This week, I’ve talked with Claire Rozain, senior user acquisition manager from Gameloft. We dive deep into how the user acquisition manager role is evolving, as well as what are some of the biggest user acquisition challenges for mobile game publishers.
Gameloft is a French publisher famous for games like Asphalt 9: Legends and best in class in user acquisition creative testing.
Tell me more about the work you do for Gameloft as a Senior User Acquisition Manager?
“At Gameloft, I am Senior user acquisition manager at Gamelab. The Gamelab was created by Camille Houssais and brings innovation to the Gameloft game portfolio. So far, the Gamelab has produced 15 games in slightly more than a year, from idle to tower, and merge. I had the chance to work with Fiona Lauredi a mastermind in gaming, a video editor, Unity developer, and a UA manager in an independent team” explains Claire.
“My job is to assist the game team and provide feedback on what is performing or not on the market. We craft together the game with the UA/product feedback loop,” she continues.
“Before, I worked at product madness and managed a lot of interesting channels with high budgets and influencers. I was already a game owner and really enjoyed those product/UA synergies that I think are the future of the UA manager role,” explains Claire.
“My main interest is to be agile and learn from others. There is no better way for that than to work with smart people from all around the world, as well as with people with different backgrounds than UA,” says Claire.
How can UA and product managers work together to achieve better results? How is the UAM role evolving in regards to mobile gaming?
“It all begins with communication and healthy team structure. UA and product are too often two separate teams working in a silo not trusting each other when actually one impacts the other. The objectives of both are the same – monetize and make the game a hit,” explains Claire.
“If a game manager changes the in-game experience, it will impact UA. If a UAM switches the spend from one GEOs to another, it will impact in-game product KPIs,” says Claire.
Claire thinks that “Working together means to show interest in what the other is doing and go outside of our comfort zone to challenge our skills and level up. To make UA and product work together, both need to be in a safe space where they trust, listen to each other, and understand that their goal is the same.”
“Some companies are doing it really well. Spotify, for instance, with the Squad where they build autonomous teams that work toward the same goal with cross-functional expertise,” Claire explains.
However, big changes are coming to the role of a user acquisition manager, as many skills are being automated.
The User Acquisition Manager Role Is Changing
Claire thinks that “being a user acquisition manager as it is right now won’t last forever.”
She adds that “With automation, the job of the UA manager is going to change and daily manual optimization won’t be a skill anymore. I am very happy about it, it will be less boring. Furthermore, the product expertise of the UA manager will need to be greater and match the product life cycle.”
But that’s not all. Claire thinks UA managers will need to expand their knowledge.
“User acquisition managers will need to be agile and understand different game subgenres instead of being specialists in only one. They will need to understand the top of the funnel and mid-funnel strategies to retain a user, as well as how to cross-promote them. I think we will shift from a model where we pay for a user in one title to a model where we maximize the value from our user in all our portfolios”, she adds.
Tell me more about the knowledge UA managers need to have to get the right user for a specific genre?
“To get the right user for a specific genre you need to understand your player. More specifically, their interests and motivations for playing your game,” Claire explains.
In fact, motivation-based creatives are currently one of the biggest UA trends for mobile games.
“If you do not get what motivates your user, you are never going to advertise on what makes your player love your game and it is never going to work. Test it as often as it is needed and challenge your own ideas,” Claire says.
“Also, be curious and mindful about details. Always have an eye on the last creative on the market. Analyze creatives – small details make a difference (camera angle, theme, length, sounds, etc.),” Claire adds.
What are some of the user acquisition challenges for mobile games in 2021? Is the market oversaturated? How to stand out from the competition?
“In 2021 the challenge is to be holistic when for years user acquisition has been deterministic to justify investments. Data privacy is making mobile marketers and finance teams understand the need for a more holistic approach. I feel it is still a pain for a lot of people to lose deterministic data, but I am really happy about the recent changes,” Claire says.
Even though the effect of IDFA changes on UA can be mitigated by adjusting and trying out different approaches, there’s still the question of how to stand out in a saturated market. However, Claire doesn’t think that the market is oversaturated everywhere.
“I see a lot of gamers going into new game subgenres and there is still this amazing innovation that makes the market dynamic. Gaming is entertainment and we live in a society where people want to be entertained,” she explains.
“Besides, there’s still a lot of work to be done to make games more open to all and design an inclusive gaming experience for everybody. This is an opportunity to unlock new audiences. I am really excited to see more diverse and inclusive initiatives in gaming,” Claire adds.
Could you expand more on IDFA changes and how that influences user acquisition for mobile games?
“IDFA change is an eye-opener for the industry. Now is the time to come up with strategies that go beyond deterministic attribution. IDFA was the norm for targeting, optimization, and measurement when we as marketers knew that not everything is measurable in such a way,” Claire says.
“Now, marketers have a more holistic view and are way more concerned about the first-party data as well. It is not about getting one user and tracking this user or paying $100 to get a user we are sure to convert. It’s way more challenging,” Claire explains.
“It is about scaling a game overall and making a user convert thanks to the top of the funnel and mid of the funnel strategies. The intelligence in the media buying space we had is now fairly diminished. However, this opens the door to new opportunities to convert people and convert them in a better way than before and even expand audiences. The user journey in the game and across all games in a publisher’s portfolio has become the new user acquisition,” adds Claire.
What are the best paid user acquisition strategies for getting more players?
“To get more players, the focus needs to be on the creative. Make it simple, understandable, and catchy! We are seeing so many ads in a day. If you want your future player to click, you better be creative,” emphasizes Claire.
What are the best organic user acquisition strategies for mobile games?
Finally, we touched on organic UA strategies developers can try to get more users.
Claire thinks that the best organic strategy is to build a community.
“The power of communities in gaming is huge. That’s why so many publishers invest in influencers – word of mouth matters. Having a strong brand definitely helps nowadays, especially if you are in an overcrowded segment of the market,” Claire explains.”