In this episode of LevelUp, Melissa sits down with Matej Lancaric, UA consultant extraordinaire, host of the 2 & a half gamers podcast, and the king of no-BS actionable tips. Together, they dive into the rules, or lack of, of UA, what it takes to build a culture of experimentation from the outside, and Matej’s hottest takes. 

Tune in here or keep reading for the highlights:

Matej’s biggest aha! moment

“I think the biggest aha moment for me was very early on in my career when I understood how the cohorts work. It was a very interesting point. It was one of those days when everything looked super good, but we were looking at a very large dataset.

When looking at six months of data, everything looks good, but then actually drilling down a little bit more, like a week or two, and then showed that those cohorts didn't look that good. At that moment I was like this is how I should look at things, how things make sense.”

There are no rules

“It's about bringing a different perspective and new pair of eyes and always bringing crazy, creative ideas.

Thanks to the fact that I've worked with so many games in the past, I've seen some patterns so that I usually know where to start with a new game. But there are no rules. When someone tells me we have tried this or that and it didn't work. Well, guess what? It's different now. Let's try that again.” 

Building a culture of radical experimentation from the outside in

“I think it's kind of easy. There needs to be a no-bullshit policy, high transparency, and honesty. It’s complete trust basically. So if you have this in your environment, in your team, and UA team, everyone thrives basically.

All the UA team vibes are very important. Cooperation between the external partner and the internal team is always important, but you always want to work with people who love their jobs and love working in their team. And when this happens, everything is so much easier and if there is a mistake, everybody knows about it.” 

It’s never too early for UA

“I always tell these companies that, as early as they can, start thinking about the UA. The soft launch is already a little bit late. At least start talking to some UA people that can help you avoid making mistakes and spending, time and money where you could potentially do something else. It's always about the opportunity cost.” 

The best way to get started is on TikTok

“I'm absolutely for starting to run TikTok as soon as you can. TikTok has pretty good CPMs in comparison to other networks. If I compare the numbers, it's like four times lower CPI than on Facebook. But how to start is a difficult problem to solve because the countries you can target depending on where your company is based. If you are based in, let's say Slovakia, you can't run in the US because it's limited.”

Why TikTok works so well

“So the first one is that the audience of TikTok matured a little bit since Covid and now there are a lot of older people there. Now I don't even have the motivation to open Facebook, to be honest. I only use Messenger to communicate with my friends. TikTok on the other hand is a very different platform and people spend time there. It makes sense that TikTok is now performing quite well because a lot of people went to Facebook for information or to get entertained. Now they're moving to TikTok.

The whole platform just definitely improved: the targeting capabilities, the algorithm, everything. It was mainly CPI-based campaigns very early on. Now they have value optimization, their purchase campaigns, and all the app event-optimized campaigns. Basically, it's everything that you can find on Facebook, but it's on TikTok now and they're definitely improving the platform quite heavily.”

A true hot take: one creative all channels

“Winner takes all, if you have a winning creative and it's working well across Facebook and Google Ad networks, it's going to work very well on TikTok as well. Look at the survivor.io example, they had zero UGC creatives, zero, and now it’s what everybody is talking about.

All you need to do is start on TikTok - take your winning creative and it's gonna perform well there too. And then you can optimize and experiment and it's going to be the same winner on Android and iOS as well. I've seen this happening multiple times for different games.”

Organic growth isn’t a thing

“I don't think organic growth is a thing. This might be a very unpopular opinion because I'm the UA guy, so I can't say grow your game organically. But I believe organic growth is just misattributed UA. In some cases, like Subway Surfers and then Hill Climb Racing, all these games that were very early on the platform got loads of organic growth. But those are exceptions.” 

Let's put these tips to good use

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