Alexey Gusev

Lead Performance Marketer

Alexey Gusev is a Lead Performance Marketer at Goodgame Studios, a Germany-based publisher creating free-to-play web and mobile games. First dabbling in digital marketing in Russia, Alexey went to Germany to complete his master’s. His passion for gaming led him to Innogames, working on mobile video ads & native networks and UA for international & local social networks. In early 2021, Alexey joined Goodgame Studios to lead a team of UA managers.

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In your own words, tell us about the app(s) that you manage?

Goodgame Studios is part of the Stillfront group, which means I have an excellent opportunity to work with many gaming apps in a variety of genres. My team and I focus on the strategy gaming genre such as Strike of Nations, Nida Harb 3, War Commander: Rogue Assault and SIEGE: World War II, from the awesome Babil Games, Kixeye and Imperia Online.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

When I joined Innogames back in 2015, we had recently launched the iOS version of the browser game Forge of Empires. Back then, we also had an Android version of the game in the pipeline.

Those times felt like the Wild West of the mobile marketing world. I witnessed the early years of the mobile tracking platforms, battled fraud without handy tools, and worked with super granular ad networks. Being a part of the transformation was fun and rewarding!

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

The pace at which our whole environment develops. It is slightly exaggerated, but the mobile marketing world we know now might be completely different in just a few months. So keeping an open mind and being very flexible is crucial.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

There is no single silver bullet in mobile marketing.
There is, however, a combination of factors that will lead you to success:

  • A great product coupled with consistent communication between the product team and marketing team. Transparency across teams creates alignment with the market’s challenges and opportunities.
  • A Business Intelligence (BI) team with a vast amount of data. Information from BI helps you make educated decisions for marketing activities and properly optimize for them. The more granular level of data a marketer has access to, the better decisions he/she will make when optimizing campaigns.
  • The right mix of channels for your product and audience. And of course, consistently testing new channels and opportunities.
  • Creative. In the world of increasingly dominant machine learning, designing a creative that entices and speaks to your audience will help you excel compared to competitors.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged app users?

An obvious answer is to optimize for the deeper funnel events when possible. Current algorithms are also capable of finding a proper audience that engages well with your app.

With the post-ATT rollout, I recommend prequalifying users through your creatives, ad copies, and targeting as the best bet. As we lose data transparency, prequalifying users will become even more crucial.

In the past year, what is one tip you can share which made the biggest performance difference for your UA strategy?

Work closely with your creative team, polish processes, and provide enough data. With feedback, we increased turnover for top-performing creatives and scaled marketing activity.

One of the most significant findings we had was that influencer creatives provided a more “user-generated” feel and made our creatives feel more authentic. With influencer creatives, we cracked channels like TikTok and Snapchat.

What advice can you offer marketers to successfully re-engage mobile app users?

Test re-engagement campaigns for your app or product. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the added value of re-engagement campaigns in the industry—especially how to track and attribute them. It takes time to figure it out, but the outcome is worth it. Unfortunately, there is no single strategy. Re-engagement is driven heavily by the product/app itself, which will take time to understand the value users receive from the campaign.

Try looking beyond free stuff. Monitor consumer feedback—maybe you finally launch a highly requested feature or a long-awaited game update. New features and updates have substantially increased output for us than offering free bundles.

What’s your top tip when it comes to mobile ad creative?

Test, test and test. Do not disregard the wildest concepts until you have tested them and you have the data to prove that it doesn’t work for you.

What advice can you offer to help marketers combat mobile ad fraud?

Deeply understand the data and user flow in your app—even carefully hidden fraud can be detected by data irregularities. Then, use one of the many tools to help detect fraud in the early stages to unburden marketing managers from unnecessary tasks.

What are your top 3 go-to resources for keeping up with the mobile ad tech industry?