Facebook Playable Ads: What Are They?


Kevin Urrutia




July 10, 2024

Are you a game developer looking for a fast and effective way to get new gamers to your app? Have you developed a mobile app for your business and want to get your first download and installs?

Today, let’s review Facebook playable ads and learn how you can use them to advertise your game or business app.

What Are Facebook Playable Ads?

Facebook playable ads are a unique way to offer a “try-before-you-buy” experience. For advertisers and businesses looking for a strategy to drive new or more engaged users to their app, playable ads have a distinct advantage over other types of ads.

Facebook Playable Ads are:

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  1. Immersive & Inviting. Playable ads are featured in people’s News Feed and invite them to tap and try instead or watch and read.
  2. Interactive Experience. Because playable ads offer a demo version of your app, you can engage people from Facebook by interacting with them before they download.
  3. Targeted User Engagement. Playable ads have a high level of engagement, driving more interested users to your app and maximizes your ad spend by attracting people who will use the app more often and potentially spend money in-app.

Instead of spending marketing dollars on static images and explainer videos, people browsing their Facebook can get direct access to a fun, engaging experience with your games or app.

As of right now, playable ads are a popular choice for game developers with new applications emerging for other industries.

Playable Ads vs. App Install Ads

In August 2018, playable ads were a new feature added to Facebook’s App Install Ads. The primary focus was to help businesses and advertisers achieve more downloads to potential users who would not only use their app, but also spend money.

When you review some of the success stories from Facebook, you’ll discover just how successful playable ads can be.

For example, Glu Mobile developed a playable ad to optimize their ad spend for potential users who would be highly-engaged with their app. Their “Home Design” demo provided people who saw and interacted with the ad a chance to design a home in a way to improve their design skills and discover inspiration to apply to their real life.


Playable ads start with a lead-in video of the app followed by an interactive or playable version. To start playing, all you have to do is tap the screen when the remote icon appears. When the demo is complete, that user will see a call-to-action to download the game/app.

These ads can be placed in News Feeds, Instagram Feeds, and Stories with the “playable feature” only available for News Feeds ( other placements feature lead-in video only).

When compared to a control video ad, Glu Mobile’s playable ad resulted in:

Why Use Facebook Playable Ads?

Facebook mobile install ads in playable format are a highly-effective ad format that targets users most likely to:

  1. Download your app;
  2. Spend (more) money in-app.

To deliver on this “promise”, Facebook has rolled out two additional features with their Facebook playable ads: Retention Optimization and Value Optimization.

Retention Optimization

Retention optimization is the percentage of players who return to your game/app after certain periods of time (i.e. days, weeks, etc.).

In the “App Economy” there are more than 1,000 apps that get uploaded to Google Play and Apple App Store each day. To make things more difficult, more than 65% of mobile smartphone users download 0 apps per month.

Yup, you read that correctly: ZERO.


Yet, if we do the math, using 4.7 billion smartphone users in 2019, that’s nearly 1.6 billion people downloading at least 1 app per month.

From a glass “almost” half-full perspective, there’s an average of 3 apps being downloaded per month.

However, there’s still a greater hurdle in the way for app developers ( especially game developers). There is a significant drop in retention over the first 90 days from downloading an app.

In fact, a report on Mobile Customer Retention showed that only 25% of people continue to use the app after download (that’s 75% who download the app but never use it after installation).


Luckily, Facebook has made a commitment to Retention Optimization to analyze what impacts retention and how to improve it. In your Facebook Ads Manager Dashboard, you’ll be able to analyze:

  • Number of clicks on your ads that open a playable experience (use this to calculate click-through rate).  
  • Number of times the interactive element of your playable experience starts (use this to calculate when people drop-off between opening your playable experience vs. interacting with the playable experience).
  • Number of clicks from the playable ad that leads to an app store ( use this to understand how many clicks lead to a download or purchase).

Facebook has reported that playable ads have resulted in apps being opened 60% more often with 6x more likely for in-app purchases.

Value Optimization

An additional feature for Facebook’s playable ads includes: Value Optimization with Minimum Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

With this, you can set the lowest acceptable ROAS which Facebook uses to automatically adjust your bids to deliver the at least or more value throughout your campaign.

When to use this feature:

  • Reaching audiences with more than 2M people per ad set
  • Business goal of maximizing purchase value from conversions or app installs
  • Maintain a steady ad campaign that delivers optimal results on ad budget

What’s Next: Develop & Deploy Playable Ads

To learn more about designing your playable ads, check out Facebook’s guide for gaming marketers to reach players.

If you already have a playable ad that’s ready to advertise, all you need is a Facebook Business Page and your Facebook Ads Manager account to get started.


Are you ready to start a campaign that introduces potential users with an interactive experience to engage with your game/app? Come schedule a time to discuss strategies for optimizing ad spend or target your ads for more app plays, app downloads, and in-app purchases — LET’S TALK!  

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