Thought Leadership
Mobile User Acquisition isn’t All Fun and Games

thomas pan

Thomas Pan
User Acquisition Manager
Scopely

Thomas is currently a UA Manager at Scopely, a mobile gaming company, and previously worked at Bank of America in the accelerated management program. He enjoys drinking Soylent, cheering on the USC football team, and browsing Quora in his spare time.


 

What are the biggest challenges that developers face, and how do you approach solutions for those problems?

As the title implies, developers’ strengths are in developing the game. Many developers are unfortunately not prepared for the challenges of marketing, managing, and scaling a mobile game, which are often underestimated. With Scopely’s publishing model, we’re able to provide the necessary tools & resources to bring a AAA title the success that they deserve.

 

As it pertains to user acquisition, what are some key trends you are seeing for the free-to-play games market?

A couple of trends are the different ad units that being shown to users. Banners and static interstitials have been long outdated and advertisers are demanding more effective methods to reach their audience. Mobile video has been around for a while, but is gaining a lot of steam among advertisers as the de facto ad unit. Video is ultimately more engaging, higher converting and results in higher quality users. Another emerging ad unit that I think will gain more traction is playable ads, allowing the user “try before they buy“. 

 

You must work pretty hard on everything from vendor discovery, vendor evaluation, reporting, ROI analysis and optimization. Where do you focus the majority of your time and what are some of your tools that make your life exponentially easier?

It’s hard to say where I focus a majority of the time, as each day is uniquely different. Whether it’s fire drills, attending a conference, or being in multiple meetings and vendor phone calls, it’s always a busy and productive day. The great thing about this type of schedule is that you never get bored!

 

To the extent that you can share, what are some of your best performing channels, or types of ad executions that have been most favorable to high volumes of installs and/or high LTV players?

The more you can target the user, the better the quality you can get . That’s why Facebook is the preferred choice among most advertisers, large and small.

 

Do you see the market eventually moving towards payment on post-install events, as compared to just paying upon the install? If so, why?

In today’s mobile industry, the sweet spot of “cost per” payment structures is in CPI, or cost per install. Advertisers are able to have a certain level of security, knowing that they’re receiving users that have installed their app, and rely on the product and app to further drive engagement and monetization. Networks are able to confidently drive sufficient traffic driving users to install advertised apps, and allow for a profitable business. If the market moves towards payment on post-install events (let’s use CPP, cost per purchase as an example), the whole performance market will fundamentally shift. Advertisers would be paying much higher bids for a payer and networks would be running riskier campaigns (they might be paying for a lot of impressions that lead to 0 payers), especially since they have no say about how the product operates. As technology evolves to improve the level of targeting marketers are able to take of advantage, payment on post-install events will become more common, but unlikely to be the gold standard in the next couple of years.

 

What is your typical plan of attack when helping a game penetrate a new country or market? Any wisdom you can share with our readers?

The two most important factors would be localization and testing. There are many different levels of localization, whether it’s the creative, in-game language, or the game itself. Doing comprehensive localization will result in more successful game penetration, but is much more resource intensive. For testing, different countries have different preferences. Through testing, we’ve learned that different geographical audiences are more responsive to different types of creative.

 

Lastly, how do you see the mobile user acquisition market evolving over the next 2 years?

Mobile advertising is poised for continued growth at significant levels, with companies from all industries investing increasingly more in the space. It’s also important to note that large brands (think McDonald’s and Target) have not really entered the mobile advertising space in a significant way yet, which is something inevitable. It will be interesting to see how the industry shifts when the big shots join the fray.

 


 

Scopely is the leading touchscreen entertainment network. Currently, they work with over 300+ mobile free-to-play gaming companies representing over 200MM MAU across Android and iOS. Scopely oversees marketing, analytics, ads, business development, live ops, quality assurance, community management, and more, empowering developers to focus on building and refining great gameplay experiences to earn the loyalty and love of millions of players around the world. Learn more at scopely.com.

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