Gamesforum Meets: Robert Hoeft, Head of Playable Ads, Boombit

Gamesforum Meets: Robert Hoeft, Head of Playable Ads, Boombit image
By Josh Vowles 6 June 2024

As Head of Playable Ads at Boombit, Robert and his team have proven the importance of playable ads in the UA process. With over a decade of experience in game development as a software engineer, he focuses on creating advanced 3D playable ads, emphasizing the necessity of good tools, automation, and a data-driven approach through data analysis and A/B testing.

Thanks for joining me Rob! Can you introduce yourself? 

Hi, I’m Robert. I’m the Head of Playable Ads at Boombit, a mobile game developer and publisher with over 320 people on board.

What led you to work in mobile gaming?

I entered the mobile game market in 2010, creating my first games for the iPhone. As a programmer, I always wanted to make games. Together with a friend, we built our own game engine in C++ and developed all of the tools ourselves. That was a really fun time.

What is your current go to mobile game?

I don't want to be that guy promoting his own games, but honestly, the truth is that I've been spending the most time recently playing Dawn of Ages and Hero Legacy. Besides that, my passion is chess, and it's probably the most frequently used app on my phone.

Head of Playables is a unique title, can you share a bit more about Boombit’s success in playable ads? And how your role came to be?

At Boombit, over the last two years I have built a playable ads team from scratch. From humble beginnings, we have now grown the department to 20 members. Initially, Boombit barely utilized playable ads, but they now constitute a significant part of our total user acquisition spend and play a crucial role in many of our game campaigns. This success is largely due to our strong tech programmers, who have developed multiple advanced tools for both development and data analysis.

Let’s dive into some more best practices for playables, can you share some insight on playable iteration and ideation?


Creating playable ads is all about good research, planning, and constant tweaking. Here are some tips to help you nail it:

  1. Research - Since producing playables requires more time, it's important to prepare well. The basics include gathering data from the Product Owner, such as: 

    - The best-performing video creatives in the game's campaigns.

    - Analysis of ads and playables from top competitors.

    - What players like the most about the game.

    - Player demographics.

  1. Game Familiarity - It's crucial that everyone involved in the production, especially the developers, play the game and understand its feel. The feeling is the most important part of a playable.


  1. Comparison - Frequently compare the playable to the original game during the production process.


  1. Planning - Plan ahead for the parameters you'd like to test.


  1. Churn Points - Identify churn points in the playable.


  1. Iteration - Iterate to improve your interaction/impression and shop click/game end metrics. Focus on optimizing your start screen and end screen.


  1. Variation - Always iterate with different characters, environments, and outcomes.


  1. Quality - Quality matters! We often see that better-looking 3D assets, which resemble those in the original game, generate better results for us. That's why we've built technology for better compression and optimization, allowing us to fit more high-quality assets into the 5 MB limit.

How can you use playables to means test new game concepts and ideas? Is this something the team is actively exploring?

Yes, our team is actively exploring this approach to refine and innovate our game ideas. Playable ads are perfect for testing different mechanics, controls, visual styles—basically anything that can be demonstrated and played in about 30 seconds. They allow us to quickly gauge player interest and gather feedback without the risk of breaking anything in the original game. This method is much faster than releasing a new version of the game, making it an efficient way to explore new concepts. 

What are the team doing to keep up with trends while turning around high quality playables? 

We follow various sources and steps to stay ahead. Internally, our team conducts research and regularly exchanges knowledge with other marketing teams, as well as our publishing and UA departments. Being part of BoomBit, we also benefit from access to internal data analysis tools, reports, and presentations, which are incredibly helpful. Handling this task alone would be very challenging.

When it comes to playables, we’re not solely focused on following existing trends. I believe playables are still a relatively unexplored method of advertising. Instead, we concentrate on discovering what works best for us and creating our own trends.

What can our audience expect to hear from you on our ad creative panel at Gamesforum Hamburg?

I'll be sharing insights on the innovative approaches we take at BoomBit to create high-quality playable ads. Expect to hear about our research methods, how we leverage internal tools and data, and the importance of collaboration across teams. Plus, I'll delve into best practices for playables, including ideation, iteration, and the role of quality in driving user engagement.

Last question, what are you most excited about from your time in Hamburg?

Connecting with fellow industry professionals and exchanging ideas. It's a fantastic opportunity to learn from others, share our own experiences with playable ads, and explore new trends and innovations in mobile gaming.


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