Stop Playing Tug of War with the Product Team and Start Collaborating

By Amos Adler | November 9, 2020

Amos Adler is Director of UA at Sciplay. After managing high volume A+ accounts and internal ad-tech projects at DAU-UP, Amos led UA efforts at DGN as Director of Marketing, centralizing user acquisition operations and building a strong UA team. As a 7-year mobile veteran in gaming advertising, Amos now manages UA efforts at SciPlay, one of the largest social gaming developers in the business.

Learn more about Mobile Hero Amos Adler.

Every UA manager faces the same challenge. You manage millions of user acquisition dollars on the premise of generating a return while feeling the pressure to be creative, innovative and bold. The trouble is that experimentation is rarely profitable in the near-term, which turns a UA manager’s life into a balancing act.

Marketing isn’t the only team to feel this pressure. Product teams need to maintain specific in-game performance. This can create friction if companies blur the lines between UA campaign or game experience when measuring that performance. A user acquisition team focuses on ROI goals, and a product team looks at total revenue impacted by overall DAU. Under a limited budget, the value of ROI vs. DAU arises and a tradeoff must be made—it’s here that parties need to agree on when the UA team hands over the user to become part of the product team’s gaming experience.

These conflicting goals can create a tug-of-war between product, finance, and marketing teams. Though everyone has the same goal: to grow the product and revenue, each team has a different view on how to get there and other KPIs they’re measured by.  

For UA managers, the end result can be frustration, with increasing costs and less wiggle room to be creative in your UA operation.

In my experience working with (and managing) different teams, one excellent way to mitigate these issues is to educate all teams on UA work methodologies and center them around the shared goal of optimizing the user flow. 

Below are several best practices that have worked for me throughout the years to get your teams aligned and collaborating:

  1. Improve Targeting with “Back-Office” Integration
    Out-of-the-box testing and experimentation are based on how agile your product development cycles are and how flexible your ‘back-office’ system is (the platform that controls game attributes such as bonus amounts, XP progression, and cashier parameters). By working closely with product teams, we characterized and pushed developments to our back-office system, including MMP event integrations. This enabled us to create segments at the campaign level with different offerings for users who came from VO campaigns and AIO campaigns, from a lookalike list of users who tend to watch ads or buy in-game currency.

  2. Optimize Creatives for Different Target Audiences With many major publishers doing heavy-lifting in targeting and serving, creative optimization is essential. We want to be as data-driven as possible in our creative creation process. So we work with analytics and product teams to identify specific elements and fit them with different target audiences. We also check how a user’s journey changes between segments, and when switching creatives between these segments. I saw a significant impact on CTRs and payer conversion rates as we created game experiences for various creatives and audiences. Users got a variety of game experiences from impression to their first few sessions in a game.

  3. Understand and Reduce Churn Together with our product analytics team, we identified the hidden reasons behind users churning. We developed our back office system to cluster users and create segments based on those churn reasons. Once you have that in hand, it’s easier for the marketing team to create messages that resonate for retargeting campaigns. This enhances personalization, showing users why they should reinstall your game.

There is a lot of room to improve cooperation amongst the marketing, product, BI and analytics teams. And though the current work-from-home environment can add to the challenge, centering these teams around a common goal can positively impact both product performance and your marketing efforts. It is well worth the effort.

That’s all from Amos. For more industry tips from our Mobile Heroes, read past blogs. Or, meet the Mobile Heroes on our website.