Facebook Is Extending Playable Ads in Gaming Apps to Audience Network

The social network revealed other monetization updates for developers and advertisers

Over 55% of developers now use a combination of in-app ads and in-app purchases Doucefleur/iStock

Facebook detailed a host of updates aimed at enabling developers and advertisers to better monetize their gaming applications.

The social network said in a blog post that the total number of active gaming publishers on its Facebook Audience Network mobile ad platform grew by 1.5 times in 2018, with payouts from rewarded video soaring by eight times over the course of the year.

Facebook introduced playable ads in News Feed last August as a way to enable people to try out games in their News Feeds before downloading them.


The social network said people who installed apps via those playable ads opened those apps 60% more often and were six times more likely to make in-game purchases than users who installed the apps via other ads, so it extended playable ads to Facebook Audience Network, in both rewarded video and interstitial formats.

The rewarded playable format enables developers or advertisers to provide rewards to players who interact with the game being advertised for at least 15 seconds, with the call to action bringing those players directly to the app store to install the game.


And the interstitials playable format enables players to interact with the ad or download the game after five seconds.


The social network said developers and publishers that do not already have access to rewarded video will see it appear as a placement creation option in their monetization manager dashboards over the coming weeks, and they should download the latest version of the Audience Network SDK (software-development kit) and consult its best practices.

Facebook added that playable ads in rewarded video placements on Facebook Audience Network have resulted in CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) 60% to 85% higher than regular video ads, adding that initial data on playable interstitials is also showing higher CPMs than regular video interstitials.

The social network also took steps to enable developers and advertisers to better understand the results being driven by playable ads.

Three new playable ad metrics are being added to Ads Manager: instant experiences clicks to open, instant experiences clicks to start and instant experiences outbound clicks. They are also applicable for other campaigns with instant experiences and lead ads.

The social network is also adding support for ZIP files and vertical video, giving advertisers the ability to create higher-quality playable experiences, with larger file sizes, and to use playable files from other sources on Facebook and Facebook Audience Network.

The new metrics and the new support options will be available to all advertisers in the coming weeks.

Facebook vice president of global marketing solutions for gaming Rick Kelley said in the blog post, “For advertisers today, winning mobile gamers in the discovery phase is critical. By extending placements for playable ads to Audience Network, and by improving ad creation and measurement, we hope to make this already successful format work even harder for our advertisers, helping them accelerate the growth of their games, and reach more highly engaged people.”

Finally, Facebook shared some key findings from a new white paper it released Wednesday, Ads, IAP or Both? Game Developers Reveal Their Preferred Monetization Mix:

  • In-app ads can improve retention: The social network found that 57% of mobile developers believe in-app ads can improve player retention without detracting from the game experience, and more than 55% of developers now use a combination of in-app ads and in-app purchases.
  • Rewarded video is the most effective format: 79% of developers that use a mix of ads and in-app purchases pointed to rewarded video as their most effective format, and 53% believe it drives in-app purchases.
  • Playable ads are growing as a successful format: 33% of publishers using a mix of in-app ads and in-app purchases said playable ads are already their most successful format.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.