With growth in mobile ad revenue being 128% in the next few years, it is time to think beyond installs. In a session from Casual Connect Asia, In God We Trust – All the Rest Need Data, Itamar Benedy spoke about the powerful weapon known as data, answered data-related questions and explained how to unleash the power of data.
One tip Itamar gave: “Understand the user journey in real-life to optimize user acquisition and build personas while respecting privacy. No one likes to receive Push Notifications at 3am.”
For Itamar Benedy, the games industry is both fascinating and challenging, encouraging people involved with it to be alert all the time. He most enjoys its incredible dynamism, which also brings constant challenges in distribution, monetization and user acquisition.
Itamar is Vice President of Strategy & Apps at glispa and General Manager of glispa Israel. The company is involved in all aspects of the mobile industry, serving consumers, publishers and advertisers. Its mission is to guide people through the world of mobile, helping them to discover great products that will enrich their lives.
Dividing his time between the responsibilities of GM Israel and VP Strategy determining how intensively to work with the team and what to do by himself is a constant challenge for Itamar. He manages it by wisely prioritizing tasks and clearly defining focus. Itamar’s work as VP is mainly concerned with mergers and acquisitions as well as developing new partnerships. As GM, he heads the Tel Aviv office, managing the supply and demand teams and focuses on leveraging relationships with both Israeli and global clients.
The Mobile Ecosystem
Itamar has tech background and holds a degree in Computer Science. He has also accumulated around ten years of experience in mobile and marketing, working on publishing, vending and advertising facets of the industry. As a result, Itamar now has a well-rounded perspective that enables him to predict which trends will thrive and which will rapidly wither away.
One of the most exciting things about his position is the way it combines the present, as Itamar manages the day-to-day functions of the Israeli office, and the future, with his work on the global company’s development. The mobile ecosystem intrigues Itamar with the speed at which it develops and the directions it takes. As he claims, “Apps today are everything and their penetration is growing each day, making the world a well-connected place. It’s great to be part of the industry, observe and participate in its evolution.”
The rapidly emerging technologies of the mobile industry excite Itamar. He says, “Each day we can witness the birth of new products, which might turn into revolutionary things and change the way of life. Being part of this dynamic field, you have massive opportunities for both personal growth and career development.”
Passion, Focus and the Best Brains
Recently Itamar has been recognized by Forbes Israel as one of 30 Under 30 most promising young innovators and entrepreneurs. This is an achievement that has brought him great satisfaction. Although Itamar doesn’t know exactly why he was chosen, he suggests that an entrepreneur who wants to succeed must have passion and focus, while for a manager it is critical to hire the best brains.
Recognizing how crucial the right team is for success in this industry, Itamar has a well-defined set of qualities his team members should possess. These include: hard worker, laser focused, good karma and energy, eager to learn and develop, and someone who will enjoy the ride. According to him, the most difficult people to hire nowadays are talented tech people, as the demand is much higher than the supply. Itamar emphasizes how important team spirit is, so he’s doing his best to maintain transparent relationships with employees, based on loyalty and trust.
Itamar considers testing and A/B testing from a very early development stage to be essential for ensuring the best quality and the best user experience for the target audience. In his opinion, “Most indie developers are still not data-driven enough to understand how beneficial test results and the acquired data can be.” Another crucial thing about testing, according to Itamar, is the possibility to see that your instincts are wrong more often than they are right. This can be true even if you’re an industry veteran. Itamar stresses that it can be very difficult to be flexible and adjust to quickly changing market needs, but it is the only way to succeed in the mobile ecosystem.
Stay Tuned and Follow New Trends
The next trend in the game industry, Itamar believes, will be massive growth in VR. This market is expected to grow to 11 million users by the end of this year and to be valued at $30 million by 2020. With so much potential in VR, there is tremendous opportunity for game developers.
It’s easy to see how excited Itamar is about the game industry. He constantly emphasizes that, “With so many new products appearing on the market each day, you always have to stay tuned and follow new trends, otherwise you have no chances to succeed. Quite often I feel the market is too mature and there’s no place for new games, and then I suddenly find this super cool new one. It’s always interesting to track the development of the next great hit.”
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.