Through digital media, we have the ability to hyper-segment and test, with real-time feedback, on what messages work for which audience at what times.
My first Marketing job was with Red Bull, where I stayed for nearly 3 years and learned a ton about branding and positioning. I later moved on to the startup world helping small businesses succeed on the web with a company that was acquired by Intuit.
I’ve worked at a handful of startups since and have acted as an advisor with at least 50 over the last 12 years. My first role in gaming was with a real money fantasy sports startup called ScoreStreak as their Director of Marketing. I later took a role at Zynga managing acquisition across all slots and match-3 titles. I was quickly promoted to a senior, then lead, role overseeing acquisition across all titles.
I’m now the Director of Performance Marketing at King where I’m focused on the strategic direction of the marketing org as it relates to partnerships, ad tech, emerging platforms and digital/traditional media buying.
Both upper and lower funnel metrics have to be religiously tracked if you’re serious about improving performance. A small improvement on an upper funnel event like the click-through rate (CTR) of a particular creative can significantly impact lower funnel metrics like revenue, especially when operating at scale.
You need systems in place to ensure you understand how the inputs you’re adjusting are impacting results. For effective optimization, it’s essential to track changes you make to a campaign and measure how those changes impact down-funnel events — looking back days or even weeks.
My assumptions on how a particular audience will monetize or react to a specific creative are constantly proved wrong. Understanding the statistical significance of a given sample is also important to keep an eye on. People often make further assumptions based on a data set that’s too small to be representative.
There seems to be a lot of talk lately about the importance of matching creative to specific audience segments despite this being a core principle of direct-response advertising for over 100 years. The catch is that through digital media, we have the ability to hyper-segment and test, with real-time feedback, on what messages work for which audience at what times.
Even minor changes to a piece of creative, like showing the game on an Android device for your Android audiences, on iPads for iPad users, etc. and using copy that calls out “Play now on your (specific device)” can positively impact performance. The creatives you use on Facebook, Google, in-app, email, etc, shouldn’t be the same creative in different sizes.
Take screenshots of good ads that you come across. Share them with your team, and acknowledge the fact that your ad is just one of hundreds they’ll see in a given day/week. Invest the time and resources into building a team that can deliver quality creative with limited artwork.
Understand that everyone is different and that they’re motivated by very different things and at different times. Some people like a push alert to keep them going while others will rage-delete your app if they feel you’ve sent one notification too many. Some people re-activate via email within minutes of a campaign going live and others spend all day on Facebook and never check the spam email address they gave you on sign-up.
Consider the complete journey of your various customers and build out flows that match your assumptions then test, iterate, and repeat. If you’re stretched too thin to begin with, make sure you’re at least considering the fundamentals like reactivating lapsed payers. The people most likely to spend money on your product are those that already have. Your paying customers are your most valuable resource, not only your bottom line, but for understanding the customer journey and how you may help others down the same path.
THE LAST WORD:
Make it your mission to learn and evolve as a marketer. Nobody has it all figured out and if you meet someone who says they have, walk the other way. Assumptions are fine, and as marketers, we rely on developing our gut instinct on a number of fronts, but any data-driven marketer has to look at the numbers. Apply the scientific method, research, build a hypothesis, test with an experiment, troubleshoot, test, analyze data, and begin again.
Also, hire smart people and build them up. Give them room to fail and make sure they’re learning as a result. Put together a small group of people that you trust and bounce ideas off each other. Whatever you’re struggling with right now, somebody else around you has gone through as well. You can save yourself a lot of headache by taking someone out to lunch or picking up the phone. Collaborate with others and have fun working in what I think is one of the most exciting and rewarding industries.