  • “Only on…”, “Only free on”, “Not on <competitor>…” are all appropriate messages.
  • Images
    • Leverage specific exclusive titles, especially if those that are free to watch.
    • Feature hard-to-find titles that have remakes/sequels that competitors are hyping, e.g. Tubi promoting the original “Dolemite” when Netflix went all out on “Dolemite is My Name”.
  • Video trailers
    • 00:15-00:30 second trailers that feature a combination of scenes and dialogue from multiple movies and alongside “Only on…” or “Not on…” messaging.

Insight

  • Given the popularity of Netflix and Disney+, it may be advisable to target them as competitors

Entertainment “Only on…” / “Not on…” Entertainment “Only on…” / “Not on…” Entertainment “Only on…” / “Not on…”Entertainment “Only on…” / “Not on…”

 

Concept: Genre-Focused Creative

Evolve current movie poster creative to focus on genres and seasonal titles, from Black cinema and Nostalgia TV to Academy Award-winners and seasonal/holidays

  • Users see specific genres not necessarily available on category leaders such as Netflix & Hulu.
  • Image ads include
    • Awards season focus on Oscar-winning titles, e.g. Chinatown. Movie poster or multiple titles.
    • Seasonal focus: summer blockbusters, holiday movies, etc..
    • Call out unique genre titles available.
  • Videos
    • 00:15-00:30 second trailers hype specific genres and seasonal offerings with scenes/dialogue from multiple titles.

Entertainment Genre-Focused Creative

Concept: Creativo Centrado en el Género

Evolve current movie poster creative to focus on genres and seasonal titles in video and image creative, specifically targeting Spanish-speaking audiences

  • Memes with captions in Spanish.
  • Genres focused on Spanish-speakers, e.g.:
    • Para niños y familias
    • Peliculas en Español
    • Telenovelas y series

Entertianment Creativo Centrado en el Género

 

Concept: Shared Passion

User profiles suggest a love of nostalgia, old movies, and TV series. Let’s reward that passion by using memes, quizzes and trivia to engage film buffs, movie fans, and TV addicts

  • Expand memes to use scenes from nostalgic TV and film.
  • Simple quizzes about old and new films and TV shows:
    • What actor starred in Greatest American Hero?
  • Random trivia about new and old genres:
    • John Travolta turned down the role of Forrest Gump. (Photoshop his face into iconic Tom Hanks pic?)
  • Combine with competitive “Only on…” or “Not on…” messaging.

Insight

SyFy and Shudder are currently running similar campaigns.

Entertainment Shared Passion Entertainment Shared Passion Entertainment Shared Passion Entertainment Shared Passion

 

Concept: YouTube Pre-Roll with Google Vogon

TV and movie fans regularly look up scenes on YouTube. Create pre-roll ads that target the specific genre they are looking at, with Google Vogon ads

  • Example of how Campbell’s Soup utilized technology here
  • 00:10 second pre-roll ads target range of categories, with emphasis on competitive messaging:
    • Horror: “Scared of costly subscriptions? Stream your favorite horror movies for free with <app>.”
    • Sports: “Don’t pay to play with <competitor>. Stream great sports movies for free with <app>.”
    • Kids Shows: “Put the money you’d spend on <competitor> in the kids’ college fund. Stream for free with <app>.”

Entertainment YouTube Pre-Roll with Google Vogon

 

 

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 Competitive Analysis

 

Creative 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 Competitive Trends

 

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 Story Focused Challenge Puzzle Story Focused Challenge Puzzle Story Focused Challenge

 

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 Story-Focused Countdowns Puzzle Hidden Object Story-Focused Countdown

 

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)

character-centric stories Hidden Object Puzzle Character Centric Stories Hidden Object Puzzle Character Centric Stories Hidden Object Puzzle Character Centric Stories

 

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

Puzzle Game Play Methods Puzzle Game Play Methods Puzzle Game Play Methods

 

Concept: “Find the Cat”
  • Incorporate saturated interiors with food with “Find the Cat” challenge or other short headers/items:
    • “Select the Gun”
    • “Where is the Dog”
    • “Locate the Rope”
    • “Find 5 Cats”
    • “Find 5 Oranges”

(Criminal Case, June’s Journey)

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

Hidden Object Hidden Object Find The Cat

 

Concept: Timed hidden object challenges
  • Try different timed hidden object games that still incorporate a story, e.g. “Save Your Patient”. (Hidden City, Pearl’s Peril)

 

Hidden Object Games Timed hidden object challenges Hidden Object Games Timed hidden object challenges

 

 

Competitive Analysis
  • 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 Competitive Analysis

 

Creative 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 picker, 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 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 Creative Trends

Creative 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 a key to escape a room (Candy Smash mania)

match 3 creative trends match 3 creative trends match 3 creative trends match 3 creative trends

 

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

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

match 3 player motivations

 

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

 

match 3

Quantic Foundry, 7 Things We Learned About Primary Gaming Motivations From Over 250,000 Gamers

 

Game Player Motivations

match 3 player motivation match 3 player motivation

 

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 Faux Hidden Items Gameplay Match 3 Faux Hidden Items Gameplay

 

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 Locks and Gates Match 3 Locks and Gates

 

Concept: Connect the Dots

Create videos where finger connects dots to create characters:

  • Simple background
  • Engages the 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, EA

Player Motivations:

  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

match 3 connect the dots match 3 connect the dots

 

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 Serial Storytelling match 3 Serial Storytelling match 3 Serial Storytelling

 

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

match 3 Perilous Situationsmatch 3 Perilous Situations match 3 Perilous Situations match 3 Perilous Situations

 

Concept: Character Countdown

Feature various characters in a countdown:

  • Showcases animation style, range of characters and attributions
  • Generates engagement (curiosity over list of characters)

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Rise of Kingdoms: 28% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets completionists seeking to master levels/characters

match 3 Character Countdown match 3 Character Countdown match 3 Character Countdown match 3 Character Countdown

 

Concept: Pop Culture
  • “Nailed It” TV show, predicted winner, iterate with new items (gingerbread) 2 item pickers, new fail, new kitchen items.
  • Best Fiends throwback ad featured familiar “I Love Lucy” black and white opening. Leverage familiar TV show opens with characters that speak to our target demo.

match 3 Pop Culture match 3 Pop Culture

 

Concept: Hidden Objects

Count off hidden items or count the difference between side by side images of environments.

match 3 hidden objects match 3 hidden objects

 

Concept: Comedic Voice Over

Create videos that juxtapose gameplay with funny voice over:

  • Showcases gameplay and graphics
  • Mimics player dialogue
  • Uses subtitles

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Icing on the Cake: 54% SOV
  • Rise of Kingdoms: 72% SOV
  • Questland: 8% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Mirrors social aspect of puzzle games

match 3 Comedic Voice Over match 3 Comedic Voice Over match 3 Comedic Voice Over

 

Concept: Character Competitions

Feature game characters in different competitions:

  • Slap Off
  • Strip Poker (word search removes items of clothing, will keep it PG)
  • Funny way to show character in new environment

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Slap King: 100% SOV
  • Slap Master: 100% SOV
  • Sinful Puzzle: 13% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets competitive players

match 3 Character Competitions match 3 Character Competitions

 

Concept: Off to the Races

Create videos featuring game characters in different races

  • Water slide race, Car race, running race
  • Dress up characters as mascots at baseball game, make it interactive with “see who wins”
  • Showcases characters in new game environment
  • Engages viewers who’ll want to see who wins

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Aquapark: 83% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets competitive players

match 3 Off to the Races match 3 Off to the Races

 

Concept: One Word at a Time Stories

Simple text-based videos with attitude that entice or antagonize viewers:

  • Simple background
  • Easy to make and test
  • Can speak to game truths like Clockmaker’s “We know you’re tired of Match-3 ads…”

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Clockmaker 83% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

match 3 One Word at a Time Stories match 3 One Word at a Time Stories match 3 One Word at a Time Storiesmatch 3 One Word at a Time Stories

 

Concept: Incorporate gameplay cleverly

Audience Profile: Completion & Design

  • Make the gameplay a crucial component of the ad story.
  • Examples
    • Gameplay allows you to open a door to escape room
    • Gameplay gives the key to save a character
  • Use various shapes to present gameplay (heart-shaped, flower, circle)

match 3 Incorporate gameplay cleverly match 3 Incorporate gameplay cleverly match 3 Incorporate gameplay cleverly match 3 Incorporate gameplay cleverly

 

Concept: Mix Lifestyle and Gameplay

Audience Profile: Fantasy

  • Opening ad with a lifestyle that matches gameplay/characters
  • Adding elements of game characters to lifestyle footage
  • Make Lifestyle part of the story

 

match 3 Mix Lifestyle and Gameplay Mix Lifestyle and Gameplay

 

Concept: Maximize Gameplay Blocks

Audience Profile: Fantasy, excitement

  • Make gameplay parts interact with other elements of the ad
  • Examples:
    • Gameplay blocks hit evil character
    • Blocks come to life and take over the screen
    • Gameplay blocks talk to each other discussing ways to make a big move

match 3 Maximize Gameplay Blocks

 

Concept: Risqué Ideas

Audience Profile: Destruction and

Excitement

  • Less brand focused
  • Irreverent elements
  • Examples:
    • Inclusion of gross items
    • Physical discomfort
    • Can’t look away style
    • Humor

Match 3 Risqué Ideas Match 3 Risqué Ideas

 

Concept: Target Different Player Motivations

Target Different User Clusters

  • CTA always on in non-picker: Play Now, Try Yourself, etc.
  • End Card “FAIL” appeals to certain users, test “What’s Next?”, “Try Yourself”, etc.

 

match 3 Target Different Player Motivations match 3 Target Different Player Motivations

 

Concept: Test Gameplay Elements
  • Continue using hand style creative, but make it have a purpose
    • Selection crucial to narration
    • Selection moves ad forward

Match 3 Test Gameplay Elements Match 3 Test Gameplay Elements Match 3 Test Gameplay Elements Match 3 Test Gameplay Elements

 

Concept: Add Narrative
  • Add narrative to best performers transitions to explain the story better
  • Help understand what the goal is

Match 3 Add Narrative Match 3 Add Narrative

 

Concept: Test Level Completed – Player Motivation
  • Ad levels completed to gameplay best performers (Audience main motivation is completion)
  • Emphasize the number of levels
  • Challenge user to get to higher levels

Match 3 Test Level Completed - Player Motivation Match 3 Test Level Completed - Player Motivation

Concept: Test Mini Fails vs One Big Fail
  • Show a succession of mini fails followed by the big fail ending
  • Add fail sounds to emphasize the mistake

Match 3 Test Mini Fails vs One Big Fail Match 3 Test Mini Fails vs One Big Fail

Concept: Spot the Differences

Feature characters in “spot the differences” videos:

  • Showcases animation style, range of characters and attributions
  • Can be timed or not
  • Can utilize game scenes or characters

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Hidden Relics: 25% SOV
  • June’s Journey: 10% SOV
  • Differences: Find ‘em All: 100% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets completionists seeking to master levels/characters

match 3 spot the differences match 3 spot the differences match 3 spot the differences

Concept: Visual Puzzles

Create image and/or video concepts that utilize optical illusions or visual tricks.

  • Leverages strength of image concepts 
  • Visually arresting
  • Engages viewers to solve
  • Object Match 

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Hidden Relics:25% SOV
  • Sentence: 15% SOV
  • Fit’em All: 100% SO

 Player Motivations: 

  • Targets players looking for immersive brain teasers

match 3 visual puzzles match 3 visual puzzles match 3 visual puzzles match 3 visual puzzles

 

Concept: Brainteasers

Utilize portions of the game to create brainteasers:  

  • Gem sequence: “What Comes Next?” 
  • Gem color combiner: “What Color?”
  • “What do the gems equal?” 

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • N/A

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets players looking for immersive brain teasers

match 3 brainteasers match 3 brainteasers match 3 brainteasers

 

Concept: Skill Challenge Puzzle

Create skill games involving game assets:  

  • Place the gem in the ring
  • Similar to Spacestation docking simulator but with a ring base & gem

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • N/A

 Player Motivations: 

  • Targets players looking for skilled challenges while keeping gems top of mind

match 3 skill challenge puzzle match 3 skill challenge puzzle

 

Concept: Peril Pickers

Explore perilous situations and picker styles, with characters:

  • 2D Animation
  • Can put them in desert-like situations or game-like settings where items lead to their rescue or fail

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Matchington Mansion: 100% SOV
  • Manor Cafe: 100% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets player need for humor, narrative and completion

match 3 peril pickers match 3 peril pickers

 

Concept: Other Styles of Pickers

Create picker videos that don’t just use renovation or peril setup:

  • Experiment with POV of viewer or character
  • Encompass a challenge (e.g., memory game, where Jenni has to remember which gems are missing)

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • My Cafe: 11% SOV
  • Cooking City: 52% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets player need for completion

match 3 pickers match 3 pickers

 

Concept: Emotional Rescue

Create videos highlighting consumer need for relaxation and emotional wellbeing, with Genies & Gems being an easy solution:

  • Create with simple titles and simulated player gameplay

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Cooking Diary: 2% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets current societal mindset

match 3 emotional rescue match 3 emotional rescue

 

Concept: Supered Stories

Simple text-based videos with that entice or resonate with viewers:

  • Simple background
  • Easy to make and test
  • Can speak to game truths like Clockmaker’s “We know you’re tired of Match 3 game ads…”
  • Can combine with gameplay

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Clockmaker: 58% SOV
  • Sweet Escapes: 12% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets player need for narrative in games

match 3 supered stories match 3 supered stories match 3 supered stories

match 3 supered stories

 

Concept: Player Focused/Testimonial

Create videos incorporating characters either playing the game or reviewing it: 

  • Use real game reviews 
  • Can use as supers or voice over
  • Can show players inset enjoying the game during gameplay

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Jelly Juice: 19% SOV
  • Episode: 100% SOV
  • My Cafe: 6% SOV 

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

match 3 player focused testimonial match 3 player focused testimonial match 3 player focused testimonial

 

Concept: Character Makeovers

Create videos where picker alters character appearance:

  • “Give Character a Makeover” (pick new glasses, hair, etc)
  • “Give Trix a Trim” (shampoo, haircut)

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Matchington Mansion (SOV not yet available)

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets player need for creativity and narrative in games

match 3 character makeovers match 3 character makeovers

 

Concept: Game Trailers

Create a trailer/overview video for the game utilizing movie trailer techniques:

  • Slo-mo, montage, title cards, music
  • Gives viewers sense of the game while upping overall impression of game

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Minecraft: 80% SOV
  • My Cafe: 6% SOV 

Player Motivations: 

  • Player’s understanding of overall game

match 3 game trailers match 3 game trailers match 3 game trailers

 

Concept: Female Centered Vignettes

Create stories centered on characters overcoming obstacles to get stolen gems back:

  • Inherent conflict with bandits/thieves
  • Gives viewers (majority female) a character to connect with and root for

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Lily’s Garden: 81% SOV
  • My Home: 35% SOV
  • Choices: 97% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Player need for a narrative story

match 3 Female Centered Vignettes match 3 Female Centered Vignettes match 3 Female Centered Vignettes

 

Concept: Hidden Prizes

Feature gift cards or other prizes in a hidden objects image or video concept:

  • Adds element of reward beyond finding objects
  • Could tie to in-game promotion

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Diner Dash: 72% SOV
  • Coin Dozer: 98% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players looking for further rewards beyond gameplay

match 3 hidden prizes match 3 hidden prizes

 

Concept: Faux Hidden Objects Gameplay

Faux “relaxing” games are interrupted by exciting Genies & Gems gameplay that bursts through the screen:

  • Begin video with slower games like hidden items or word games, with header like “Find 5 Butterflies”
  • Game breaks through visual with 5 butterfly gems

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Decorative/creative opening could attract other kinds of puzzle players

match 3 faux hidden objects match 3 faux hidden objects

 

Concept: Game Trailer/Music Video

Use music create game art-based music videos:

  • Syncopate music to gem explosions and drops

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • AFK Arena: 78% SOV
  • King’s Raid: 25% SOV
  • Tap Sports Baseball: 16% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players who will be attracted to music and visual style

match 3 game trailer music video match 3 game trailer music video

 

Concept: Making of the Game

Give players a peek behind the curtain and the making of the game:

  • Markedly different from other game ads
  • Messaging could be about the care taken with the game and story

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Targets players who are interested in decoration & narrative

match 3 making of the game

 

Concept: Continued Evolution of Puzzles

Create puzzle videos (connect the dots, word finder) that continue to succeed for competitors (e.g. Sweet Escapes, Zynga):

  • Simple background
  • Engages viewer’s curiosity

Competitor/Share of Voice:

  • Sweet Escapes: 16% SOV

Player Motivations:

  • Targets player need for completion

match 3 Continued Evolution of Puzzles match 3 Continued Evolution of Puzzles

 

Concept: Puzzle Challenge

Engage potential players with puzzle challenges that feature game characters:

  • Figure out how to wake Liam after storm
  • Nurture/save turtles by directing water back to their lagoon
  • Renovate damaged structures on island (e.g. a bridge that’s out)
  • Solve simple puzzle (like test tube candy puzzle) featuring objects from gameplay

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Fishdom, Wildscapes, Township, Brain Out, Sweet Escapes, Tropic Trouble, Hustle Castle

Motivation:

  • Targets achievement masters while renovation puzzles could also target expressive creators

match 3 puzzle challenge

 

Concept: Puzzle with Purpose

Create puzzles with purpose that combine Match 3 or other gameplay with character situations:

  • Match 3 gameplay rewards help renovate animal habitats
  • Word finding locates object (e.g. Liam’s ball)
  • Match 3 gameplay removes barriers to allow animals to escape perilous situations

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Toon Blast, Charm King, Angry Birds

Motivation:

  • Targets achievement masters while renovation puzzles could also target expressive creators

match 3 puzzle with purpose match 3 puzzle with purpose

 

Concept: Animal Picker

Try pickers that renovate animal habitats or nurture the animals, which can results in fails or wins:

  • Picker concepts that rebuild different animal structures or improve their design/look
  • Cake or other decorative opportunities (Liam’s birthday cake!)  
  • Choosing what to feed different animal characters (e.g. no steak for Liam since he’s a vegetarian)
  • Animal salon where you can pamper animals (haircuts, bathe, detangle, etc.)

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Wildscapes, Matchington Mansion, Mansion Blast, Meow Match

Motivation: 

  • Targets expressive creators as well as nurture/cuteness themes

match 3 Animal Picker match 3 Animal Picker match 3 Animal Picker match 3 Animal Picker

 

Concept: Female Focused

Create short vignettes focusing on female animal characters and how they overcome stereotypical male behavior, using  talk bubbles or gestures to communicate:

  • Characters talking about another character until he happens to walk by 
  • Character talking empowerment with her animal sisters
  • Characters and a party; One gets angry when male animal starts talking to another as if the main character isn’t there
  • Ongoing series in which a couple tries to resolve their conflict

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Lily’s Garden, Choices

Motivation: 

  • Targets expressive creators and need for immersion and narrative, as well as adult themes

match 3 female focused match 3 female focused match 3 female focused

 

Concept: Choose What’s Next

Let players affect the narrative and dramatize conflict between animals, focusing on more adult themes (jealousy, anger and other emotions) and one character’s experience of them:

  • A couple start hanging out;  what should he do? (Barge in or Leave them be?)
  • One character is hogging the limelight at a party again. (Tell her or go somewhere else?)
  • One overhears two girls talking about her hair. (Confront them or Runaway?) 

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Choices

Motivation: 

  • Targets expressive creators and need for immersion and narrative, as well as adult themes

match 3 choices

 

Concept: Testimonial

Create videos and images that feature that feature player testimonials:

  • Supered player testimonials over characters and backgrounds (multiple)
  • Review of game with voice over/subtitles combined with gameplay and scenes
  • Player inset giving review of game over gameplay

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Meow Match, Jelly Juice

Motivation: 

  • Targets expressive creators and need for immersion and narrative, as well as adult themes

Testimonial testimonial testimonial testimonial

 

Concept: Achievement

Create videos that chronicle what achievement looks like in the game:  

  • Place characters on top of Match 3 object tower to represent levels
  • Contrast Day 1 achievement with achievement on successive days (Day 10, Day 30, etc)

Competitors utilizing trend:

  • Pet Rescue Saga

Player Motivations:

  • Targets Achievement Masters

Achievement Achievement

 

Concept: Animal Testimonials

Feature animals giving reviews of why they like the game (inspired by the old Nick Park Creature Comforts series and BBC’s Walk on the Wild Side): 

  • Real animals giving reviews of the game, their favorite:
    • Prairie Dog: “I wonder if Alan has heard of Wild Things Animal Adventure? It’s got puzzles and animal friends and tons of levels. Alan! Alan!”  
    • Find similar footage of real animals and create voice over
    • See “Walk on the Wild Side” here
    • See Nick Park’s “Creature Comforts” here

Competitors utilizing trend: 

  • N/A

Player Motivations:

  • Targets animal lovers who love puzzle games

animal testimonials animal testimonials

 

Concept: Choose Your Option

Utilize “Choices” type option to let players feel more in control of the narrative :

  • Engages viewers
  • Fits well with “chapters” used in the game

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • Choices: 97% SOV
  • My Cafe: 15% SOV 
  • Episode: 88% SOV

Player Motivations: 

  • Player need for narrative story 

choose your option choose your option

 

Concept: Fairy Tales

Continue to explore different variations on fairy tales with main character:

  • Clever way to connect narrative and gameplay
  • Two main characters mashup with third main character
  • “Sword in the Stone” with main character

Competitor/Share of Voice: 

  • N/A

Player Motivations: 

  • Targets players interested in narrative

fairy talesfairy talesfairy tales

 

 

Competitive Analysis

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 Competitive Analysis

 

Creative 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)
  • 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)

Simulation Role Playing Creative Trends 

 

Competitive Trends (cont.)
  • 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.
  • 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 date/outfits/more likes on Instagram/popularity.

Simulation Role Playing Creative Trends Simulation Role Playing Creative Trends Simulation Role Playing Creative Trends Simulation Role Playing Creative Trends

 

Concept: Poor Pregnant Woman

Trends: Females in Peril, Awful men

  • Pregnant woman about to reveal baby news to future dad.
  • Plot options
    • A) Guy has other plans
      • He’s about to reveal he doesn’t love her anymore/is leaving her.
    • B) She finds him cheating on her with someone else (Sister/agent/friend)
  • Ending
    • Woman has to make a difficult decision as a cliffhanger

*Competitor and SOV: Journeys 20.5%

Simulation Role Playing Poor Pregnant Woman Simulation Role Playing Poor Pregnant Woman Simulation Role Playing Poor Pregnant Woman Simulation Role Playing Poor Pregnant Woman

 

Concept: Revenge with Timing Elements

Trends: Mean Girls, Time, Competitive

  • Bullied girl gets her payback years later
    • Starts in present time with bride crying/husband cheating with sexy attendee
    • Sexy attendee memory takes her back to High School days
    • Turns out bride was very mean and bullied sexy girl 

Options appear with

  • Revenge
  • Let it go
  • Scene returns to present time with the choice made and consequences

*Competitor and SOV: My Story, Journeys 25.5%

Simulation Role Playing Mean Girls, Time, Competitive Simulation Role Playing Mean Girls, Time, Competitive Simulation Role Playing Mean Girls, Time, Competitive Simulation Role Playing Mean Girls, Time, Competitive

 

Concept: Ugly Betty with a Twist

Trends: Mean Girls and Outfit Selections

  • Girl is made fun of because of her looks
    • She decides to go home and change her appearance
    • A picker screen appears next to her
    • She selects new make-up, clothes, hair and removes glasses/braces
    • (I’d avoid doing the weight loss part)
  • Her “new me” comes to school and tries to seduce her crush
  • Two options appear
    • Crush rejects her because she’s now like everyone else
  • He lusts after her and dumps his girl

*Competitor and SOV: My Story, What’s your story 18.5%

Simulation Role Rlaying Mean Girls and Outfit Selections

 

Concept: You vs. Your Friend with a Twist

Trends: Competitive, Outfits, Two loves

  • Friends compete to find the hottest date
    • Two frenemies go to Tinder to find a hot date
    • Side by side screens show each swipe
    • Both choose a guy but this part is not revealed
    • Next, both girls are seeing choosing different outfits (fast montage)
  • Twist end, they both arrive to meet the same guy
  • Guy must make a choice
    • He chooses one
    • He chooses both

*Competitor and SOV: Kim K. Hollywood  31.5%

Simulation Role Playing You vs. Your Friend with a Twist Simulation Role Playing You vs. Your Friend with a Twist

 

Concept: Sleeping with the Boss

Trends: Awful dates, Mean Girls

  • Woman gets in trouble for sleeping with the boss
    • A girl is reading a text she just received while at work
    • Snarky coworker reads it too and discovers coworker is sleeping with the boss
  • A jealous coworker has several choices
    • Send a chain email to the whole company
    • Blackmail coworker
    • Reveals she’s also sleeping with him
  • Boss also makes a decision based on news
    • Fires them both
    • Asks for a threesome

*Competitor and SOV: Journeys 12.5%

Simulation Role Playing Sleeping with the Boss Simulation Role Playing Sleeping with the Boss

 

Concept: You’re not the father

Trends: Awful dates/Choosing between two

  • Guy discovers positive pregnant test in the garbage
    • He’s excited about becoming a dad
    • His girlfriend is in the other room texting another guy
    • She seems upset
    • She tells the other guy the baby is actually his
  • Choices
    • Tell the boyfriend baby is his
    • Tell him the truth

Simulation Role Playing You’re not the father Simulation Role Playing You’re not the father

 

Concept: Something in the closet

Trends: Awful dates

A girl comes home and hears a noise in the closet

  • She’s scared so texted her boyfriend to help her find out
  • Boyfriend doesn’t reply 

Choices

  • The girl decides to call the cops
  • She investigates on her own

Outcome

  • Turns out boyfriend is in closet with someone else

Simulation Role Playing Awful dates Simulation Role Playing Awful dates

 

 

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 Competitive Analysis

 

Creative 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 Creative Trends Simulation Lifestyle Creative Trends

Simulation Lifestyle Creative Trends Simulation Lifestyle Creative Trends

 

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 comes 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

 

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 Present a Challenge to Solve Simulation Lifestyle Present a Challenge to Solve

 

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 to directly to users’ ability to creative with their decision making

Simulation Lifestyle Give Users the Power Simulation Lifestyle Give Users the Power

 

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 Show the Possibilities Simulation Lifestyle Show the Possibilities

 

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 Incite Relaxation Simulation Lifestyle Incite Relaxation

 

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 Before and After Simulation Lifestyle Before and After

 

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 New Intros and Outros Simulation Lifestyle New Intros and Outros

 

Concept: Test New Transitions
  • Try full-frame, colorful transitions with compelling text (Home Design Makeover)
  • Test different transition styles (Color blocks, Brick style, My Home Design Dreams)

Simulation Lifestyle Test New Transitions Simulation Lifestyle Test New Transitions

 

 

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 Games Competitive Analysis

 

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 Games Creative Trends Sports Games Creative Trends Sports Games Creative Trends Sports Games 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 Games Statcast Statcast Statcast Statcast

 

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

Sports Games Character Countdown Sports Games Character Countdown Sports Games Character Countdown

 

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

Sports Games Trash Talk Voice Over Sports Games 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

Sports Games Emoji Gameplay Sports Games 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

Sports Games Real Game Footage Sports Games 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 Games Announcer Calls Sports Games 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 Games Cinematic Stories Sports Games Cinematic 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 Games Noob vs. 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 Games Sports Chants Sports Games Sports Chants

 

 

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