Product Madness’ Ayşe Betül Eser on building a winning user acquisition strategy

The quest for successful user acquisition has undergone radical changes in recent times. Here Ayşe Betül Eser explains how to win hearts and minds while keeping costs down

Product Madness’ Ayşe Betül Eser on building a winning user acquisition strategy

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 Ayşe Betül Eser, user acquisition manager at Product Madness.

The best way to describe truly falling in love with a video game is that you can play it for hundreds of hours, and it never stops being fun. Ayşe Betül Eser found her all-time favourite video game, Diablo 2, when she was only eight years old, and she still replays it today.

Eser enjoyed her time as a demon-slaying adventurer so much that she wanted to help others experience the same overwhelming passion for video games that she has. That’s where Eser’s journey into the mobile industry started, although it took her a while to reach her ultimate destination.

Driving user acquisition on mobile and PC

Eser’s gaming voyage began at university, where she built up her marketing expertise by studying communications, public relations and advertising. Following that, she spent the next two years honing her skills in digital marketing before getting her first big break at Netmarble Turkey as a Digital Marketing Specialist.

During her four years at Netmarble Turkey, Eser focused almost exclusively on user acquisition for mobile and PC games, giving her ample insight into target audiences and players' motivations.

“I find mobile games much more fascinating than PC games because they allow you to reach a much wider audience,” Eser explains. “When dealing with a PC game, your target audience is normally already set in stone. For example, I worked on an FPS game called Wolf Team that was mainly marketed towards young males. By contrast, on mobile, I can reach practically anyone and everyone.”

Some games Eser has worked on include Everybody's Marble, Lineage 2 Revolution, Fishing Strikes, Marvel Future Fight, Hounds the Last Hope, and Football Strike. However, towards the end of Eser’s time at Netmarble Turkey, her focus shifted toward hyper-casual games, particularly those launching in US markets.

“Hyper-casual games were very challenging to work on as we had to maintain low CPIs (cost per install) if we were to turn a profit. This meant trying out everything we could to drive costs down,” Eser says. “The lessons I learned from that experience helped me to build up my user acquisition muscles and eventually land my role at Product Madness.”

Hyper-casual games were very challenging to work on as we had to maintain low CPIs (cost per install) if we were to turn a profit. This meant trying out everything we could to drive costs down
Ayşe Betül Eser

Overcoming rising user acquisition costs

In her current role as a User Acquisition Manager, Eser’s primary goal is to attract new players to Product Madness’ portfolio of games, which include Heart of Vegas and Cashman Casino. This involves working closely with the studio’s analytic and product teams to execute the target campaigns across various channels. Currently, Eser is exploring how the company can maximise its return on ad spend while maintaining a seamless user experience.

“The most enjoyable aspect of my role is the dynamic nature of the mobile gaming industry,” Eser says. “It's constantly evolving, presenting new channels and new opportunities, and I love being at the forefront of innovation and witnessing the direct impact of our strategy on our player community.”

While Eser enjoys her role, she also thinks that working in user acquisition isn’t for the faint of heart. Mobile gaming is highly competitive, with many apps vying for users’ attention, which makes attracting the right audience difficult. Adding to that challenge is the rising cost of user acquisition. Customer acquisition costs have increased by 60% in the last five years by $29 per user, driven by inflation, platform policy changes, and rising competition.

“A successful user acquisition strategy requires a strong understanding of the target audience,” Eser says. “It’s crucial to build ad creatives that resonate with your potential players. Comprehensive data analysis and a coordinated approach across multiple marketing channels is a vital part of that. To optimise campaigns effectively, you must measure key performance indicators throughout the user journey.”

One essential tip Eser shared is the importance of constant A/B testing, particularly on creative and ad copies. Small changes can significantly impact performance, and continuous testing will help identify the most effective combinations. Additionally, leveraging audience segmentations and retargeting strategies can improve conversion rates and maximise the value of a user's cart.

Diversifying leadership roles in gaming

As a long-time Diablo fan, Eser has always felt right at home in the gaming industry, despite a significant lack of gender diversity. According to Women in Games, women make up just 22% of the games industry workforce, despite approximately 50% of gamers worldwide identifying as female.

“My experience in the industry has been very positive, everyone has been incredibly supportive, and it's a really inclusive environment,” Eser says. “However, I know that it is still possible to face stereotypes or biases, and these can affect career progression. There are also very few female role models in leadership positions, making it hard for newcomers to see a clear route to success.”

While the number of women working in gaming is slowly rising, very few women are in leadership roles. One recent study found that only 16% of executive positions in the global top 14 video game companies are held by women. Eser hopes that in the future, more women will be given the chance to contribute to the decision-making process.

“Having a greater representation for women across all aspects of our industry, from game development to marketing, will lead to new ideas and help to drive even more innovative gaming experiences,” Eser says. “Ultimately, having a more inclusive industry will benefit everyone. If gaming companies have a more diverse perspective, they can better understand the motivations and views of a wider target audience.” regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.