Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a gradual movement of mobile gaming studios bringing their creative production in-house. With Apple's privacy changes and the increased need to produce creatives with authentic experiences, teams are now looking for long term solutions and ways to maximize their creative capabilities.
We sat down with Cemal Gunusen, Chief Gaming Officer and Co-Founder at Coda and learned how building an internal creative team has significantly powered their creative testing and increased output.
Thanks for kicking off our Bring It In-House Series with us, Cemal. Tell us a little bit about yourself and Coda.
Coda is a mobile games publisher revolutionizing the way developers create and publish games. We have a mission to deliver powerful tools and market insights that help developers optimize their publishing processes.
As for me, I lead the publishing operations at Coda.
How long has it been since you built an internal team for creative production?
We had an internal creative production team since day 1 but we only started producing our playables internally roughly a year ago thanks to you guys!
What initially made you decide to build your creative operations in-house?
When we outsourced our playable ads, one of the biggest challenges we faced was not having full control of our output.
As a result, it took a little bit more time for the team to leverage these creatives. The number of iterations we received was often limited, and in some cases, the final product was different than what we expected.
This led to a lot of back and forth conversations about feedback, which made the entire process time-consuming and costly.
Fair. How is your creative workflow now?
We’ve been able to test significantly more playable ads. This is especially crucial for hyper-casual games as the turnaround time is very quick.
Having greater creative ownership also enables us to immediately test and execute the creative decisions made from internal discussions, rather than jumping through hoops to get approval, start email threads and creative briefs.
That’s awesome! What has been your biggest takeaway since making the switch from outsourcing?
Being able to concept test significantly more. Whenever we had an internal discussion on how we could produce more playables, the conclusion always ended up being that producing creatives internally is a lot easier and faster.
Great to hear. How do you see creative production evolving for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
Two things. The first being that studios can automate their creative iteration process. After finding a hero creative, there would be an automated system that subsequently helps studios edit and make iterations — generating an even higher volume of creatives.
The second being that TikTok trends will play an even greater influential role in how studios design their creatives — especially the pace of the ads and how it’s being cut. I truly foresee the TikTok boom for gaming to grow even bigger throughout the next year or two.
Interesting bit on TikTok! Last but not least, what’s one key piece of advice you would give to studios that are hesitant about building their creative operations in-house?
I’m such a huge fan of the operational part. Having your creative operations in-house really enables you and the rest of the team to concept test more as it becomes quicker to find out what’s working (and not working) in your ads.
More importantly, everyone on your team (UA Specialists, Monetisation Managers, Designers, Game Developers, Data Scientists etc) all share the same goal and are held accountable for the studio’s success. When you have one of these functions external, delays and the lack of understanding of the studio’s goals will without a doubt arise.
Take a look at one of the Luna-Powered creatives that the team at Coda produced for their latest hit, Real Drive 3D.