Sandsoft Games team is expanding! We are thrilled to introduce Nadir Garouche, our new Senior User Acquisition Manager, who brings with them a wealth of expertise in this field.
We talked to Nadir about his way to the gaming industry and asked about tips and tricks that could be applied in view of the current state of the market.
What initially attracted you to the gaming industry? And what keeps you motivated?
“I first worked in the gaming industry in 2007, and it was already with mobile games. I had the chance to work with one of the biggest mobile game publishers at the time, Gameloft. What I really liked and still like about this industry is that it is constantly evolving: new game mechanisms, new platforms, new marketing methods etc. What keeps me motivated is that there is no routine, as this industry asks to constantly innovate and come up with new ideas to make games even better and more attractive.”
How has the landscape of user acquisition in the gaming industry evolved in recent years, and what trends do you anticipate shaping the future of UA strategies?
“Obviously the main thing that changed in the recent years is the user privacy update on iOS. Apple has made it so much more complex to spend profitably on that platform. Companies either had to reduce their spend dramatically or to invest a lot more in measurement alternatives, creatives, liveops, branding and organic activities. The trends I’m anticipating is a higher adoption of AI for the production of creatives and for automating campaign launch and optimization.”
In the age of mobile gaming, how do you optimize your UA campaigns to reach and engage users across various platforms and devices?
“Creatives are the key component of a successful UA campaign. This is an area where I’ve been dedicating more time in the past 3 years. To engage users on any setting, I make sure to understand the performance of every creative per channel, placement and audience. And optimize every aspect of them: content (ie UGC vs game footage only), end cards, duration, orientation, audio, subtitles etc.”
What role does data analytics play in your UA strategies, and can you share any insights into how you use data to refine campaigns and improve ROI?
“Analytics is key in UA, every UA manager must start their day by looking at campaign and user metrics. It’s common for junior UA managers to mostly look at CPIs when evaluating campaigns. But a cheap CPI does not mean anything good if your D1 retention is low. Or if users spend only 1 minute per day playing. I spend more time looking into user activity and monetization than on traffic metrics. The key user metrics are retention, session duration, ad views, purchase rate and value. For campaign metrics, CPI is not the first metric I’m looking at, but ROAS. Then to decide on optimization actions, I’m looking into metrics such as share of spend per creatives, IPM, CTR, performance per placement or the pace of budget consumption.”
How do you stay ahead of the curve in terms of ad creative and messaging to make your UA campaigns stand out, especially in crowded app stores and gaming platforms?
“To stay ahead of the curve, I’m watching a lot of ads every week. I also browse ad libraries often, mostly the one from TikTok. And I spy on creatives of the top charting games, for instance, this year, a game that nailed it with creatives is Whiteout Survival, they are making really immersive videos using live action mixed with gameplay footage.”
Which hard and soft skills do you think are the most important ones for a UA Manager?
“In terms of hard skills, I would say a UA manager should be good at manipulating and interpreting data, conversion optimization, project management, planning and reporting. For soft skills, what is important to have is creativity, critical thinking, adaptability and teamwork.”
You are the lucky one to have a previous working experience at Sandsoft. If you compare the company now and then, what are some of the things you would point out?
“Yes, indeed, I did work a bit with Sandsoft when it was just created. I think what has changed now is that Sandsoft has a clearer strategy and has people with more experience in mobile gaming, who have worked for the world’s top gaming publishers and studios such as King, Rovio, Ubisoft or EA.”