Q&A with Anel

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.

In your own words, tell us about the app(s) that you manage?

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.

How did you get started in mobile monetization?

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.

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If you could start in mobile monetization again, would you do anything differently? Why and what would you do?

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.

What do you like most about mobile monetization?

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.

What do you see as the next big thing in mobile app monetization?

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.

How do you balance a positive user experience with the monetization experience in your app(s)?

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.

In the past year, what is one tip you can share which made the biggest performance difference for your monetization strategy?

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.

What's a mistake you see get made all the time with mobile monetization strategies, even by smart people and smart companies?

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.

When you advise people on mobile monetization, such as “Do more of this” or “Do less of that,” is there one lesson you share over and over again?

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.

What are your top 3 go-to resources for keeping up with the mobile ad tech industry?

  1. Private Slack channels are my main resources
  2. Pocket Gamer and Ad Exchanger are great for industry news
  3. I also look to industry blogs and podcasts like Deconstructor of Fun

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