1. Fake mobile game ads are not uncommon today
Typically mobile game ads will show the most exciting features of the game and the gameplay, but not every ad, only the decent ones. What is annoying is that some others don't show the real gameplay in the game, which are the annoying fake mobile game ads.
I guess you've already seen many examples of fake mobile game ads when surfing the Internet. Today not only mobile games but also Youtube or some social platforms like Facebook or Twitter, are usually plagued with advertisements for mobile games. The ads appear as long as you're connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
Let's take a look at some examples.
(Click HERE to watch more ad creatives)
1.2 Puzzles & Survival
Another representative example is Puzzles & Survival. Chances are that you've seen ads for similar zombie-themed strategy games if you often play mobile games. After seeing several of its advertisements, I have outlined the uniform pattern of these advertisements: The main character is a man in his underpants. Along the way to escaping from the zombies, he recruits women in sexy clothes to company him and gets sophisticated weapons and clothing to fight the zombies by solving match-three puzzles. But then some or all of his companions are attacked by the zombies because he finishes the puzzles too slow. In the end, he is caught up and the game fails because he can't solve the quite easy puzzle. When it comes to the game players download after viewing the ads, it's completely different. It's just a match-three game with minimal story and some SLG game elements. On the Google Store page for this game you can see some comments complaining like this: "Look at the ads seem to be very fun, download only to find a completely different game, not fun", "Fooled by idiotic ads".
(Click HERE to watch more ad creatives)
Many players consider ads like these to be a total fraud. There's no doubt that it's an undignified way to attract users and leads to a great number of players feeling frustrated and indignant after downloading and playing a game far from their expectations.
2. Why do these fake ads exist?
It is possible that for a short time these false advertisements contribute a lot to the number of downloads of the game, but it cannot be ignored that their negative impacts can be long-lasting. For players who are attracted to the advertised gameplay and download the game, most of them delete the game after finding out that the game content does not match the advertisement. Players will be disappointed with this game company and will reject its other game titles. The use of fake mobile game ads tarnishes the company's reputation and makes players who have fallen for it turn away from it, which is not conducive to player retention and developing high loyalty players.
Obviously, the game companies could not be unaware of the harm of using such misleading advertisements. If the above is true, then why do the game companies still do this? I'll try to dissect the issue from a few angles.
Reason 1: Attractive New Packaging
The appearance of misleading advertising is mainly due to companies focusing too much on profit and quick customer acquisition. For some game genres that have been popular for a long time, such as match-three games, players may feel that their game mechanics are similar, except that they change the style of the blocks, such as candy, fruit, everyday items, etc. By following the hot topics of current affairs or creating novel gameplay (at least in advertising), companies can attract gamers to play their games much easier than if they look like some kind of game that players have gotten tired of playing. This strategy of repackaging the game through advertising tends to work well for both new and experienced players. This allowed some players who would not have downloaded the game to install it, increasing the number of downloads of the game. But the question remains: if players download the game and find that they are fooled by the ads and uninstall the game, then what is the point of the game company just having a large number of downloads?
Reason 2: Cast a Wide Net
Probably for most people, after downloading the game and starting to play it, they find that the game does not meet their expectations of the genre and choose to delete the game. Even with a vast number of players deleting these mobile games after being disillusioned, there are still a number of players who will find that they like the game and keep it. Without the wonderful advertising that initially drew them in, these players often would download the game at all. Let's assume that 90% of players deleted the game after discovering that the ads were a trick, but that 10% still kept the game and continued to invest time and money. This can be a money-making strategy as long as the ads have enough exposure. I call it the cast a wide net strategy. But what about the 90%? Doesn't the company care about its reputation which has been tarnished by fake mobile game ads?
Reason 3: Market Research
Sometimes game developers know that placing fake ads can discourage players, but they mainly want to do market research through such fake ads. This allows them to know what types of games players are interested in. Based on this, the next time a new game is released it can appear more precisely in random ads to their target masses, or the game developer can make a game based on the player's preferences.
Reason 4: Data Thief
There is also a minority of cases where some developers don't use the game as a means of profit. They go all-in on animated ads just to do whatever it takes to get users to download the game. They are not worried about microtransactions or maintaining a good image, they just want your private data. You only have to download the game once and open some permissions to them, and the data on your phone is at risk of being stolen.
Reason 5: Plight of Small Companies
There is another controversial situation. As the current market competition of mobile games is fierce, there must be high-quality game works to attract players to continue to play, otherwise, the initial investment costs may not be able to recover. Generally, large companies have more capital and strength and have established a certain brand effect, which will have more advantages in the promotion of new games. For smaller game companies or newly created game teams, they choose to use false advertising to attract players, partly because they do not have the capital to support them and hope to use this method to stand out from the competition. Whether they have other better methods available is something that deserves further thought.
3. Summary & Outlook
A trend that is now apparent is that customer acquisition is king in mobile gaming. The market is full of options available to gamers, and players are going to become pickier and pickier about what games they play. With so many options for players to choose from, publishers need to do everything they can to make their games stand out from the competitors. From the developer's point of view, the use of false advertising for profit may be understandable, but it is absolutely unacceptable for both the players and the entire industry ecology.
For players who see an eye-catching advertisement, it may be necessary to check the screenshots and reviews of the game in the Google Play or App Store before downloading it immediately to confirm whether the plot of the advertisement matches the content of the game. What's more, remember to download the game from the official channels. If you want to ask, is there no high-quality game using false advertising? Not necessarily. But I think for those ads that involve storylines like house-repairing, character-saving, choose your own story or something, it's wise to keep an eye out for more information.
For game companies that use false ads to advertise, when players' patience is exhausted and their trust in the company goes to zero, the only thing waiting for them is to be abandoned by the market. When the phenomenon of false advertising proliferates in the mobile game market, I am afraid that corresponding laws and regulations need to be introduced to restrain it.
Needless to say, the high quality of the game itself is the most important thing to attract players and bring sustainable income. But it is worth mentioning that outstanding game advertising can add to the marketing benefits. So how to make excellent mobile game ad creatives? AppGrowing will continue to share some of the techniques to create amazing ad creatives for some time to come. Welcome to keep following our blog!
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