Tell us about your journey to Gismart and your role now.
I joined Gismart just two years ago, and at the time, there was almost no advertising and very little promotional content. For a while, I focussed on putting together the strategy before we began our first push into promoting our portfolio of mobile apps and games. At this point, especially with Beat Maker Go, Piano, Guitar, and WeDrum, we gained a ton of traction which continued throughout 2018 to lead me to where I am now.
What current UA trend would you say is most important to keep an eye on right now?
The Asian market, without question. Everyone is trying to advertise effectively in countries such as China and Japan because there is so much room for growth within these regions. For example, China has a vast user base, high consumer spending, and their users tend to engage heavily. In doing so, products get shared massively, and a lot of non-Chinese companies are tackling the market with success so it’s worth watching.
How do you analyze the latest trends, and how do you know what’s worth following?
This is much less complicated than you’d think. Trends tend to be established by successful campaigns. We look at our competitors, identify what they’re doing, and how markets react. To do this we use a couple of advertising tools that help us with predictions and analysis.
What key trends have you had to adapt to in 2019?
The focus on Asian regions, because getting it correct isn’t an easy job. It’s vital to show that our apps are suitable for different cultures and that all materials are localized correctly. What’s appropriate to advertise within the Western world may not be in a region of China, and that region may also differ to another. We want our advertising to feel native, and that means we need to adapt.
How do you expect things to change as we move into Q3 and Q4?
It’s quite difficult to predict change with a blanket statement, but in general, Q4/Q1 are bigger than Q2/Q3 in terms of success KPIs, but that’s entirely changeable depending on a lot of factors. I’d say what is more important is understanding the seasonality of your products and how different periods affect you. For example, you’d expect travel applications to soar over summer, educational apps during the back to school period, and utilities in spring. The same can be said with your products, know your seasonality and know how to capitalize.
What are the biggest challenges you face when adapting to a new trend?
Right now, our biggest challenge is adapting to the cultural differences of various markets. Understanding what works is critical because most general solutions don’t work. For example, trying to scale with the videos we’ve already created aimed at Europeans or Americans wouldn’t help us with the Asian markets at all. We need to find out what is optimal and understand it. Our mindsets towards advertising are incredibly different, and the challenge presented isn’t recognizing that we are different, it’s understanding precisely what is different and why.
UA pricing has been skyrocketing, do you see this changing in the future?
Currently, mobile applications are collectively advertising across all networks, such as Facebook, AdWords, etc. Further to this, there is more investment in advertising, which is growing faster than network inventory. It’s the general rule of an auction, and as demand rises, so will prices. In light of this, relevancy is becoming critical. It allows you to acquire users at a lower price without worrying about the competition. An engaging video that takes off with its intended audience is a massive prize because networks and channels will support it. So, prices aren’t set to change, but the standard of content needs to.
What trend are you keen to explore with Gismart?
Gismart has recently opened its internal hyper-casual game studio and is about to launch a couple of new products in the domain. This is the next challenge for me and the team. From an advertising perspective, it’s fascinating as you need to adapt so quickly. Content needs to be created and put into action over an incredibly short period of time, and it can be challenging to get it right, making it an exciting experience. The hyper-casual trend is sticking around. Last year it was kicking off, and this year it’s booming.
What are you planning with Gismart right now?
Right now, we’re exploring effective influencer marketing. It’s not something entirely new, but it’s something we’re heavily invested in. Influencer marketing is significantly different from region to region, so we’re also investigating how similar marketing strategies work in our new markets such as China, Taiwan, and Japan.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to keep up with the latest trends going into Q3/4?
I think you need really cool creatives and dynamic UI within applications and promotional materials. Installs are essential, and encouraging installs is complicated. You need to be fast, creative, and you need to acquire the newest channels quickly. With the hyper-casual boom, speed and creativity are absolutely vital.
With a degree in Economics, Ilya came into IT from the Banking sector. He started his marketing career as Junior User Acquisition Manager at Apalon (part of a leading media and Internet company IAC, being promoted to Lead User Acquisition Manager in less than a year.
In June 2017, Ilya joined Gismart as Head of User Acquisition, building a user acquisition department from scratch.
Gismart develops music entertainment apps and games for mobile.
Gismart’s ultimate aim is to create one place for music lovers where they can enjoy making music and playing games together. Gismart top products are Beat Maker Go, Beat Maker Star, Piano Crush, Guitar Play, WeDrum, DoubleTune, and Karaoke Face. With over 300 million downloads across all Gismart apps, the community continues to grow.