Gaming has entered into an era of change that requires the development of novel, personalized creative advertising as conventional targeting and heavy ad spend are no longer viable. Maximizing the impact of advertising budgets is a top challenge even for the best studios, but A/B testing and dynamic creative optimization won’t help you escape a local maximum.

Leading studios like Zynga, Wooga, and Tilting Point are embracing psychological insights as a key part of their creative optimization strategies. Understanding the intrinsic triggers and motivations that drive engagement enables creative teams to develop compelling narratives and visuals that predictably resonate with your audience. As performance and attribution becomes harder to measure and attribute due to data privacy constraints we need to rethink how to execute creative optimization. A/B testing is no longer enough. We need to start with deep audience understanding to optimize the potential success of creative from the start. This is where psychology comes in. This shift in the creative process amplifies the impact of your UA, decreases CPI, improves ROAS, but most importantly empowers teams to understand the “why” behind ad performance so successes can be scaled.

So how you integrate psychological tactics into your creative and acquisition engine? It’s not as complex as training your whole team in psychographics. The shortcut is having access to deep psychological audience insights. Until now, player segmentation based upon psychographics wasn’t possible. Transitioning to a psychologically-informed creative approach requires understanding the core principles that influence human behavior and decision-making. This style of development is empowering marketing teams to immediately optimize creative at three stages.

  1. New creative development – Don’t rely on in-market metrics to inform your creative direction. Develop new and predictably resonant creative hypotheses from the start.
  2. Improve underperforming creative – Maximize the impact and mileage out of your creative by fine-tuning lagging ads with psychological insights.
  3. Build a formula for repeatable success – Consistently execute campaigns that deliver low CPIs and high ROAS by understanding the psychographic traits that correlate with your best performing ads.

To illustrate the power of this creative approach, let’s turn to this example from the hit mobile game, Dragonvale. After 8 years in-market, the team had tried almost every conceivable piece of creative for their app store page. They turned to Solsten for help with the goal of increasing conversion on their store page. Solsten’s product, Traits, revealed that Dragonvale players scored unusually high for the values of family and caring. To date, the popular baby dragon character had been featured alone, the team had unintentionally been experimenting in a direction that wasn’t aligned with their audience’s top values. These insights helped the Dragonvale team move beyond their local maximum, resulting in the highest performing campaign in the history of the game AND increased CVR by a whopping 34%.

The most effective ad creatives don’t just showcase the game – they tap into the human desires like achievement, connection, and competition to name a few. By embracing these psychological foundations, your marketing efforts can achieve a new level of precision and effectiveness. Players are bombarded with choices, and traditional creative approaches are becoming less effective, understanding and leveraging psychological principles can be the key to not only surviving but thriving.

Solsten has changed the thinking around creative through psychology. The biggest surprise for many of our customers is how fast they can see results, says Eric Dawson, Senior Marketing Specialist. Most marketing teams know what has worked for them in the past and can see what is working for their competitors. However, generating repeated success is unlikely because there is only a focus on what is performing, without understanding the why behind those results.

Stop relying on A/B testing and gut feel to anchor your creative optimization. Mythical Games leveraged Solsten’s insights to reduce CPIs for NFL Rivals by 50%. Start improving your ad performance today. Learn why Solsten is used by top gaming developers and unpack the steps they take for creative optimization here.