This Q&A reflects Paula's time as Product Manager at Square Enix Montreal. Currently, Paula is Senior Product Manager at Zynga.
Paula Neves is a Product Manager at Square Enix and describes herself as a gamer turned psychologist turned marketer working in mobile free-to-play games. Prior to joining Square Enix in Montreal, Paula was the Chief Mobile Officer at Gazeus Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she headed up user acquisition and product management. Paula is a proud member of the UA Society and a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences, where she eagerly shares her knowledge and experience from her 10+ years in the mobile app marketing industry.
Read Paula's latest article: "Leveraging Player Motivation Models to Increase App Engagement – Part 3"
The app I currently manage is still being developed and hasn’t launched yet. It’s a game with innovative gameplay that we’re very eager to put out there!
I got started in mobile 7 years ago when I joined Nano Games. We had a free to play browser game and brought it to mobile. Being a psychologist, I had to reinvent myself to get a job in marketing, despite having a postgraduate degree in marketing. At the start of my career 13 years ago, I worked at agencies managing search engine marketing for a variety of companies. I jumped at the opportunity to work in gaming as soon as I could.
How dynamic it is and how many learning opportunities it constantly provides. In mobile, there’s always a new product, a new beta, new things to explore and learn.
Resilience and humbleness. Being resilient means being adaptable, and in such a dynamic environment like app marketing, it is a much-needed trait. Humbleness is always important but particularly important in a place where you need to constantly be learning. If you're arrogant and you think you know everything, then you won't learn. Learning is key in this space, so it's also something one has to have the drive to do - read, study, test things constantly.
Your app has to satisfy 3 innate human needs that we all have: the need to feel masterful, the need to feel autonomous and the need for connection. These 3 things have to be concretely embedded into your app from the start.
How can you make your users feel successful and masterful? Are you giving them a sense of autonomy when they use your app? How can you make sure they feel connected and find relatedness? If your app fulfills well these 3 needs, it's likely that users will feel intrinsically motivated to use your product for the long run.
Of course, there are concrete examples of engagement features, such as appointment mechanics, rewards schedules, group activities, live events, etc. But even when designing these features, the 3 needs described above should be addressed or your features won't be as successful as they could be otherwise.
UA goes a long way, but if the product is not there, UA won't be able to perform miracles. That being said, getting the product team to work together with UA made the biggest difference. So, bring your product and UA teams real close, people.
Plan a good content pipeline so that you constantly have updates for the user, be it new features or fresh live events that happen every x days/weeks/months. Keep the conversation lines open with the users and listen to them.
Time the content pipeline with in-app re-engagement campaigns, like in-app promotions, offers and push notifications, as well as out-of-app re-engagement campaigns on ad networks.
Go simple. The simpler the creative and the message, usually the better it will convert. Go as simple as using white backgrounds, for instance. And test a lot, of course, since in times of automation, creatives are where UA teams still have a lot of agency.
As a bonus, but product related rather than ad tech-related: Deconstructor of Fun.