A look at video creatives from top fitness apps
Mobile action posts
January 15, 2019
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In this third post of our series focusing on ad creatives used for different kind of apps, we take a look at what kind of app install campaigns fitness apps are running on in-app ad networks.
With new year resolutions, January is a big month for fitness apps. But the competition is high pretty much all year round so it’s interesting to see how they advertise.
If you want to check out previous post from this series:
To do this analysis we use ad intelligence data shared by Mobile Action. This data gives us a sense of what kind of ad creatives they used on 7 different networks: Facebook Audience Network, AdMob (for Universal App Campaigns), Unity, Vungle, ironSource, AdColony and Chartboost.
The fitness apps analyzed
The most data we have from Mobile Action is for Android, so we focused on some of the biggest advertisers amongst Android fitness apps. A lot of ads are not specifically targeting Android or iOS so creatives are often the same. Here are the apps we looked at and their rank in the Health & Fitness category:
Which ad networks and with what kind of creatives
General stats about their advertising
Like for most apps, Facebook Audience Network is the ad network most used for User Acquisition. The different apps don’t only use FAN of course, they also advertise heavily on Facebook feed, Instagram feed and Instagram Stories. Often with the same creatives, or slight variations. The only other ad network really standing out is AdMob, for UAC campaigns.
Note: what’s shown in the chart above is the number of different ads, which does not necessarily translate into proportional budget spend.
We can see that most publishers use video creatives more than images in their top app install ads, with the exception of BetterMe. One of the reasons might be that video is a great way to show body transformation, or people working out and the types of exercices the apps offer.
However they all use at least one image ad creative, so images are not to be discarded completely.
No surprise when it comes to the video ads aspect ratios: square 1:1 dominates. This can probably be explained by the fact that most campaigns are on Facebook. The ad creatives are most likely optimized for Facebook feed ads (square to portrait 2:3) or Instagram feed ads (square to portrait 4:5), and then also used on Facebook Audience Network (FAN).
For AdMob/UAC, landscape 16:9 is historically the preferred aspect ratio (this might change with more square and portrait ads on YouTube).
That said, for these apps, it might be interesting to also test portrait 9:16 videos specifically on FAN: the videos (rewarded or not) will often be displayed in portrait apps and a fully vertical video would be more immersive (than square or landscape) in that case.
There are a few main types of fitness app video ads that we found when analyzing the top 5 ads:
- Exercise-oriented video ads, showing one or several specific workout exercises;
- Inspirational workout video ads, also conveying benefits about the app (often through copy);
- Concept-oriented video ads, illustrating the unique approach of the app (audio, psychology, etc.);
- Body transformation video ads.
Our favorite creatives from the most used video ads
Now let’s look at specific ad creatives that we believe work well.
Amongst the top 5 video ad creatives that have been used the most by each of the apps (by number of impressions), we selected the 4 we like the most and that are representative of what seems to perform well.
This ad is a good example of an exercise-oriented video.
In 3D animation, it first shows the overview of the workout (8 minute workout, something that seems doable) and then shows each exercise. For each exercise, you have the duration as well as the muscles it focuses on.
It’s a great way to get people that are interested in getting fit (yet don’t want to spend too much time) into trying this specific workout. And to get them to save the video or try to learn more about the app so they can do the workout when the time comes.
The square format allows to take more screen real estate in a user feed, and therefore especially good for Facebook feed ads.
- The 3D animation
- The content-focused approach
It would be interesting to also try:
- Branding the video (even if small), so people using it get reminded of the app
- If used specifically on the Facebook Audience Network, a portrait 9:16 and a landscape 16:9 version
This is the video most used on in-app ad networks (in this case, Vungle) by Freeletics (this excludes Facebook/Instagram feed ads).
This one uses high-quality live action shots of people working out. The way the editing is done (quick cuts, movements, focal points, etc.) makes for a very dynamic video.
To reinforce messaging (“gain muscles without equipment”), Freeletics added very explicit copy along the shots.
To illustrate that the app can be used by both genders, they’re portraying a man and a woman. This also adds a “collaboration” motivation: you can use the app with a friend or a significant other.
As you can see in one of their Facebook ads below, Freeletics uses the same recipe in various ads. The same kind of videos are also used on Instagram (both Stories – in portrait 9:16 – and feed).
Freeletics seems to address mostly people already working out (or fit at least): this does not look like beginner stuff.
- The professional shots and editing
- The clear message through copy
- Showing the app partly during the video
This is an ad Aaptiv has been using pretty intensely. It has more than 2.3 million views as a Facebook feed ad (here is how to see competitors’ Facebook feed ads), and some variations of it (mostly text changes) total more than 6 million views as well on Facebook (and close to 100k on Instagram).
It’s an interesting one because unlike most ads, it uses humor. It shows a way too enthusiastic runner in order to then make what the app has to offer accessible/relatable. The concept is: if you’re somewhat intimidated by workout fanatics, Aaptiv can help you get started. The video would be even better if none of the runners had headphones at the beginning.
The live action shots are not as high quality as Freeletics, but the editing and dynamic copy make for a compelling video.
Aaptiv also uses video ads that show specific workout exercises (also with copy on each shot), before showing more details about the app. This complements well the video we’re showing above.
- Use of humor to get the point across (however this can be hit or miss)
- The “storytelling” both through video and copy
- The dynamic music
- Showing the app in the call to action
With 18 million views on Facebook (as a Facebook feed ad), this seems to be a clear winner for Noom.
The video starts with attention-grabbing copy that introduces a new concept for weight loss. The weight loss aspect is also reinforced by showing someone on the scale and the weight going down (somehow it goes back up after a while though – not sure why).
In the following seconds, we are shown the app and understand more about Noom’s approach. Then, we see 2 customer video testimonials.
Finally, there is a call to action that invites viewers to get started by taking a quiz in the app.
Text in all the video “scenes” grabs the attention and makes it easy to follow even with the sound off (important for Facebook).
Although not all video shots have high quality (probably a plus for the testimonials, but maybe not for the rest), this video definitely drives the point home.
- The attention-grabbing copy
- The structure of the video: reinvention -> concept explainer -> testimonials -> call to action
We hope this post gave you some good insights into what kind of creatives some of the top fitness apps use for their app install campaigns.
If you’re interested in seeing more ad intelligence data like this, check out the Mobile Action platform.
You have comments on these advertising strategies, the creatives or you want us to take a look at a specific niche? Leave us a comment below!