This is why people click on ads

It’s no secret that most of us spend a considerable amount of time online. There’s an endless library of content for us to enjoy, and most of it is easy and free to access whenever we want. As a mobile games marketer, part of my job is to figure out why people click. I spend the majority of my time thinking up the perfect sauce for successful ads. Because how do you convince someone that they should spend time in your game when there’s so much other content out there for them to enjoy?

Creating mobile game ads is not for the faint of heart. You will get humbled, and it will happen frequently. At the end of last year I wrote that about 1-3% of all tested ads are successful. To put this into perspective, for every 100 ideas I create and test, I will be told 97-99 times that my ideas suck. And since I’m the one doing the data analysis, I have the pleasure of telling that to myself.

Luckily, I like a challenge. I enjoy seeing the impact certain changes and variations can have on our metrics, and after 99 fails, that one win just ends up feeling that much sweeter. In my book, a (soon-to-be) successful marketer will see every win as an opportunity to learn, and every fail as an opportunity to learn even more.

No matter the outcome of the tests, my work never stops. If I just reached some awesome benchmark, I won’t sit around celebrating my success. I get back to the drawing board and try to improve on that idea and I’ll start on creating new ideas to follow that success.

So why do people click?

The simple truth is that people click on ads when they believe the product will bring them value. Not all value is created equal though. Value is not some universal truth. It’s different from person to person, and can depend on a lot of different factors. This is why it’s important to know what type of value your product will bring, and to create designs that will highlight that.

Now that you know what to find it’s time to start looking. Beware! What you find here could surprise you. You might presume to know that your game brings value A, but instead learn that the audience finds value B way more important. To figure out the truth, you have to test a lot of different ideas. And if you hope to learn anything from these tests, you have to design them with specific test goals in mind. Repeatedly ask yourself questions like: If ad 1 performs well, what does that mean for my understanding of the value of the product? And what can I learn from the worst performing ads in a test?

In my experience this is where you can make a great impact. This is where you throw away your own personal notion of value, to better understand that of your audience. And when you find something that works, keep thinking of ways to utilize that new learning.

Happy testing!