Creative optimization series part one: Interactive ads

By John Koetsier July 3, 2018

In this four-part series on creative optimization, we’ll examine some of the trends, best practices, and strategies that help marketers get performative creative assets.

Creative optimization part one: Interactive formats

It probably comes as no surprise to the average marketer that the highest performing ads are ads with interactive and interesting formats. Nothing grabs a user’s attention better than something that they haven’t seen before, but optimizing for “new” isn’t enough of a strategy for marketers to win. They need to efficiently test out which attributes of an ad creative seem to be resonating with the audience, and find effective ways to iterate on that success. In the words of Si Crowhurst at Vungle Creative Labs, “In digital advertising, new just works, but you also need to track results.”

It’s not easy to predict if a new ad is going to drive real results for your company. It takes a lot of testing, analyzing data, and tweaking creative elements to get it just right. So to give you a little head start, we did some digging to learn which ad trends are really making an impact by talking to user acquisition experts at brands like Twitter, Google, NextGames, Match, and Waze.

Interactive formats – Do they live up to the hype?

One trend that prevailed among these digital marketing experts was interactive formats. More and more, digital advertisers are finding that playable ads are outperforming static ads or even passive video ads. It makes sense that the most engaging ad creative would be one that users can actually interact with, but just how do we combat audience passivity? How much of an impact does engaging creative have on campaign performance?

While Prashant Pisipati was Senior Product Manager at Chartboost, he shared some surprising data with us about how much of an impact a good, interactive ad format can have: “In testing global campaigns, advertisers are seeing an average of 123% increase in conversion over static interstitial, with 26.4% increase in D7 retention.”

This is an awesome statistic to see, but it wasn’t automatic – the first playable ads that Chartboost released had extremely low play rates. The UA team at Chartboost spent a good amount of time testing variation after variation to end up with some impressive results:


Test version 1: Resulted in a +344% play rate and +79% eCPM

Test version 2: Resulted in a +700% play rate and +140% eCPM


Through various different rounds of testing, they came to a couple of key conclusions that help ensure successful interactive ads:

  1. Reduce unnecessary visual elements
  2. Create a clear call to action

In a piece by Ginny Marvin on Marketing Land, Leadbolt shared some insight on the success of one of their interactive ad campaigns which allowed users to test out the app before downloading. The playable ad yielded a “2x increase in click-through rate and a 4x increase in conversion rate.” With numbers like that, you have to imagine that their campaign creatives really resonated with and engaged their audience.

Thus, in the words of Pisipati, “Interactive ads are win-win for everyone.”

360° ads in the UA sphere

Another notable format gaining traction is the 360° ad. According to Vungle, they saw positive campaign performance shortly after introducing one such ad that proved to be their best-performing creative across all of their campaigns on three of their largest advertisers. As noted by Marvin, we learned that big brand names like North Face, Honda, Norwegian Air, and Mountain Dew all jumped on the 360° train quickly to excellent results. If this tells us anything, it’s that we may only be starting to see the extent of what interactive ads can do.


Stay tuned for part two of our creative optimization blog series, where we’ll focus on design trends such as dynamic creative assets and video! If you’d like to learn more about Singular’s Creative Optimization capabilities, request a demo here!

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