5 tips to make an attention-grabbing video ad for your mobile game

Mobile Games

October 13, 2022

With over  2.2 billion mobile gamers worldwide, it can be tricky to grab their attention. There may be a lot of gamers in the world, but there are a whole lot of mobile games to compete with. How can you stand out from the crowd? We’ve prepared 5 tips to help you set your video ad apart!

Get colorful!

Don’t underestimate the power of colors in a video ad! Especially for a mobile game. Each color has a meaning and choosing which one you’re gonna use is pretty important. Of course, you should be careful to choose colors whose meaning will work with the goal of your game, they can also help you trigger specific emotions (red and yellow are known for triggering hunger for example which is always useful for a cooking game), and emotions are great to hold a user’s attention.

Some color recommendations according to their meaning

However, to grab the audience’s attention in the first few seconds, the most important one, it’s not just about color but also about contrast. For example, a dark background will make bold and primary colors pop. 

Screencap of a Merge Mansion ad

This Merge Mansion video ad starts with this scene, which plays around 3 main colors: black, red, and yellow. The black background makes the yellow and red pop, here the red is showing a sense of urgency (and drives attention to the fire you’ll see in the next scene). The colors are thought through to help the main character stand out naturally and drive the attention of the viewer to the action that’s not yet unfolding.

Screencap of a Merge Mansion ad

Their Wedding Day ad also plays on contrast. The background is cloudy and dark which makes the yellow cab and bright white dress stand out in the foreground. A bright blue sky would have dampened the contrast, so this cloudy weather is not only matching the sadness expressed by the character but also really highlights the character because all the light colors are at the forefront. 

A video ad’s first scene is always the most important one, so make sure you play your cards right, a little color can go a long way!

Keep stories at the heart of your ads

We already did an article dedicated to the power of storytelling, especially in mobile games ads. However, it bears repeating. The thunderous success of fake ads relies mostly on their strong emotional narratives. Sometimes those stories have nothing to do with the actual game, they don’t even show gameplay!

They rely on human nature’s deep connection to stories and their love for drama and resolutions. It’s a great way to grab their attention, they’ll wonder what’s happening and, more importantly, will want to know what comes next. 

source: Facebook’s The Big Catch Playbook

Storytelling will help you hook potential players thanks to their unique motivations. They are a lot of ways to classify player motivations, we go into further details here, the main thing to remember is that to keep the user engaged with your app you need to trigger emotions.

That’s why most mobile games show characters in their mobile ads, it’s an increasing trend for puzzle games. Characters increase user attention and engagement, they also channel emotions more easily. 

If you can bring characters (or actors if you’re more of a live-action person) in your ads, it’s easier for you to bring storytelling and emotions to your ad, and these are things that drive attention. Focus especially on your opening scene. 

If we go back to the Merge Mansion ad we’ve mentioned earlier in this post, you can see how the sense of urgency, fear, and high emotional stake for the character makes the viewer wants to keep watching the ad.

Right off the bat, you can see the siren lights from the firefighter truck in the background and the red tinge on the main character. You understand very quickly that there’s a fire or at least an emergency happening and that makes you want to know what exactly is going on. The frantic gestures of the character (she has to be held back) and expressive eyes keep you wondering what exactly is going on. 

You don’t have to rely on shock, there’s a whole array of drama and emotions you can explore! Strong emotions are the key to driving interest in your game. Don’t count them out. 

Crack a joke (or two)

Whatever you do, make it fun! If you want your ad to be memorable, add a bit of humor! Storytelling in ads is so successful because it rides a fine line between drama and humor. Make your audience laugh! 

According to TapJoy’s recent report, 57% of mobile gamers are most likely to interact with funny videos. In their first report 5 years ago it was only 44%. Humor plays well with most mobile games video ads. Because of the reduced length, you only have a few seconds to stimulate an emotional reaction from your audience: humor is a fast and efficient way to do so. 

Let’s take a look at Merge Mansion’s video ads, the whole thing hinges on several plot twists framing the sweet-looking grandma as a cunning person with a dark secret.

They’re so fun that some viewers have even made videos about the lore of Merge Mansion and Grandma Ursula has her own fan club. This twist on the image of a loving and doting grandma is pretty funny and it keeps the user on their toes. 

Use your brand to your advantage

No matter what kind of video ad you’re running, the main goal is to be recognizable. It’s not enough to just throw a logo at the beginning or the end of your video ad and hope for the best. You must weave branding throughout your video. You can do it in unexpected ways, it’s the small thing that can be the most memorable.

For example, Claire Rozain noticed that Royal Match personalized the hand in their video ads so that it would match one of their characters: the king.


It’s a great little nod that adds something unique to the ad while furthering the branded identity. It’s a small but powerful way to do branding! And it shows there are a lot of ways to showcase your brand identity without it being too much. 

Branding is not just the tidbits you can add, although you can have a lot of fun with those, but also the color scheme you’re choosing as well as your sound design and music choices. So take a good look at your branding and use elements of it to make your ad stand out. Just like Duolingo turned its terrifying mascot into a TikTok star, you never know which part of your brand identity could really boost your game’s success.

Don’t be afraid to get loud

This may be a more surprising advice. More video ads are known to be watched without sound, but again it depends mostly on where they’re being watched. If your ad is shown on Instagram or Facebook, the sound won’t be as relevant as it would be on YouTube or TikTok. 

Sometimes, a good sound design or voice-over can go a long way to grab attention. Audio can give your ad that last push you needed to convert.

For example, Tinder ran the same creative twice on YouTube, one had a voice-over and the other one did not, that was the only difference between the two. Turned out the one with the voice-over had a 12% higher install rate

Good audio is always an extra push that could make a difference with your audience. 

Last but not least, don’t take yourself too seriously, games are supposed to be fun and exciting so have fun with your video ads!

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