Q&A with Mert

Read the Q&A in Turkish.

Mert Ersöz began as a monetization specialist focused on maximizing IAA revenue. A few years and a promotion later, he had the opportunity to join MagicLab as Head of Marketing. Mert focuses on the company’s self-publishing model, BI development, creative, UA & monetization structures. Currently, Mertz and the marketing team have published 5 global top-charting hyper-casual games in 2021 including +Destiny Run, published with Voodoo.

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

I work with hyper-casual games. Hyper-casual games are snackable and TikTok-friendly. They cater to a broad range of content and have no age, gender or country-based restrictions. Because of their broad appeal, hyper-casual games have hundreds of millions of players globally.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

I studied at Hacettepe University, in the Economics Master’s program. There, I focused on the relationship between financial crises, populism and behavioral economics (Sequential Anchoring). If I’m honest, publishing mobile games is way more fun. At the time, my childhood friends were developing mobile games and let me know about new opportunities in the gaming industry. I was unaware of mobile marketing, but I applied and began working as an intern. Two months later, I got my first part-time job offer in the mobile gaming industry.

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

I would have started full-time in mobile marketing instead of pursuing a Master’s degree in Economics. However, understanding “predictively irrational” behavior sometimes provides benefits when you are publishing games. For example, I encountered an AB test rooted in the “sunk cost fallacy.” It is well-known that rewarded videos are the most valuable IAA format because they are on-demand. We ran an AB test for in-app rewarded videos with a rewarded video button that moves around an intractable area, which made users misclick. The AB test result was that if users finish a rewarded video, it will still trigger a feeling of investment and improve overall engagement.

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

What I like—and find the most challenging—about mobile marketing is the neverending opportunity to improve. It is impossible to determine if you are running the most effective and optimum marketing campaign, operation, or creative. There is always room for significant improvement. This creates a need to constantly optimize. It drives me to search, test, analyze in detail, and look at the bigger picture. This can be frustrating, but it also motivates me.

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

It seems like data privacy is here to stay. Google Play Store's and Apple App Store's future decisions on data privacy are paramount for performance marketing. Ad tech giants will probably continue to strengthen their offerings through acquisitions in response to more privacy-centric regulations.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged app users?

It is important to understand the entire user journey. To understand, you must pay attention to the stages before an install. The user journey starts from the first ad impression and ends with churn. It is a question of human behavior, which is affected by countless factors. The challenge is to select the most effective and feasible points that might affect the direction of the journey and to ask the right questions to impact the outcome. The rest is testing and statistics—and testing. Did I say testing?

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

My one tip would—surprisingly—be to test a lot. Test to find new winning creatives. Make sure you serve them to the right people at the right time in the right place in the most cost-efficient way. When it comes to creatives, drive performance by iterating what’s performing and eliminating what’s not. Search for better ways to make the most out of your creatives. Focus on finding ways to outperform your current strategy. New campaign optimization objectives and new creatives worked out well for us last year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next year! 

What advice can you offer marketers to successfully re-engage mobile app users?

Understand what makes a user engage. Start by examining users’ experiences in the most granular and in-depth way possible. Look at the differences between your best, worst, and average users’ behaviors and actions. These are the keys to identifying your app's pain and improvable points. Of course, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. You might resolve a pain point simply by changing the order of the levels or by offering a price/performance bundle that nobody could refuse.

Most importantly, stop assuming and start testing. Assumptions are more likely to produce more false assumptions about behavior. Can you be sure about the average LTV difference between re-engaged and new users? Your first assumption might be that new users will spend more time in the game because they are motivated to explore a new game. Alternatively, it might be that re-engaged users are better because since they’ve already played the game, so they know what to expect and they still come back. Either way, AB them all.

What’s your top tip when it comes to mobile ad creative?

Don't forget that nobody wants to watch an ad. Your goal is to make the thumbs stop and engage with your creative. Your competition is everything else on the internet! You must make them interesting, fun and easy to understand.

What advice can you offer to help marketers combat mobile ad fraud?

Always try to identify abnormalities in the data, good and bad. This will help you identify fraud and trace its numerous sources. Don’t hesitate to utilize the tools available on the market. Keep in mind that fraud will always be there, but your job is to minimize it.

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

Product & tool documentation of ad tech companies! Hah. Jokes aside, I am mostly interested in the gaming industry. So, my top 3 are Deconstructor of Fun, Mobile Dev Memo and Pocketgamer.

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