User Acquisition Expert interview: Three minutes with EastSide Game Studio

By Sukey Miller - February 03, 2023

“Saying that 2022 was a tough year is an understatement. ATT puts iOS spend in complete darkness and one feels more like a magician than a quantitative marketer”.

In our latest ‘Three minutes with’ app marketer interview, Bango Audiences talks with Ahmed Mrad, Product Growth Analyst with EastSide Game Studio, a leading Canadian free-to-play mobile gaming company.

Ahmed shares his industry knowledge and gives insight into how he goes about improving marketing spend efficiency, how to stay on top of the latest app marketing trends and the importance of being flexible.

Q1: Tell us about your role

I am mainly focused on improving our measurement capabilities and I am very interested in adapting our measurement techniques to the post-ATT (App Tracking Transparency) environment.

Our studio is IP-heavy with titles such as Trailer Park Boys, RuPaul Drag Race, the Office, Star Trek Lower Deck and Cheech And Chong. Our monetization model relies heavily on both in-app purchases and ads watched inside our games.

I have been analyzing our portfolio of games trying to improve the efficiency of our marketing spend and preparing for user privacy updates and single user attribution deprecation onslaught.

Q2: Do you treat monetization and User Acquisition as separate activities, or do you factor monetization in from the start?

Monetization and UA are treated separately in the organizational chart. However, for analysis purposes, both monetization and user acquisition results are bundled together to have a better picture of the lifetime value of our customers.

Q3: In the last year, what new tactic or behavior has most improved your User Acquisition results?

Saying that 2022 was a tough year is an understatement. ATT puts iOS spend in complete darkness and one feels more like a magician than a quantitative marketer.

Luckily, Mix Media Modeling techniques and other statistical modelling techniques are helping us make better sense of that specific part of the UA puzzle.

Furthermore, implementing new channels and reactivating old ones has helped us improve our UA results.

Q4: To what extent have the recent privacy regulation changes impacted your approach to User Acquisition?

ATT specifically blinded us in our iOS spend. Single-user attribution is almost completely dead with ATT on iOS and the countdown is already on for Android with the Android Privacy Sandbox set for 2024.

Adapting to this new reality has been slow and hard. We are going back to age-old techniques such as Mix Media Modeling to better understand what is happening on that front.

Another direct consequence of ATT has been the deterioration of the quality of Facebook ads and results. Facebook/Meta spend is but a fraction of what it used to be before ATT. Return on Advertising Spend has been abysmal with Facebook so we needed to diversify our marketing mix.

Q5: What is the best advice you can give to a smart, driven User Acquisition newbie on running effective user acquisition campaigns?

Be curious and open-minded.

User Acquisition has changed drastically in the past couple of years and old paradigms no longer stand. What used to work in 2019/2020 no longer works now. Thus, picking the marketing channels that matter and evolving one's ideas and beliefs is vital: being flexible is very important.

Another piece of advice that I received and always give to any person in the UA/mobile ecosystem is to read Mobile Dev Demo and anything that is written by Eric Seufert to keep up-to-date with current trends and evolution if they haven't done so already.

I can't stress enough how much insights and general knowledge Eric Seufert possesses about anything related to the mobile app ecosystem, the freemium economic model in general and mobile gaming in particular.

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