Welcome to Expert’s Corner, our interview series with makers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs in the core industries we serve: e-commerce, mobile gaming, marketing, and publishing.
This is where you’ll find insights, opinions, and inspiration relevant to your industry and the business world at large.
In this Corner: Christopher Dos Santos, the head of user acquisition and marketing at Infinity Games. Infinity Games specializes in building relaxing, minimal, and ethereal gaming experiences.
Christopher discusses his work in gaming and Infinity Games’ legacy, and he provides insight into how to market games in an ever-growing and competitive industry.
Is there any insight you can share about Infinity Games and what makes it unique?
Infinity Games focuses on making mobile games, with its core being relaxation. We try to make puzzle games focused on relaxation, minimalistic arts, and immersive audio.
Do you know the Calm app? Think of us like that, but for gaming. We focus more on how we can take a small experience, which brings our users into a moment of peace and a moment of relaxation, to take them out of their stressful day.
Describe your current role.
I’m in charge of running all the user acquisition, making up the creative concepts, mocking up ads, iteration, and A/B testing. I’m also responsible for the social media management pages, keeping them alive, community management, and managing our Discord server.
Recently, I’ve been getting into the data science behind mobile games, where we are exploring how we can implement cross-promotions, making them more personalized at key pain points. For example, we know this user is about to churn; let’s show them a cross-promo and see if we can convert them to another game. So, it’s a very complex job. A lot is happening!
What lasting effect would you like your work to have on the wider games industry?
I don’t see our games and other gaming companies competing; we are complementary. We want people to pick up our games and just play a level to refocus and re-zen.
Gaming has the stigma of being a stressful, hyper-competitive, niche community, and it’s not that at all. You can make games about virtually anything and find your community. I want to spread to the world about what gaming is, break down that stigma, and share the benefits of relaxation, reducing stress, and getting people through stressful times.
What are the most challenging issues you face when marketing a mobile game or video game?
The paradox in Infinity Games is constantly solving the relaxation versus ads, the retention issue, and then measuring organics as uplifts.
We have to balance showing a clear, relaxing experience and the need to make money. We can’t make our games premium because the statistics say people prefer to trial and delete them. If we make it premium, it will make our lives harder.
Retention’s so volatile. It’s such an important metric for U-A, for the game’s health. And yeah, if you don’t have those retention metrics, it becomes a game of how much smart U-A can I place to boost the Google algorithm to give me organic uplifts?
I have a bunch of charts and do the derivative curves of U-A versus organic. And I do the delta of them, but that’s just one metric that amongst the fluctuating store, you can’t assure it. Because we do A/B tests, you have U-A, text, promo, and key codes.
What kind of research or data do you draw on when designing or developing marketing campaigns for your games?
It’s a lot of data. The apps produce so much data. What I’ve been doing recently is implementing value bidding, where I optimize as if watching an ad wasn’t in that purchase. It tries and adds that value and calculates the CPI based on that.
Otherwise, we look at the audience and the game demographics. So, is our gender more masculine, more feminine? Does that mean we should implement more when doing A/B tests on the store? Should we use more masculine colors or feminine colors? Because if you try and go against the natural organic of the game, it’s not going to work.
The game will appeal to a specific audience, and that’s what your soft launch tells you. So yeah, we look at the demographics and complex events where we try to merge events on Google ads and Google analytics. So, if this user did this and this, we consider them high-value users, make an audience out of that, and try to target them.
In your opinion, what is the best way to gather feedback and player insight during this process?
That’s always hard because we are a mobile game in-game studio. You never have the proximity as a Starbucks client would, for example.
With soft launches, you test the stability of the game and the performance of the game in T-4 geo’s. So, spending a budget on those geographies just to test how stable the game is, the bug fixes, and that’s one way of getting feedback for that type.
And then you use your community. We have a Discord server with about 10,000 people on it. We started it recently, and it’s still growing; we just post clips of things we’re developing and ask for feedback: “What do you think about this feature?” or “What do you think about this?” And they say, “I like it, but…” You filter out the buts and always try to see where people are, but there’s always a but.
Finally, what bit of advice would you give to someone who wants to work in marketing for the games industry?
My advice is, and I’m going to mirror myself, to have a strong understanding of data. I studied a lot of statistics classes and data, which helped so much. And then balance that out with a good dose of creativity because you’ll need to have it.
My decisions are always based on data. But they’re always layered upon a layer of creativity. And if you do that, especially in U-A marketing and gaming, you’ll succeed because your actions are always based on the data. For instance, it says green is more important, so how can I get creative with green? That’s always that thinking, and that helps a lot.