This Q&A reflects Anel's time as VP of Ad Monetization at Wildlife Studios. Currently, Anel is VP of Monetization at Tripledot Studios.
Anel is VP of Ad Monetization at Wildlife Studios. He started in the telecommunication industry and transitioned to digital marketing in 2014. Before joining Wildlife in 2019, Anel worked at Outfit7 for 4 years where he led all advertising activities. As VP of Ad Monetization, Anel is scaling Wildlife’s live game portfolio and building their in-house Ad Tech Platform.
Anel and Carolina Guimarães are the first advertiser and publisher duo of Mobile Heroes.
Read Anel's latest article: "5 Best Practices To Innovate and Create an Efficient Operation"
I oversee all apps within the Wildlife Studio portfolio. We create multiple successful apps in different genres, from Casual to Mid-Core. Our popular games include Sniper 3D, Tennis Clash, Zooba, War Machines, Color By Number and Sky Warriors.
I started in ad operations, as I had previous experience in tech support and digital marketing, and I fell in love with the complexity of the in-app mobile advertising ecosystem. Combining technology, analytics, and product development was a good fit for me. Since then, I have worked on in-house ad tech platforms, optimizing every impression and improving products to integrate ads—without hurting user experience.
From a technical perspective, I would spend more time understanding the advertising ecosystem and how things worked under the hood. You need to understand what the advertiser is optimizing for and how they value the ad inventory. I focus primarily on business and operations, so I needed to learn everything through experimentation. Once you understand how things work, you can optimize and automate to achieve great results.
I like the complexity and the fast-paced environment—things change constantly. It's never boring! Always figure out how things work, optimize, test, and make data-driven decisions.
Brand advertising—moving towards header bidding has been a popular topic in the last few years, but the adoption has been slow. I still believe there’s ample opportunity in brand advertising. I see monetization moving away from a "gamer" stereotype. It’s about educating brands that most people play games and creating a brand-safe environment.
Another trend will be advanced segmentation—the better you know your user's behavior, the better your chances of keeping them and providing a good user experience and personalization. Find a sweet spot for frequency, ad formats, pacing, amounts, and the types of rewards as users progress in the game.
Finding the balance between positive user experience and maximizing game lifetime value is the hardest thing we do and the most interesting one. There is no all-in-one solution. Each game is unique and should be treated that way. It’s best to start thinking about ad implementation early in the development process. Do extensive research on genre and placements, develop a strategy that works best for the game, and A/B test everything. Use the limited launch period to optimize and tweak things before the global launch.
Strengthen your relationship with ad tech partners and network with publishers/developers. Also, do knowledge-sharing sessions—it's a small industry, and people always help each other.
Not thinking about ad monetization in the early development process and constant optimization is probably the most common mistake I see in the industry. If implemented correctly, I believe ads are a game feature and should be perceived that way.
Don't assume anything; things change. Always test and challenge old implementations, tests, and configurations. Make sure you are making data-driven decisions, and don't be afraid to experiment with bold ideas.