Skip to content

TreesPlease Games: Video game ads built to convert

• 31 January 2024

Services used:

  • Video
  • Digital advertising

Completion date:


United Kingdom

Who are TreesPlease Games?

TreesPlease Games (TPG) is a mobile video game production company based in the United Kingdom. ​TreesPlease Games don't just create mobile games, they also want to change the world, as the company donates resources to planting trees and supporting environmental causes around the world. 

Their flagship product is a merge game called Longleaf Valley (formerly known as Merge Wildwood). While mobile app stores are full of merge based games, Trees Please Games wanted to standout from the crowd. 

What was their problem?

TreesPlease Games reached out to our team to develop an animated mobile video game ad for their mobile game, Longleaf Valley.

The mobile video game ad space is littered with either dry, dull ads that just show gameplay, chaotic ads that barely make any sense in order to stand out and attract clicks, or "switch and bait" ads that show gameplay completely different to the game. 

Our client wanted an attention grabbing ad that showed off their compelling gameplay, meaningful story, cute artwork while attracting quality clicks from people who would play the game for the long term.

Additionally, as TreesPlease Games are a startup and new to the market, they still hadn’t run tests across many English-speaking markets. The client initially focussed on Brazil as a test market, but now wanted to turn their attention towards Australia, UK, and the US. So, they wanted ads that were purpose built to get results across these markets.

Their needs

Attention-grabbing video ads which demonstrates compelling gameplay.

Establish a presence in the Australian, UK, and US markets.

Generate more app installs and retention in players.

What we did

Our Refuel creative team worked with the folks at TPG to develop fresh and exciting new ideas to take Longleaf Valley up a gear. The team took a deep dive into the world of mobile video game ads to come up with ideas ranging from standard gameplay ads and narrative focused ads, to the environmental goals of TreesPlease Games and the higher purpose of the video game.

We worked with TreesPlease Games to develop three different types of ads for Longleaf Valley based on a different audience conversion angle - gameplay, narrative, and environmental. 

We created new concepts every week, together with multiple variants based on results from previous video campaigns.

This allowed us to keep ahead of the game, constantly improving on past campaigns and keeping their video ad strategy fresh and razor sharp. 

Gameplay ads


Showing the user the gameplay was a crucial step in getting more downloads for Longleaf Valley. 

In merge games, players need to drag identical or similar items and merge them together. Once completed, these items become new and improved items. It's not just the rewards that players like about merging games. It's what they like most about them. 

One of the things that makes merge games so appealing is their simple gameplay. Players can very quickly pick up a merge game and understand the mechanics. As a result, the learning curve is short because there are no complex mechanics that require lengthy explanations.

The other is instant gratification. When players merge items in these games, they create order out of chaos. This gives some players a special kind of satisfaction. Similar to clearing your room at the end.

Finally, merging players enjoy the simple progression mechanics of the game. They always know their path to the next level, so they always have a goal to work towards. 

Longleaf Valley is essentially competing for the same audience as Match-3, which has six times the audience and is still growing. It's not an easy UA battle for them to monetise and win at scale, and Longleaf Valley's gender distribution is fairly even - both genders love the game almost equally. More specifically, 52% of the players are female and 48% are male. If we look at the age of Longleaf Valley players, 45% of players are over 45 years old and 44% are between 25 and 44 years old. Only 11% of the players are younger than 24 years old.

Narrative ads

In addition to gameplay advertising, we also worked with the client to deliver animated game ads that focused on the narrative and story behind the video game. 

This narrative focus helped add to the gameplay experience. This showed that the user has more than the game mechanics to keep them invested in playing the game. 

We created several different animations for the client to highlight the narrative, each showcasing different characters, video game features, and aims of the game.


Supporting the environment

One of the key points of differences for Longleaf Valley is that TreesPlease Games use profits from their game to plant trees across the world. 

We created several animations to highlight this, showing that users can plant trees in the game and support the planting of real trees around the world.



The startup TreesPlease Games needed to produce quality creative to remain competitive with its new merge game, Longleaf Valley.  The main challenge for Refuel was to accept that exaggerating gameplay or story elements attracted new players. As devout players of the game, we found it initially difficult to step away from the literal narrative and actual gameplay. However, as we worked together over time, we became better at adapting to feedback based on ad performance.

As TreesPlease Games is a UK company, we had to work with a 10 hour time difference. The Refuel team took client meetings outside usual work hours once a month for analysis, briefing and planning. While working on creating the video ads, we were able to use the time differences to our advantage. We each worked while each other slept. For example, we’d send over storyboards or videos for review, and TreesPlease Games would review and respond overnight, so we could make changes the following day.

Refuel’s contribution to our creative testing has been hugely valuable. While not every creative can be a winner, every new concept and iteration has delivered new insights for our creative strategy.

– Laurie Fletcher, Performance Marketing Manager at TreesPlease Games

The impact


The results

We created three different ad variants for TreesPlease Games, each focused around a different creative angle: gameplay, narrative, and environmental. 

These angles showed the audience a different reason why they should play Longleaf Valley. Additionally, we also tested CTAs and other creative variables to ensure that we were getting the best results on their mobile ads. 

In addition, we dived into the data to adjust our creative to optimise the ads for the Australian, UK, and US markets.

  • Our ‘Save the Animals’ variant delivered a 20% reduction in Cost per Install (CPI) over the control creative, driven by a 25% improvement in Click Through Rate (CTR) on Unity Ads. This was an average CTR of 3% versus 2.27% on Android. 

  • Our ‘You Play, We Plant’ creative delivered a 12% improvement in the number of users who opened the app on day 7 vs day 0 of download (34% > 38%) over the control creative, while maintaining the same CPI. The environmental message helps to drive a more informed player who engages with the tree planting element of the game.

  • A variant called the ‘Bee creative’ delivered a fantastic CTR at a cost of install conversion. This helped us better align our creative execution with the gameplay and themes of Longleaf Valley.

  • Our End Slate testing helped identify which characters are most engaging to new players.


*Stats based on delivery within our core Unity Ads US Android campaign September 2022 - February 2023.

In conclusion

We worked with TreesPlease Games to deliver optimised mobile ads that were designed to get clicks and downloads. We developed a plan that would consistently improve and optimise these ads according to the data. 

Sam Hutchinson

Sam’s the resident writer and office DJ at Refuel. With a background in academia, journalism, and marketing, Sam can find the words our clients need to attract, engage, and convert those tricky leads.

Our work