How to Build a Team of Performance Designers

By Assaf Shalev | February 3, 2020

Assaf is the Head of Creative Marketing at Playstudios, one of the largest social casino game developers in the world. Assaf leads the Creative Marketing team, helping fuel UA for the studio’s most successful mobile game “POP! Slots”, taking it to the top 10 charts of the worldwide casino category.

Learn more from his Mobile Hero profile.

User Acquisition is a growth engine for every online service today. It runs solely on the creatives that are poured into it. So why is it so common to see user acquisition and ad creative production separated? If you want to drive strong growth results, you have to create a team of professionals that share a common language. As the Head of Creative Marketing at Playstudios Israel, where creative is a key driver of user acquisition, I had the pleasure of establishing a team of “performance designers” – designers who work together with UA managers to build ad creatives for results. Here are 3 tips to help you build a strong team of performance designers.

1. Establish a New Mantra: UA and Creative Are One

Before you start building a team of performance designers, you have to understand the concept of “high performing” ad creatives. Your UA team is analyzing ad creatives every day, evaluating performance against KPIs. An experienced UA professional can recognize a design that will perform well even though they are not designers. That experience is golden and you must tap into it.

Your designers can deliver better performing creative by understanding what performs (and what doesn’t). Bring them together with the UA team so that they can learn from one another. Set up collaborative meetings and share campaign results. This is the quickest way to ensure your designers develop a performance mindset and design for results.

2. Include UA Marketers in Creative Reviews

Most creative meetings with the design team don’t ask the important questions about performance. Typically, the designers will share their latest ideas and the Art Director will offer suggestions or feedback. This process should really only take 10 minutes at most. To train your designers to develop a performance mindset, get the UA team involved in your creative reviews. Bring them in to both share ideas and ask questions. This especially makes sense since they are the ones in need of the creative service.

3. Look for Designers with Performance Potential

Giving a potential new design hire a test assignment is quite common. And it can be an effective test to gauge their capabilities, if done correctly. Instead of asking the designer to design a banner or video ad from scratch, try this approach.

Show the candidate two ad creatives for the same product – one that performed well and one that did not – along with the KPIs. While the applicant may not fully understand the performance data, explain it in a simple way. For example, you can say that “X” is a good performance metric and “Y” is a bad one.

Take notice on how they react. If they seem baffled by numbers and graphs, their potential as a performance designer is likely quite limited. Next, ask them to iterate on the two creatives and design a third one. Once completed, have a quick discussion about why they made the decisions they made.


UA performance and designing performance creatives go hand in hand. The designers you are looking for to join your performance team are not afraid of numbers and KPIs. In fact they will embrace it, understanding that the function of good design is to generate revenue. The sooner you break these barriers, the sooner you will see a lift in your performance.