Creative Insights for Mobile Programmatic


In today’s digital world, we are constantly swamped with ads, which is why it’s essential to focus on getting your creative right, making sure you connect with your users with relevant and engaging ad creative. Ad creative is the backbone of mobile advertising, and it is crucial for marketers to continue to innovate and serve compelling ad creatives to achieve superior results.

Quick links: 

  1. Ad Formats
  2. Creative Strategies for Gaming Apps
  3. Creative Strategies for Non-Gaming Apps
  4. General Creative Strategies 
  5. Why Partner with Aarki 

The industry has come a long way since static banner ads, resulting in many ad formats to choose from. We discuss the most popular ad formats to help you figure out which one fits best with your creative.

Ad Formats

Knowing the optimal ad format for your app and target audience will help you scale your campaign and deliver against your key performance indicators (KPIs).


Banner ads are one of the most popular ad formats, as their quick-to-digest content makes them perfect for brand awareness campaigns. This format is the simplest, yet most effective way for users to see your ad. There are two sizes: Small Banner (320x50) and Medium Rectangle Banner (300x250). 

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Playables are ads with mini-games that are in-app advertising units that provide an interactive game the user can play. This ad format is common for gaming publishers as they provide users with a free trial of their game, but non-gaming brands have also started taking advantage of this ad format to drive more engagement. 

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Interstitial Display

Interstitial ads take up the entire screen of a mobile or tablet device. These are usually placed at a transition point of an app, where there is a natural break in the content, which means they are less likely to negatively interrupt the user experience.

revamped adseasonal


Video ads are more entertaining compared to still imagery, as advertisers can utilize dynamic features such as animation and audio. This is great for storytelling and tutorials to give users a better overview of your app's features. Learn more about the different types of video ads here.

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There are two kinds of Native ads: Native Display and Native Video. The first includes only static elements such as imagery and text. These ads blend in with the rest of the content of the app, making them look more integrated than your traditional banner ad. Native Video is also a less intrusive option because it is placed within an app or feed in a way that doesn’t disrupt the browsing experience of the user.

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A successful campaign always begins with proper planning and research, so to help you we have compiled a list of creative insights to consider for user ad engagement per ad format and vertical:


Discover more insights on user ad engagement for each of the verticals below:

social casino_iconpuzzle_iconrpg iconmarketplace verticalshopping_icon

The next key item is deciding your creative strategy and understanding the best ways to communicate the intention of the app. You should consider questions such as:

  • What is your way in?
  • How do you get your point across quickly?
  • How do you easily attract users?

Below are lists of creative strategies for gaming and non-gaming apps that you can try with your next mobile advertising campaign.

Creative Strategies for Gaming Apps

table 1 (2)

Word Games

  • Show a failed gameplay
  • Promote as a relaxing game
  • Highlight the cognitive benefits 

Casual Apps 

  • Provide tutorials for how the game is played
  • Present a snippet of a mission or quest
  • Showcase unique features of the app

Social Casino 

  • Use flashy and eye-catching graphics
  • Use audio to ​​show jackpot announcements and falling coins
  • Use elements such as slots and falling coins 


  • Focus on character designs, especially if it is a character collection game
  • Feature quizzes that reveal possible character matches for the user
  • Show the limited-time rewards obtainable during the season

Creative Strategies for Non-Gaming Apps

table 2 (2)


  • Show photos of doctors
  • List the benefits of the app
  • Keep it simple and straightforward

Live Stream, Live Video, and Live Chat

  • Showcase attractive users
  • Present different features and uses of the app 


  • Showcase real scenes from the app
  • Shows how the app works and its functions
  • Feature testimonials and user reviews

General Creative Strategies

There are three additional creative strategies that can be applied to any type of campaign and vertical: personalization, seasonality, and localization. These strategies are assured to help you produce engaging ads that resonate, attract and convert your target audience.


Ad personalization is a powerful strategy that improves advertising relevance for users and increases ROI for advertisers. Personalized ads are based on users’ interests and past behavior. Delivering this kind of approach will help you gain users’ attention and entice them back to your app. 

By intersecting users’ app attributes, like their engagement, purchase level, the level reached, wallet balance, and more, you can enhance the user experience and drive higher engagement rates, overall increasing CTR for your mobile app.


To grow your app, it is key to take advantage of seasonal and holiday trends by tailoring your marketing campaigns to these different periods. This also gives you an opportunity to display your festive spirit.

Other strategies you can try out are: 

  • Changing the background and using seasonal colors 
  • Making your characters relevant 
  • Making the look and messaging of the ad festive
  • Use data-driven ad creatives

Although the biggest holidays take place every Q4, be sure to have seasonal campaigns all year round to tap into regional celebrations all over the world. This is a great strategy to broaden your app appeal globally.


Tapping into seasons means tapping into different cultures. Location-based advertising gives you the possibility of getting into new territories on the track of wider audience reach. This means you should alter your ad’s message based on your target users’ geographic locations. 

Different cultures have different tastes. A creative that appeals to North American audiences may not appeal to Asian or European audiences. True ad localization takes into account the cultural preferences of the target audience. So, a truly localized ad should reflect this difference beyond mere translations.

At Aarki, we believe that localization is essential to mobile advertising campaigns. We offer the best technology features and capabilities to execute smarter, faster, and more effective ad creatives.

Gain regional insights from our library of resources: 

Once you have produced your ad creatives and applied the right creative strategies, you are now ready to run your ad. The most crucial step comes next: testing. Data should inform your ad creative. You need to monitor every creative to gain insights on how to improve your campaign, measuring performance across a range of metrics such as CPI, CTR, and ROI.

Test, Test, Test!

Measuring campaign performance is essential to track your progress towards your marketing goals. There is a fine line between effective advertising and irritating advertising. Too many impressions of repetitive creative can drive away potential high lifetime value (LTV) users. On the other hand, showing the right creative in the right placement can pave the way to success. 

The ability to quickly analyze the impact of your campaign strategies on audience conversion should not be underestimated. At Aarki we do this through a methodical process, which you can find here

Marketers are aware that audience preferences are constantly changing. The days of “one size fits all” or, in this case, “one ad fits all,” have ended. This challenges the mobile advertising industry to test and optimize to keep on top of all these developments.

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing is the most advanced form of creative optimization that allows testing of multiple variants of each ad element to determine the most effective combination for a single ad. Rather than just changing one ad element, it is possible to change a group of different elements to see which combinations perform better for the target users.

After testing and comparing the performance of the creative variants through multivariate testing, it is possible to identify the best performing ad creative. There will always be a creative that performs better than the rest. We at Aarki, call this the “champion” creative. This champion creative tells us what direction to take for the next iteration. This set of new creatives we call “challengers.” We roll out these creatives and then monitor to see if the challenger creative will outperform the champion creative.

After doing multiple cycles of testing, you should be able to determine a clear winning creative formula. This is when your analytics team can step in to optimize the campaign placements to help you make the overall performance even better. 

Creative Refresh

An important part of running a successful app marketing campaign is knowing when to refresh your ad creative. Nowadays, ads are everywhere, so for the creative to be unique and grab the user’s attention it should be customized to their unique interests to avoid ad fatigue. Doing so will not only help you acquire and retarget more users, but it will also help you get the most ROI.

With multivariate testing and replacing weak ads with stronger ones, you’ll always have fresh ad creatives that will attract new opens and installs.

Why Partner with Aarki

Aarki’s mission is to build the best performing mobile app marketing ecosystem by connecting users to apps they love, and by delivering the strongest performance to advertisers and publishers. Creativity is at the core of our mobile advertising offering and we continue to innovate, serving compelling ad creatives that achieve superior results. With our extensive creative expertise and Aarki Studio, our proprietary creative suite, we’re able to compose hyper-personalized ads that dynamically optimize messaging to an individual user at the point of ad serving.

If you are ready to level up your ad creative with Aarki, check our whitepaper here to get more information on creative insights and best practices that have proved their success in user acquisition and re-engagement campaigns.

About Aarki

Aarki is a 100% real-time bidding (RTB) demand-side platform (DSP). We help companies grow and reengage their mobile users, using machine learning, data, and large customer reach. Aarki has run many retargeting campaigns utilizing a variety of ad formats, including native, video, interactive, playable, and interstitial.

Leveraging a rich database of audience and user engagement data, Aarki’s data scientists use robust machine learning algorithms to find audiences who share similar interests and are most likely to engage and spend with the app. This enables Aarki to consistently deliver strong app marketing performance no matter the app marketer’s retargeting goals.

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Topics: Creative Insights