Akseli Virtanen, UA Lead for Traplight Games, stops for a chat and tells us the secrets to good mobile games video ads and how challenging it is to figure out a good name for a mobile game.
Below is the transcript of the interview.
My name is Akseli Virtanen and I’m the UA Lead at Traplight Games at the moment. And Traplight Games is kind of a midsize mobile gaming studio based in Tampere, Finland and we work with kind of a mid-core free-to-play games.
What makes a good video ad for mobile games?
I’m sure there are no exact rules or ways to make a great ad but based on my experience and what works for our products: it’s keeping the ad very simple and honest to the product. Right, I don’t believe in fake concepts, etc. Usually, people just want to see what the game is about and if they like what they see, they’ll download the game. And also retain better if they have the right expectations coming in.
How often do video ads need to be updated?
Well, ideally, you need to have a new concept out to testing on a weekly basis, it of course depends a lot on your spending level. If you spend a lot then you can’t expect a single creative to work very well for more than a month. And if that’s the case, your weekly production needs to be pretty high so that you will find every month those winning creatives to replace the ones that are experiencing fatigue.
And of course, there can be situations where you don’t want to change the creative, like we are, at the moment, in a testing phase with a new game coming out next year and if we want to keep the audience as consistent as possible, their expectations as consistent as possible then we, of course, want to run the same creative all the time for retention testing for example.
Where do you start when launching a new UA campaign?
First of all, we need to base everything on some kind of business case or what do we want to achieve with the campaign. But obviously, quite often that can be rather vague. We just want to find users who pay or make in-app purchases. That’s often the overall goal. We just try to align the creative approach and the campaign setups on suitable networks in order to try to attract the kind of audience or customers that we want at that time.
And that’s also, of course, always an iterative process. You are most likely going to fail with a lot of your campaigns and you can be discouraged by that, just make some learnings, try to understand why that didn’t work and make changes and try again.
Can you share with us a challenging experience you’ve had?
Well, the whole operation is of course a challenge but we just recently went through a pretty exhausting experience of trying to find a name for our new game. And there are not a lot of proven or published strategies on this so we came up with our own system of testing different names and trying to find a balance between availability, keyword scores, and performance marketing testing, and this was such a hassle. But it was a very rewarding experience in the end when the name was finally chosen and we got to move forward.