For this edition of App Marketers in Quarantine Answering Questions, Jampp’s Marketing Manager, Florencia Vago, spoke with Pau Quevedo, who leads Programmatic Trading at Goodgame Studios. As one of Germany's largest gaming companies, Goodgame Studios develops online and mobile games for the entire world, including titles such as Four Kingdoms, which has been the highest-grossing German app worldwide for years now.
Pau has been honing his skills in performance and programmatic marketing for games over the past 5 years. Given his key experience across the different paid media channels for games, we are very excited to share his insights.
Florencia: How did you get started in programmatic advertising?
Pau: I had been buying on Facebook and Twitter for some time and I always had great interest in what was happening outside the walled gardens. I was really interested in the idea of understanding how the buy and sell sides actually bought and sold, understanding the process. Walled gardens had limited transparency, and I thought DSPs would actually allow me to operate with a higher level of transparency.
Florencia: How are you adapting to WFH? What cadence or advice would you have for staying connected to your team?
Pau: I have a baby and a child so WFH has definitely been a challenge, I've had to deal with situations that were new to us all. It has also allowed me to spend more time with my family, which has been really nice.
I have good and fluent communication with my team, we are constantly sharing and we collaborate on projects successfully. I’m grateful that we work in an industry where working remotely hasn't affected our performance. I would recommend having daily stand-up meetings to catch up, but also talk casually sometimes, just to take a break and keep up the informal communication as it was before. We use tools like Slack and Discord and it has worked well.
Florencia: As a result of the current pandemic, there’s been a rise in playtime at a global level. Do you think this trend will become the new normal even after the outbreak is over?
Pau: Gaming has seen an increase in activity year-over-year, specifically mobile gaming. If this growth trend will stay due to recent events is unclear. I believe that we won't see a big rise after, but rather keep the already positive trend from before.
Florencia: Hyper-casual games have seen fast growth over the past few years… but with users spending more time in-app, do you think more players will start trying mid-core/core games?
Pau: Hyper-casual titles have allowed many people to get introduced to gaming in their portable devices. This has allowed us to find new users in two ways. Firstly, this allows us to reach more users thanks to the hyper-casual ad inventory, and, secondly, also organically since users increasingly see their phones as a gaming device.
Florencia: One of the challenges Gaming apps are facing in spite of their increasing popularity is that of retention rates. What strategies work best to convert new users into engaged players?
Pau: Retention is a key element for us, as Ad Monetization importance increases for In-App Purchases (IAP) titles, so does Retention from a marketing perspective. There was a recent study showing how Retention D180 is the key metric for IAP titles, since sometimes D30, which is frequently used, can show deceiving results in the long run.
When we see how to improve retention we look at three phases. The onboarding phase, which is the first, is key since here the user will be prompted with the activation of Push Notifications which greatly impacts D30 retention. We also look at D1 retention to evaluate this phase.
Once the user has been properly on-boarded, we want to keep them playing every day. This we call stickiness and you can improve it by introducing daily quests or collectable rewards. During this second phase we also look at D7 retention.
Once the users are busy playing, we measure how the retention D30 is. To improve this metric, Push Notifications are great since you can engage with your users and try to improve this permission rate. Of course this requires being creative on how you show those notifications.
Florencia: What changes, specifically in programmatic advertising, do you see the current situation either accelerating or slowing down?
Pau: The increasing automation of the main UA channels will probably shift some budgets into channels where marketers have more transparency and control—like DSPs.
Apple recently announced that iOS 14 will give users the option to decline app tracking, which we expect will greatly impact the industry. It's probably the preface to the IDFA deprecation in future updates. It seems Google will now delay the cookie matter because of COVID-19, but we'll have to wait and see when and how it reacts to Apple's announcement.
One surprising side effect of the recent events is how it affected transparency—which was always something that buyers wanted to increase. Because of the lower CPMs during these past months, QPS/server costs were too high for the tech providers, so they were asking for more transparency in order to prevent arbitrage, which was causing this increase in costs. It made total sense and we just hope this trend continues so we can all benefit from it.
Florencia: What is your go-to resource for staying up to date with the mobile industry?
Pau: I actually read books on Ad Tech, I’m now reading Lean AI and I'm enjoying it. I also read popular websites like Mobiledevmemo, Adexchanger or Adweek, but I find Slack groups a great place to learn and interact. Talking to other peers is really important since the Ad Tech landscape is pretty much infinite and ever-changing, so finding the right people to share with is really important. For this, Linkedin or Twitter are great sources of information.
Florencia: What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any series, books, or movies to recommend?
Pau: Since I haven’t been cycling as much these days and was home quite a lot, I picked up a fitness game from Nintendo and I'm loving it. In my free time, I like to read about history and politics, play games, listen to audiophile gear, and spend time with my family. Since I already recommended a book, I’d recommend the movie. I like classic movies, so “Network” from the 70s would be my take.
Florencia: Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing your thoughts and experience!
The pandemic and subsequent quarantine measures have impacted different verticals and markets in diverse ways. In our latest Q&A series, we talk with experienced marketers like Pau to hear their take on the current challenges and their experiences in the industry. Do you have any best practices, recommendations, or insights to share? Get in touch!