Mobile advertising company Liftoff has invited inspirational women working on some of the biggest mobile games to discuss their achievements, challenges, and future aspirations. This time the focus is on Gintarė Maraulė, Head of Digital Marketing at Nordcurrent.
Having spent over six years working in e-commerce as a Digital Project Manager, Maraulė was perplexed when her clients asked how elements of e-commerce and video games could be combined.
At the time, the gaming world was completely new to Maraulė, but she started researching the industry landscape and how it generates revenue. Before long, she became highly familiar with the concept of e-commerce gamification, where video game elements are integrated into a marketing strategy to entertain users and influence their behaviour.
For example, LEGO offers an app-based channel on its website called Playgrounds, featuring various online minigames and videos. At the same time, M&Ms have an online tool that allows visitors to build customised chocolate treats and merchandise.
“I quickly understood that while working with games is challenging, the same logic used to acquire new players can be applied to every other industry,” Maraulė says. “I found that interesting and just had to learn more about it.”
Moving from desktop to mobile marketing
Before long, Maraulė was hooked. In August 2022, she became part of the industry by joining Nordcurrent as their Head of Digital Marketing. Maraulė oversees revenue and user acquisition across Nordcurrent’s portfolio of games, including mobile hits such as Cooking Fever and Pocket Styler.
“I think what surprised me the most about the switch was how much I had to leave behind,” Maraulė says. “After building campaigns on many of the same channels, such as Google Ads, I thought there would be many similarities with my work on desktop platforms, but that wasn’t the case.
I think what surprised me the most about the switch was how much I had to leave behind.Gintarė Maraulė
“We’re working with a completely different user base, and how we analyse and apply that data to our mobile campaigns is very distinct. It felt like I was starting over from the very beginning as I had to learn a new way of thinking.”
Maraulė continues, “All the strategies I’d used in the past that were highly effective just didn’t work on mobile games. For example, SEO was very important during my time in e-commerce. In mobile gaming, we use a similar tactic to boost visibility called app store optimisation (ASO), but we can’t compare the two because the methods in which they’re deployed are completely different.”
Despite the steep learning curve, Maraulė is thriving in her new role, and she’s adamant that her success wouldn’t have been possible without the expertise of her talented team based in Nordcurrent’s Lithuania headquarters.
“I think your knowledge, development and onboarding always depend on your colleagues,” Maraulė says. “While I understand different channels, markets, and how to manage projects, I lack the specialist knowledge my team has on things like ad groups that come from all their time in mobile marketing. We’ve only been able to succeed by working together.”
Maraulė continues, “The best thing about working on mobile is that you can develop your creativity. These devices are in everybody’s hands, meaning there’s so much capacity to experiment and bring your ideas into reality to stand out from the competition.”
You have to understand how your product is working if you’re going to convince others to enjoy it...Gintarė Maraulė
Women and the gaming workforce
One of the hardest things about the industry for Maraulė is convincing people that her feelings towards video games are entirely separate from her ability to succeed.
“Because I’m not a big ‘gamer,’ I often get asked how I got the role, but I never really thought it was a problem—my skills are more important,” Maraulė says. “I spent several years in e-commerce, but I didn’t spend all my free time browsing their websites.
“Even so, I knew one of the most important things I had to change when I started the role was that I didn’t play any games. You have to understand how your product is working if you’re going to convince others to enjoy it, and the easiest way to get to grips with your games and those of your competitors is simply to play them.”
That’s especially true given that Maraulė fits Nordcurrent’s target audience. Most of the studios' games are aimed at female players, especially titles such as the fashion-focused Pocket Styler, where you can see the relationship between e-commerce and gaming on full display. Nordcurrent’s collaboration with fashion designer David Koma last year saw more than 100 items of clothing, footwear, and accessories added to Pocket Styler in November last year, with the exact same items available for purchase online.
Targeting female audiences is not exclusive to Nordcurrent. According to a recent survey by Ampere Analysis, female players make up the majority of the mobile market at 66 percent. Even so, Maraulė is a statistical rarity in the gaming industry. According to UKIE, just 28 percent of the games industry workforce in the UK is female, with similar numbers reported globally.
Despite that, Maraulė says she has only experienced positive things: “The idea that a career in gaming is mainly for men is an old-school view. I’m sure if you looked, you could find certain people with that dated viewpoint, but I think that nowadays, in our generation, people are relatively free to pursue the career they choose, regardless of their gender.
“If a woman came to me right now and told me she wants to come and try working in the gaming industry, I wouldn’t be giving them advice. I’d be asking them - what are you waiting for?”