App Store Monetization is a must but it is not always approached in the right way. In this talk from Casual Connect Tel Aviv, given by Yonatan Dotan, he covered the many things a company may be doing wrong and how to overcome them. “For those who aren’t believers yet, 63% all of users find applications through search. Despite that, 83% of apps are virtually invisible in search.” One way to address this is to eliminate keywords that no one would actually use to search for your game.” Get a qualified overview of the channel and process, hear best practices, and get answers to questions about optimization of the app store. Tune in to the talk below to get some worthwhile tips from the Vice President of inbound marketing at yellowHEAD.
As Vice President of inbound marketing at yellowHEAD, Yonatan Dotan has created a team of researchers to experiment on apps and create an actionable set of ASO best practices. He has since lectured and presented workshops on ASO throughout Europe and the US. Recently he discussed his work and life with Casual Connect.
Casual Connect: Tell us about the work you do at yellowHEAD. How did you come to work there?
Yonatan Dotan: I’m the VP of Inbound marketing. I oversee Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and App Store Optimization teams.
Back in university, I managed a few local bands. Every one of them wanted a website but we had no money at that point so I learned how to code and started making websites myself. From there, I went on to develop websites for big businesses. After that, it was a natural transition for me to the world of SEO. I was the first person, besides the company’s founders, to join yellowHEAD three years ago and, looking at the thirty people around me now, it’s crazy how fast everything has moved.
About two years ago, we were working with Zynga on their website and they asked if we could help with their ASO as well. At that point in time, it was only a concept to us, but we realized quickly that it was a huge, untapped market and have made it a central focus of the company since then.
CC: What is your favorite thing about your job?
Yonatan: A lot of things! But, if I had to choose one: We work with clients of every size and from every sector imaginable, ranging from the world’s largest gaming publishers to start ups in education, luxury jewelry, DIY video makers, and a dozen other things. Working with such different clients and teams, being a part of such vastly different strategies, creating marketing campaigns that are at times polar opposites of each other and, finally, seeing the factors that lead to those companies’ success or failure, is thrilling. I think marketing work for clients (as opposed to working in-house) teaches you infinitely more and allows you to take insights from one industry and see how they apply to entirely unrelated industries.
CC: How have your past career experiences been helpful to you in your current position?
Yonatan: Coming from a background of development makes me look at everything I do a little bit differently. In ASO, for instance, it was clear to us from the beginning that the key to successful campaigns would be understanding the app stores’ algorithms. So, when we started the ASO team, instead of starting with account managers, we started by putting together a small team to research and try and reverse-engineer those algorithms. The team has built all sorts of tools to analyze the app stores in pursuit of that.
In the end, that combination of insight and analysis from the world of coding coupled with a marketing edge is invaluable.
CC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
Yonatan: To be entirely honest, luck! After finishing a few years in a special forces unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, I needed a job (badly). I had some experience in SEO from my coding days so I decided to try and find a temporary position in SEO while I was sorting myself out. I ended up finding yellowHEAD, loving it, and the rest is history.
CC: How did you become involved in the game industry? How did you make your start? What do you find to be the most fun part?
Yonatan: yellowHead’s founders led the poker and casino units of 888 – a major real money casino company. Many of 888’s employees went on to found and/or run some of today’s largest casual gaming companies. Casual gaming has been a major part of our portfolio since day one and that was where I first got involved on the business side of things. Personally, I’ve always also been an avid PC gamer and naturally got sucked into the world of apps as well. I was spending more money than I should on Clash of Clans before it was cool and learning about the backend and marketing side of gaming has been a pleasure.
CC: What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
Yonatan: In what little free time I have, I unwind with two of the probably most opposite hobbies. For the past few years, I have been doing Acroyoga with my wife – there’s a fantastic acro community in Israel. And on the other, much less Zen side, for the past year I have also been boxing regularly. Two very different, but both stress-relieving, hobbies!
CC: What was your dream job as a child?
Yonatan: Definitely a Wizard. 100%
CC: What are some of the challenges you have faced and what are some of your proudest moments in your career so far?
Yonatan: Building the ASO team has been both the biggest challenge and has resulted in my proudest moments. When we first started going into ASO, besides a few hunches, we had no clue what we were doing. Since then, the team has done an incredible job of building processes, trying to reverse-engineer the app store algorithms, and putting together a set of best practices that I feel lead the industry. A little while ago, we finished our first regression test, looking at the top 100 apps for over 1,000 different keystrokes in both stores. We interfaced with SensorTower’s API, back-link tools, in-house crawlers, and a handful of other systems and were able to confirm or repudiate a large number of what had, up until then, been qualified guesses. That was a very cool moment.
CC: What do you think will be the next big trend in the industry in the next three to five years? How are you incorporating this trend into your future plans?
CC: What have been some of the most effective tools for mobile marketing at your company?
Yonatan: We deal with a number of different channels and each one has its dedicated tools. In ASO, SensorTower has been indispensable for us. We have developed a number of in-house tools and algorithms that interface with it and have taken it to the next level for us. In paid acquisition we use Kenshoo, DS and predictive analytics software we developed in-house.
CC: How have you handled constantly changing technology? How have you been able to incorporate it into your business? What other kinds of tools would you fear most as competitors?
Yonatan: As a service agency, we don’t view tools as competitors. They are a means to an end. We are in love with the tools we use but are constantly on the lookout for others. We see every tool as an opportunity to improve, grow, and deliver better results. The mobile world is evolving at an astonishing pace, but, all in all, is getting vastly more sophisticated in terms of targeting, analytics, media, and much more. For instance, only a few months ago we had no way to even guess view – install conversion rates in the Apple app store. Today Apple’s store analytics allow us to see conversion rates on a daily basis, by platform, by country and much more. I imagine it won’t be long before we have a native A/B testing platform there as well.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.