How to Build a Career in Mobile User Acquisition

By Matthew Sadofsky | March 5, 2018

You went to school for marketing but aren’t artistic enough to make ad creative. You love data and technology, but you don’t write code. Sure, you can settle for a job as a social media specialist or maybe tap into your inner sales manager, but there is another option out there; mobile user acquisition (UA) marketing. For those not familiar with the job title, it’s our fancy phrase for mobile advertising. Also referred to sometimes as performance or growth marketing.

UA managers are today’s Mad Men. The fundamental difference is they are armed with mountains of data and thousands of ways to optimize their advertising budget. They can build a multi-million-dollar Facebook campaign, produce a national TV spot that airs before a big game, and sign the next big social influencer to represent their brand.

If you’re excited about anything I’ve mentioned so far, then you may have just found how to combine your love of data and the marketing degree you can’t figure out how to use. When evaluating candidates for an entry-level user acquisition position, there are four main factors I take into consideration.

Learn more about Matthew from his Mobile Heroes profile.

#1 – Does the candidate live and breathe data?
This is the toughest thing to teach in our field. Maybe you don’t know how to calculate a lifetime value (LTV) properly, but you’re curious and capable enough to come up with a sensible approach to calculating one.

#2 – Does the candidate have excellent people skills?
We negotiate with ad networks, work with platform representatives, and present results to clients and internal stakeholders. When managing a $1 million-a-month budget, upper management is going to want someone who comes off as confident in their decision making.

#3 – Does the candidate have any experience with ad platforms?
If you are interested in user acquisition marketing but have never run a Facebook or Google AdWords campaign, you are probably at the bottom of the resume pile. Take the free certification program from Google. Study Facebook Blueprint. Run a $20 newsfeed engagement campaign for that video of your best friend taking a pie to the face as practice. Show that you know and understand the basics of media buying.

#4 – Is the candidate passionate about what they are marketing?
If you don’t care about the product or the end consumer, UA marketing can very quickly become a tedious numbers game with a ton of excel spreadsheets. We want you to be excited about being the driving force behind the growth of product.

If you’re are an experienced UA expert looking to leap forward in your career, focus more on the technical side of the job. As automation, machine learning, and “big data” overtake more and more of our day-to-day jobs, hiring managers are beginning to focus on people who have ideas for building better UA tech, rather than those who know how to move budget between campaigns. If you want to take your skill set a step further, learn SQL. Take a python course. Study machine learning. Prepare yourself for the UA careers of the roaring 2020’s, not for the laborious spreadsheet career it was a few years back.

Matthew Sadofsky is one of Liftoff’s first-ever featured Mobile Heroes. At that time, he worked in the dating apps world, running UA for AYI. He moved on to work as a Senior Manager, Growth Marketing at Tilting Point—a games partner for top independent development studios. Tilting Point empowers elite developers with expert resources, operational support, and funding to give carefully selected games mainstream success. They are based in Manhattan and built by industry leaders from EA, Gameloft, Kabam, Zynga, and more.