This year at Gamefest, we set some time aside during the second night to record podcasts with attendees. If you can picture it, we sat in a circle on the floor of a massive tent in the Negev desert, with music blasting behind us, people dancing around us, and with slices of meat and pita bread in our hands.
Last, we spoke with Chandra Macias Hill from Mobilityware, Fabian Hersen from Ketchapp, Brian Sapp from Jam City, and Jason Falcus from Kwalee about how their companies combine marketing and monetization teams - or not.
Brian: “When I joined Jam City, I was overseeing the UA team, and ad monetization was under a different team. A year in, ad monetization ended up rolling underneath me. At bigger companies, it’s rare and you don’t see it. At smaller companies, you usually have a cowboy who does monetization and UA. Only now at the bigger companies, you’re starting to see it roll into one person.”
Chandra: “We made the decision late last year that it would be good for us to combine. It seems that when people started talking about having a leader of growth is when people started to make that connection of merging monetization and marketing.
Brian: “One area that’s being left out is CRM. Then you’ll own the whole customer lifecycle management.”
Fabian: “At some point, we saw that the networks began to merge two functionalities - at ironSource we have only one account manager and for the other networks also. Ubisoft is more IAP based so they currently have a separation between monetization and UA because the UA team requires more technical skills. Meanwhile, on the hyper-casual side, when you’re ad based like Ketchapp, you need to know tricks, of course, but you don’t need a specialist.”
Jason: “At Kwalee, we used to have separated teams. But then we saw the industry was trending towards a unified approach, especially within hyper-casual and ad monetized games. It made loads of sense, since the major networks were started to have unified account managers. It was far more efficient to have one person on our side to deal with both parts of the equation. Ad monetization and UA are two sides of the same coin.”
Jason: “With hyper-casual, merging is critical - since ad monetization fluctuates a lot. You need to have real time understanding of the LTV, and if a large majority of the LTV is from ads, you need to react quickly to that.”
Fabian: “I wouldn’t say it’s critical - even in hyper-casual. I would say it’s a plus.”
Chandra: “I don’t feel like the KPIs were different between the teams, but rather the culture of each team was different. The marketing side felt pressure and constantly under the gun, and monetization would say ‘it takes time, we’ll get there.’ In our case, marketing is much closer to product.”
Brian: “One of the biggest changes for the monetization team, was that previous to moving under me, all they cared about was hitting ad revenue goals. Their incentives were P&L ad revenue based. I’ve really steered the team to overall additive LTV. We are predominantly IAP, so we can’t only be about maximizing ad revenue. We need to be really deliberate about testing placements and how we affect our economy. All of our tests are about: ‘are we additive to LTV?’”