How to Create Video App Ads that Get Mobile Users' Attention

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Smartphones these days hold more processing power than the Apollo 11 had when it brought Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969. However, with great power comes great dependence that borders on addiction. Constant swiping right to find a date, infinite scrolling to search for dank memes, and furious tapping to save teammates from being "ganked" have resulted in such a heavy reliance on mobile technology that we can (almost) no longer live without it.

When asked by the Boston Consulting Group what they would be willing to give up in order to keep their smartphones, more than 3 in 10 survey respondents said they would stop seeing their friends in person, almost a third said they would give up sex for a year, and nearly half of them said they would put off going on vacation.

There is a silver lining, though. Well, for advertisers, at least. To date, there are over two million apps on the Play Store and more than 1.8 million on the App Store. Couple this with new app discovery channels and more user-brand interactions on mobile than on any other platform, and you get a mobile advertising scene that shows no signs of slowing down.

To add to that, the growing number of companies who have integrated app marketing into their overall marketing strategy further cements mobile's place as one of the most effective channels to reach consumers. With more than US$6 trillion in transactions projected to take place through apps by 2021, it’s no surprise that businesses are making app advertising a centrepiece. 

That's all well and good. But increased demand, as well as supply, of mobile content also brings about stiff competition for users' attention. What makes it even more challenging is that many companies struggle with a lack of fresh ideas, production resources and technical know-how when it comes to producing creatives that convert (which is the endgame, after all).

Quality ad creatives are a critical driver behind app campaigns. This means that the quality of your creatives can make or break your ad performance. And although the myth about us having shorter attention spans than goldfish has been busted, one thing is for certain - most of us have no patience for boring ads.

Beside static creatives, another highly effective format is video, which has seen a surge in popularity and is arguably the best way to improve your Return on Investment (ROI). Video has also proven itself to be one of the most impactful asset types that make up app ads and is essential for verticals such as e-Commerce and Direct-to-Consumer. Miao Xing, a Product Manager from Google’s app ads team, explains why marketers should take video seriously.

“Videos are eye-catching by nature, they can really bring the app experience to life. They also serve as a ‘teaser’ to what the app has to offer in a more dynamic way than other mediums.” 

However, video ads can some times backfire on you, if you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. Not to worry, though, we've got you covered with these tips you can use to kick things off.

Taking your videos to the next level, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. That's where Creadits comes in. Creadits not only produces quality creatives for you, but also helps you optimise your video app ads to get the most out of your campaign budget. Book a free consultation now to find out more.

Keep it simple and snappy

It's no secret that mobile users have short attention spans. This means the longer your video, the higher the chances of your audience losing interest in what you have to say. How long is too long? Ideally, you'd want to keep your video between 15 and 30 seconds, and grab their attention within the first two to three seconds.

An effective way of doing this is by introducing a few quick cuts early on to deliver a dynamic sense of the app experience. If you're ever in doubt, always remember the miniskirt rule - it should be long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep things interesting.

Emphasise experience over story

Unlike traditional TV advertising, where storytelling takes precedence, the focus of your video app ads should be to provide your audience with the most important information first. With the exception of more traditional or complex products such as finance and productivity apps, which could require more explanation and buildup, your priority should be to get to the app experience as early as possible; and stay there.

One way to do this is to tightly frame your shots in order to help your viewers focus on the features they can use within the app. It also helps to zero in on your app's top capabilities and benefits right off the bat, rather than bring your viewers through a full-fledged narrative that they might lose interest in before you get to your punchline.

Reinforce your branding

If possible, introduce your brand early and keep it prominent throughout your videos to leave a lasting impression on your viewers. Consistent branding helps your audience better recall your app and reaffirms your place as a top-of-mind prospect for them.

Don't forget audio as well. An audio-visual experience is an easy way to create an extra layer of connection with your prospective users. Use ambient sounds, catchy tunes or voice-overs to emphasise your branding and calls to action.

There are several ways to show branding in your ads. You could incorporate it into your app's user interface when you showcase your app's capabilities, on the sides of your vertical ads, or with audio, as mentioned above. You could also employ a combination of all three to ensure you've got all your bases covered.

Don't be afraid to mix it up

Speaking of having your bases covered, in order to get the most out of your campaign, be sure to resize your videos to match Google App campaign's top aspect ratios - landscape (16:9), portrait (2:3) and square (1:1). You should also vary your video lengths between the 15 and 30-second mark to maximise your ad reach across Google channels.

It also doesn't hurt to experiment with several variations of your video. Exploring different themes and subjects significantly improves your odds of resonating with different audiences. Try using a more personal approach or a more social one. Alternatively, you could portray two distinct use cases or benefits of the app, each in their own ad.

Play around with your ideas, test them out and see what works. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If you never try, you'll never know.

Keep your pipeline going

As you test different iterations of your video, keep an eye on App campaign asset reporting to see what concepts work or don’t. Ad fatigue should not be treated lightly. Sooner or later, your audience will become numb to your ads and even the highest performer will eventually stop working.

A good way to fight ad fatigue is to refresh your videos, as well as other creatives, every 5-10 days. This means getting rid of the old stuff that no longer works and introducing new assets and ideas to the mix. Don't do it all at once, though. In order to minimise fluctuations in your campaign performance, gradually retire your lowest-performing creatives and introduce “new blood”. That way, you ensure your marketing efforts don't come to a sputtering halt mid-campaign.

Case study: PlaySide Studios

“The awesome people at Creadits really want to improve our app marketing efforts. They are always on hand to help us get the most from their services – a clear sign of a good business that cares!” – Danny Armstrong, General Manager, PlaySide Studios.

About PlaySide Studios

PlaySide Studios was founded in 2012 and quickly made a name for itself with a series of hits on the App Store, including Catch the Ark, Icy Ropes, and Monkey Ropes.


PlaySide comprised a small team with a limited amount of resources. This meant that its creative team was already stretched thin and was not able to produce more ads without compromising on their work elsewhere.

Additionally, the team at PlaySide had grown attached to their games, as well as the characters and scenes within each game. This made the task of objectively reviewing marketing materials, and deciding on the best features to highlight in ad creatives, even more challenging.


PlaySide's main objective was to ramp up the number of downloads for one of its most popular games - Monkey Ropes. However, it also wanted to leverage on Creadits' expertise as a Google Premier Partner to get the most from Google App campaigns, despite already having run ads on several networks.


From February to March 2019, Creadits produced over 15 new ad creatives for Monkey Ropes, which allowed PlaySide to easily and effectively scale their acquisition campaigns on Google.

Video creatives comprised key elements of the game, which were featured on top of standard gameplay footage. They were also designed with the intention of grabbing the viewers' attention in the first three seconds with quick cuts and action-packed animation such as swinging monkeys right from the onset.


With more ad creatives, PlaySide could also test and optimise for performance much faster than before. The top three ad creatives, in particular, saw a 30% increase in IPM (installs per 1,000 impressions).

PlaySide saw an improvement in CPI (Cost per Install) with quality creative at scale from Creadits, but testing and optimising remains an ongoing process. Our creative experts continue to analyse performance with PlaySide to uncover insights and produce even better ads for future campaigns.

Creadits – Cost-effective, scalable solutions for every need

If, despite these tips, you're still apprehensive about creating your own video app ads, you can always let Creadits do the heavy lifting for you. Here at Creadits, we help you scale your ad spend on multiple platforms by designing, producing and optimising videos for your performance campaigns.

With experience working on a diverse mix of verticals, Creadits’ designers know what works best for your industry and can translate this knowledge into highly effective ads. Our global team of creative strategists are also on hand to provide insights and guide your marketing efforts for success in new markets.

For every possible type or format of ad creative you would like to produce, you can easily acquire the necessary creative talents or skill sets via Creadits. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Illustration/Concept Art
  • Storyboarding/Ideation
  • 3D Modelling, Animation and Setup
  • Cinematics
  • HTML5 Playable Ads
  • Marketing Assets
  • Unity/UE4 Cut Scenes
  • Augmented Reality Ads/Lenses
  • Iterations and Asset Optimisation
  • Voice-overs

On top of that, Creadits' presence in several locations around the world puts it in an advantageous position to localise content in the following business languages: English, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, French, Spanish, Tamil, Hindi, Tagalog, and Bahasa Melayu.

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