The mobile industry is constantly changing and evolving. Same goes for mobile ads. With heightened competition, it’s not always easy to produce a high-quality video ad that will help your app or game stand out from the crowd.

Ad trends give a taste of what’s working right now, and can help stir you in the right direction. One that will help you boost your conversion rate and your downloads. Here are 5 of the latest video ads trends:

  1. Storytelling
  2. Emotionally infused content
  3. Influencer ads and UGC-style videos
  4. Playable ads
  5. In-game rewarded ads

1. Infusing ads with stories to catch user attention

It’s not enough anymore to just showcase screen recordings of your app — you need to add some storytelling to your commercial and show what your product can really bring to your audience.

Newzoo’s latest report states that characters, settings, and stories are users’ first demand in mobile game ads for TikTok gamers. And while the finding is confirmed specifically for mobile games, we know from practice that storytelling works for all kinds of apps.

Trends in mobile game ads
Source: Newzoo

Not every app or mobile game will have characters to stage in a video ad, but there are many ways to tell a story. You can use your soundtrack, a voice over or an influencer.

Stories will help capture users’ attention, a crucial point in an era where attention spans keep getting shorter while more and more content is produced. For mobile games, use some of your game’s visuals to create a story. The plot doesn’t have to be connected to the actual story of the game (if it has one) — look at what Merge Mansion and Family Island have been doing, for example.

A video ad by Merge Mansion showcasing the game’s main character discovering a secret

They have been extending their game’s storylines to create their video ads and have amassed quite an audience: Lily’s Garden has almost 900k followers on Instagram, with more than 7 million downloads on the App Store and over 10 million downloads on Google Play; and Family Island has almost 800k on Instagram, 8 million downloads on the App Store and 10 million on the Google Play.

For apps, bet on live action. It humanizes the product and helps users connect to your brand and get interested in it.

More than anything, setting a scene and infusing your ads with storylines and characters makes it easier to trigger an emotional response in the audience.

2. Strong emotional appeal

No matter what you do, aiming to elicit emotions is a great way to stand out. When it comes to storytelling, you can add a touch of drama in your video ad like the secrets held by the grandma in the Merge Mansion’s ads, the cheating video ads of Family Island or Lily’s Garden and its fake pregnancy video ads.

One of the Family Island video ad showcasing one of the game’s character cheating on another, there are also versions of this where the dad is the one cheating

Lily’s garden video ads where the game’s main character fakes a pregnancy to get rid of her boyfriend

Some mobile games rather play on frustration, showing people failing at easy levels in their games. It makes users want to download the app to succeed at the challenge.

Color coding is also here to help you as some colors are known to drive certain emotions and feelings. You can even use color association to trigger an unconscious response. For example, blue and green are known to be colors that imply calmness and trustworthiness while yellow and orange are more energetic.

An Instagram story ad for Coinbase

For example, look at this ad for Coinbase. The ad mainly uses blue, it is not only one of the colors of the brand but blue is often used in money or finance apps because it’s a color that inspires trust. The gold accents around the coins are here to emphasize the fact that we’re talking about money, but everything else is blue to focus on the trustworthiness of the app itself.

Depending on the message you’re trying to get across in your ad, be careful with the colors used in your visuals. It’s important to keep your branding and color palette consistent when you're working with a custom logo maker, illustration design software, or an ad template maker.

Don’t focus too much on negative emotions; they could backfire and impact the perception users have of your brand.

3. Influencer and UGC-like videos

TikTok’s steady rise to fame has brought success to UGC-style videos as well as influencer ads. The video app thrives on that relatable content, and it’s shaping the latest trends in video ads.

Every social media app out there has started copying TikTok in hope of recreating the platform’s success, from Instagram and Facebook’s Reels to YouTube’s Shorts. This means that portrait, user-generated content is now in vogue. That goes for video ads, too.

The more genuine and authentic it looks, the better it works. This is why influencer ads are trending right now for apps and mobile games.

For example, during a presentation at the App Promotion Summit, Tandem, a language learning app, talked about how effective influencer marketing was for them.

How influencers help in mobile app advertising campaigns
Source: The App Promotion Summit

Clearly, in addition to being quite effective (their influencer campaign boosted their conversion rate by ten times!), it was also cost-efficient. Costs went down and conversion went up; what’s not to like?

If you’re not sure an influencer video ad is what fits best for your app, you can fall back on user-generated content, or content that looks like it’s user-generated. Influencer campaigns work because they rely on the trustworthiness of the influencer figure, and, thanks to this, they feel authentic to the audience.

You can play on that need for authenticity with a less polished video ad, use live action and put actors on set, having them address the camera directly. Make your video ad look genuine, and it’ll create a feeling of trust and a stronger bond with your audience. It will also fit seamlessly in some ad placements, such as Reels, Shorts or TikTok ads.

4. Let users try the app beforehand

The try-before-you-buy mindset is settling down in mobile ads. Playable ads have been around for a couple of years already; they first appeared mainly in gaming apps but have since started to flow over other kinds of apps.

Milan Strba, a mobile growth expert at SuperScale says he has seen a quick rise for playables, with many publishers asking for them to improve their traffic.

If you can’t have the user test-drive your app, mostly for non-games apps, bet on interaction. Playables work great because the user can interact directly with the product. Try to address the user directly, either through voiceover or with a character or actor breaking the fourth wall and talking to the user. Or even set up another interactive tool, like a quiz for example.

The key to playables’ success is the interactivity and the fact that users feel included. It drives their attention because it brings them inside the process. And once they’ve tried your app, it’s easier for them to see how much they like it.

5. In-game rewarded ads

Making video ads is not just about the content; it’s also about where you advertise it. While it is well-known that a video ad should be adapted to its placement, an Instagram ad and a TikTok ad won’t (and shouldn’t) look the same.

Mobile games’ success has kept on growing in the past few years, and it’s now at the heart of mobile advertising. According to The Drum, 93% of media buyers intend to run in-game advertising by 2025.

After all, in-game advertising is particularly effective. For starters, mobile gamers are quite receptive to new advertising content, even more so when it comes to rewarded ads. A Walnut Unlimited study ordered by Meta shows that 79% of mobile developers consider rewarded video ads as their most effective ad format).

If you think this type of ad placement is more suited to advertise mobile gaming, it is not. You can advertise all kinds of apps this way (and reach your target audience while they’re in a relaxed state). Marketing Brew found out that even big publishers advertise their articles in in-game ads!

In-game ads are tied to a sense of relaxation and playfulness that comes with gaming. So you’ll be catching your potential audience at a good time — even more so with rewarded ads since they don’t pop up out of the blue; rather, users actually choose to click on that ad to win something in exchange. While viewers are in a very positive mindset, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it.

The mobile industry is fast-moving, and the same goes for mobile ad trends. There are hundreds of ways to create a video ad for your app or your mobile game. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Maybe your next conversion rate’s boost is right around the corner!

Think beyond user acquisition to boost your marketing ROI — add engagement and retention activities to your strategy. Ready to get fully equipped with the right tools? Get in touch with Pushwoosh Team.

Contact Pushwoosh Team