Janice Gao

Director of Growth Marketing

Janice Gao is Director of Growth Marketing at Big Fish Games, specializing in user acquisition for their mobile games. Inspired by her favorite TV show Mad Men, Janice moved to New York in 2012 to complete a marketing MBA. Shortly after, Janice ventured into the mobile gaming industry at DoubleDown Interactive as a UA analyst. Janice eventually moved to Big Fish Games, where she drives awareness, users and revenue growth.

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

Big Fish Games has an extensive portfolio of popular casual games across genres like Cooking Craze, Gummy Drop!, Fairway Solitaire, and Big Fish Casino. The main product I am responsible for is EverMerge, an innovative casual game we released in 2020.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

I witnessed mobile’s immense growth in 2016 when a significant share of transactions started to shift from desktop to mobile. At the time, I managed paid marketing efforts for high-profile retail businesses.

Not long after, I moved into mobile marketing where I joined DoubleDown Interactive, a leading social casino game developer. During my time there, I discovered and expanded user acquisition channels for the flagship title DoubleDown Casino and launched and owned UA strategies for new titles like DoubleDown Classic Slots and Ellen’s Road to Riches Slots.

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

The growth and opportunities. New products and technology regularly arise on mobile as businesses continue investing, innovating, and growing their mobile presence. Mobile marketers have a ton of exciting opportunities to look forward to and explore.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

  1. Embrace change
  2. Apply the right mix of critical and creative thinking
  3. Relentless experimentation

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

Optimize for a unified user journey by establishing alignment and consistency across UA creative, app store pages, and product experiences. Make sure that the App Store and in-game player experience matches what UA ads convey.

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

Marketers must leverage the knowledge at their fingertips. There’s a ton of expertise across internal partners and external partners; anyone you have direct contact with can hold a lot of unique information. Here are some things I like to focus on, depending on where the stakeholder sits in my network:

  • Internally – product, consumer and market intelligence, and data science team provide a fuller view of the market, the business, the product, and the audience.
  • Externally – ad-tech and channel partners provide information about market dynamics, best practices, and advanced tools and technology opportunities.

Consuming and connecting the right information helps drive better UA strategies.

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

Quality over quantity.

A strong creative is a rare find but often drives large scale for months. Conversely, losing creatives are the vast majority—they either don’t meet the performance target or don’t drive significant scale.

It’s critical to design your creative production and creative testing framework to identify winning creatives with both scale and quality potential.

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

  1. Have robust ad fraud detection and protection tools in place
  2. Have specific fraud protection languages in the agreement and contract
  3. Request traffic source transparency

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

  1. Publications from MMPs, App Annie, Sensor Tower, reputable mobile partners like Liftoff
  2. Tech news websites like TechCrunch, WIRED, VentureBeat
  3. Linkedin posts and shares from industry thought leaders (learn from the best!)