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Video has become king in mobile advertising. This year, marketers will spend 49% more on mobile video. Gamers, habituated to rewarded video, now voluntarily choose to watch ads when given the chance.

So, advertising your game or app is best done with a video. However, video ads have one drawback: they’re more expensive to produce, and thus less forgiving of mistakes.

Whether you’ve been running video ads since day one or you’re just getting started, following these tips for structuring your ad will protect you from poor performance.

➊ Keep it short

A typical video ad lasts 30 seconds or less. Staying within the typical length is a good rule to ensure users don’t tap away before your call to action.

Despite the short length, you shouldn’t always cram your best material into the first half of the ad. Instead, use those previous first seconds to create tension or anticipation that will be resolved later on. Former Storm8 video producer Dillon Becker found that most quality conversions fall between the 20-26 second mark. A progress bar that indicates the ad’s length helps stave off viewer impatience.

➋ Show exciting gameplay

Ads that show the game in action often perform better than a video that uses non-gaming elements. Users may be impressed by concept art and storytelling, but if they don’t know what the actual game looks like by the end of the ad, your conversions will be less than optimal.

The gameplay should be chosen strategically too. Sylvain Gauchet, co-founder of video studio Apptamin, recommends choosing elements that appear in advanced stages of your game, to impress and inspire potential players.

Finally, text is key to mobile marketing, since most users watch ads on mute — but text is a double-edged sword. Developers can use thought bubbles or text banners to explain what’s going on, but they have to be snappy. “You can’t show someone a long sentence with seven or eight words. It might be safer to just skip over a feature that’s tough to explain and let people just get the gist of your game,” says Gauchet.

➌ Have a strong end card

For landscape videos watched in portrait mode, it’s better to move the video to the top of the screen, clearing the bottom space for relevant app information. The CTA button should be larger for vertical ads to make it easier to click when playing with one hand.

While you can find CTA buttons in shades of orange and green, a good color for new advertisers is red. Red elicits urgency and is more eye-catching than calmer colors like blue or green. But developers should consider if the color matches and complements their game’s color pallette.

Lastly, include some sort of social proof on your end card, such as your star rating or a snippet of your most glowing review. Nearly all users factor in app store ratings when deciding to download an app, and even big publishers like Supercell rely heavily on Twitch streamers to advocate their game.

➍ Experiment as you go

Mobile is defying stereotypes. Advertisers who assumed the small screen was inferior to a PC or monitor are finding that mobile users are a good audience. For instance, Google discovered that users on mobile have a higher view rate for longer videos. Mobile viewers also don’t need an obvious plot. In fact, an ad that goes against traditional storytelling structure can perform better.

So don’t be afraid to experiment if your budget allows for it. Red may work well in general, but maybe another color works better. Even a length of 23-29 seconds isn’t a hard and fast rule.

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