jacob krüger smiling into camera against a purple background
Interview , Mobile Games

User Acquisition Trends with Jacob Krüger

In this series of articles, industry experts share their insights into UA trends and industry developments with the adjoe team. 

Seasoned mobile gaming expert Jacob Krüger is Director of User Acquisition and Marketing at FunPlus’ Barcelona studio. FunPlus is headquartered in Switzerland, with offices in Asia, Europe, and North America. Its top titles of all time include King of Avalon and State of Survival with more than 100 million downloads.

After more than a decade of experience at companies such as Scopely, Miniclip, and Social Point, Jacob is currently leading and building a FunPlus team in Barcelona dedicated to developing hybridcasual games.

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What advice would you give to game developers starting out building and testing new games? 

The gaming industry at the moment is super hard. It is very hard to make a game that is successful, so you need some resilience, innovation, and some great ideas – obviously. Even then it will be very, very tough, but I also think it will only get harder in the future. So, the best time to start is now.

What is the biggest challenge the market needs to overcome at the moment?

Well, there are quite a few. I think talent is a big challenge. Finding the right people with the right background and the right motivation – especially, if you’re starting out from scratch. There’s a lot of competition – both for the talent and for the users. 

Building a great product is not enough. It’s a condition you need to fulfill, but you also need to have great marketing and be discovered. The market is so competitive. There are so many great games being launched every day. There are so many great games in the app stores that have been played for years by many users that it’s really hard to get the users to discover your new game.

I think the cost of marketing is rising constantly. Measurability is declining at the same time, meaning it’s getting harder and harder to do marketing profitably. That is something we as an industry have to overcome.

What do you think is the biggest opportunity in this industry?

Before all the changes on the data side – with IDFA deprecation, iOS 14, and Google Sandbox coming – before all that, we had kind of a blueprint of how we do user acquisition for games, or even marketing for games. 

Everybody had different KPIs, but the blueprint was the same. You tracked, you optimized on a certain ROI level or CPI, then you built your marketing campaigns around that, and you scaled your game.

Now the paradigm has shifted, and now marketing has much less a one-size-fits-all approach. Every game has to figure out how to do marketing, what to measure, how to measure it, and creativity and innovation have become much more important. Not just on the product side, but also on the marketing side. 

It calls for a more holistic marketing approach. UA will still be the main pillar, but there will be other branches of marketing that become increasingly important.

I think that it goes even as far as working closer with the product, working closer with community management, taking care of your users a lot more. Because it’s really hard to acquire them, so you have to keep them even longer.

How crucial is the role of rewarded advertising in the gaming industry?

I think rewarded products can add a lot of value for sure.

If you had asked me maybe five, six, seven years ago about rewarded ads, I would have said: ”Maybe there’s something there.” Now I’m saying it’s a huge business opportunity on both sides: on monetization and on acquisition. 

I think more and more game genres have opened up themselves to ad monetization in general, and especially with rewarded formats. I think that’s also a good sign and speaks for the format itself because it’s not disrupting the product. It’s not bad advertising as such.

In the past, when we think about advertising, everybody thinks about TV. You watch a movie. It’s getting really tense, and then: “Oh no, we have an ad break.” It’s like: “Oh, why do they have to show ads?” In gaming it’s different because ads can add value, right? They’re not as annoying as on TV if you do it right.

When adjoe came out, for me, it had a very different approach and offered something new and something innovative. It offered something very different in the market – offering a new way of engaging users and bringing them to your game, which is great.

The industry is very fast-moving. There are always changes. They are not always as big as IDFA deprecation, but there are new ad technologies coming up that offer a new possibility for UA managers to acquire users or even to monetize your app, for monetization managers. So, I think that your success speaks volumes.

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