If you’re a mobile user acquisition manager or marketing creative lead, I bet you ran into production issues such as ads that poorly illustrate the product, execution that’s not matching your expectations, inconsistent communication across your other marketing channels such as the App Store page, and many more. 

So have we, and the learnings we’ve accumulated from 5 years of producing mobile creatives have led to the creation of our Ad Creatives Execution (ACE) framework. We use this framework today for companies such as Glu Mobile, Small Giant Games, Wargaming and other companies seeking creative and effective mobile ads.

Today, we’re bringing you this framework which is based on hundreds of creative projects, so that you can implement this process or pieces of it to attain better quality for less.

The following is a quick summary, you can download a more comprehensive guide as a PDF.

Tip 1: Understanding your mobile app or game 

Simon Sinek is right: start with WHY. Meet with your founder, product manager, and other key stakeholders to clarify why your app or game was created and why people should care about it. A strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP), will save you a ton of marketing budget as it will create natural interest among your audience. If you are having trouble finding the USP, read user reviews, journalist reviews and speak to your community managers – they know what users like!

Tip 2: Do market and competition research among mobile publishers 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just open your eyes. Study the store listings of your competitors (read reviews to learn what people like and dislike!), look into their FB Ads library, invest in access to ad intelligence platforms such as Apptica. Your focus should be to discover patterns which indicate something works and therefore should be repeated. Generally, don’t stick to your product category, look at what works elsewhere, and apply the principles. Gaming companies can get inspiration from apps and vice-versa. (Shameless promo, our Youtube show Mobile Ad Eaters is an entertaining way to stay on top of market trends.) 

Tip 3: Write a clear creative brief for marketing visuals 

One that your grandmother would understand. Having a brief in written form forces you to get clear on what you are requesting. Make sure to add inspirational videos and other references to better help the creative team understand production quality, visual style, and pacing. The numbers from user acquisition campaigns should be “translated” to a language designers can understand, however, it’s also worth investing in educating your creative team so they know what IPM / CTR / install rate means. Then brief the team in person, provide context, give them space to ask questions.

Tip 4: Develop a mobile creative strategy to define your playing field

This will help you see the big picture and define the marketing rules for any output such as a mobile ad or store listing design. To develop the strategy you will need to determine what motivates your users/players and also what visuals relate to the motivators and USP. The creative strategy provides a direction, sets the message in stone while the form (visuals and specific copy of an ad or screenshots) needs to be tested. Therefore, it is even more important to set some creative rules in order to maintain consistency and achieve effective user flow through the marketing funnel.

Tip 5: Don’t polish your mobile ad creatives right away 

80% is good enough for the first version of your new ad creative. Wait with extra polishing until you see the videos are performing well. This not only saves time and reduces the frustration of your design team but most importantly it allows you to test faster which leads to quicker identification of winning creatives. Also, high production quality doesn’t necessarily improve the performance of a creative, sometimes it’s quite the opposite. This is also because user-generated content attracts people’s attention better these days and nice visuals might indicate you’re watching an ad – which is often not desirable.

If you want to improve your ad creatives production process and develop ads with a higher chance of being successful, here’s a full guide on the mobile ad creatives production process.

Tip 6: Collect insights from variant testing and iterate only the best performers  Without testing, you are shooting in the dark with your ads and discarding important insights that could help you bring in a lot more users if applied to new concepts. If you are just starting out with ad creatives, then be prepared to have a lot of videos that may not perform very well. Generally, we see about 1 in every 10 to 20 new creatives outperform your top creatives. 

You will need at least 5 to 10 concepts for a new app. Don’t get discouraged if you are struggling to find a successful ad – it’s really hard to know what your users want.
Once you discover a creative that is performing well, create variants and tag each element in your campaign naming structure so you learn what is behind the performance. Then design new ads based on collected insights.


To sum up: If you will understand your product well, do your research on types of ads, competitors and trends, write a good brief, create a bullet-proof strategy, produce a concept based on that strategy and you will test your ads and iterate the best performers, then you can be sure you’ve done maximum for your mobile app/game ads to be effective and successful. Good luck!