Two UA Managers Share Their Winning UA Strategies

In this interview, UA managers Fran and Mert share insights into their daily routines, processes, and favorite UA strategies.

In this interview, we’re hosting two experienced UA managers, Fran Bašić and Ekrem Mert Cevheroglu

Learn all about their daily routines, collaboration tips, and what’s next in the UA landscape. 

Let’s dive in!

fran bio

Which tools do you use on a daily basis? Did AI tools crawl their way into your daily routine?

Fran: As a UA & Ad Mon Manager, I start my daily work routine by looking at MMP data (Mobile Measurement Partners) and our BI (Business Intelligence) tool data, usually focusing on matured cohorts and yesterday’s data. Oftentimes, I use Google Sheets to analyze data quickly (e.g., creative performance). Less frequently, I use Google Data Studio for SQL database mining. 

On the AdMon side, our mediator Applovin MAX is a place to go to check if everything is okay with ad placements.

AI is slowly becoming a part of my daily routine, but I wouldn’t say I’m using it every day. It crawled its way as a tool for creative ideation for ASO elements, marketing headlines, and texts. On the other hand, it has definitely become a daily routine of the creative team.

Mert: Some of the tools I use daily include GameAnalytics, Facebook Ads Manager, Singular, Looker, and of course, Excel. 

I use AI tools similarly to Fran in my daily activities. However, I would say they have become integral in my daily routine, particularly for data analysis and campaign text. The tools I use the most are ChatGPT and Bard

Fran: Since Fumb Games is a small gaming studio, I have to be the “Swiss knife” of UA, advertising on a variety of marketing channels and ad networks. I have experience managing ads on social networks such as Facebook, Google Ads, TikTok, and Reddit, as well as ad networks like Applovin, Unity Ads, and ironSource.

The gaming community is still a small, close-knit community where information is shared at lightning speed through different channels, such as Slack groups and LinkedIn. Here, I want to emphasize that maintaining great relationships with account managers is crucial for long-term trust.

To keep up with the industry trends, I recommend tuning into insightful gaming podcasts, such as two & a half gamers by Jakub, Felix, and Matej.

Mert: I’ve also had the opportunity to gain experience in different areas of mobile advertising (Ad Networks, DSPs, Social Media, Search). However, my current focus at Ciao Games is offerwall advertising and other types of rewarded traffic. 

To stay up to date with industry trends I attend different webinars and follow thought leaders on LinkedIn. I’m not so much into podcasts, so to stay in the loop, I prefer turning to industry-specific blogs and newsletters

Can you share examples of how you collaborate with other teams, such as marketing, product development, or data analysis, to achieve your UA goals?

Fran: Sure can do! First of all, UA thrives on constant communication between the creative, product, and analytics teams — no silos allowed! 

If you need data, the analytics team is the place to go. As a UA person, seeing all these beautiful, colorful charts in our BI tool makes me feel like a child in a candy store. Whether you need UA charts, Live Ops A/B test charts, or custom metrics — the analytics team has got it! 

This leads us to the intercorrelation between product, analytics, and the UA team. These teams must work together on everything from planning and executing product changes to Live Ops A/B testing. This allows the UA and analytics teams to stay on top of possible performance changes and data anomalies. 

The key collaborative metric between the product and UA team is retention. Retention insights are helpful for both teams, as they provide a snapshot of user behavior, while also guiding strategies for increasing LTV and ROAS.

Finally, there is the creative team. I still believe creatives are the cornerstone of successful UA, alongside game quality, of course. We mainly conduct creative tests on Facebook and Google, analyzing KPIs like impressions, CPI, IPM, Install Rate (IR), CTR, and CPM. 

The UA and creative team need to collaborate and exchange ideas. By communicating ad performance to the creative team, we ensure they understand what works and what doesn’t. For example, when the UA team starts noticing signs of creative fatigue, the creative team can help by making iterations of the winning ad creatives. 

To sum it up, the creative team shapes the initial user experience with engaging ads delivered by the UA team, engaging users in the game crafted by the product team, all post-install analyzed by the UA and Analytics team.

Mert: I collaborate with the same three departments. I work closely with the creative marketing team to align UA campaigns with broader marketing strategies. Moreover, I work with the product team to integrate user feedback into the acquisition strategy and ensure a seamless user experience. 

Finally, the data analytics team helps me interpret user behavior data and optimize campaigns accordingly.

Fran: Let me just add that, collaborating with the creative team, we pay special attention to one particular metric — IPM (installs per mille). This metric is super important for us because it follows the entire user journey, from the impression to the install. 

ai and google privacy sandbox ua developments

Fran: It will be challenging on the UA Android side when Google fully releases its version of Apple’s IDFA framework, called Google’s Privacy Sandbox. I assume it will be confusing in the beginning but the industry will adapt — just like it did with Apple’s changes.

In the upcoming years, I see AI making a stronger impact on the UA world. I assume some repetitive tasks will be eliminated and forecastings will become even more precise. 

I just hope it doesn’t get too smart to eliminate human intervention to the point it takes me back to banking! 🙂

Mert: I also believe that user acquisition is heading towards a future with more AI, that’s for sure. 

I also expect to see more attention paid to personalized ads, privacy-focused strategies, and first-party data collection.

How often do you attend industry conferences and how have these events contributed to your professional growth? Which conference shouldn’t be missed by UA Managers? 

Fran: I attend at least one conference every year. For UA, I would recommend the UA Society Conference in London which is held annually in October. I would say that this event is the biggest and most important physical event in the UA world. Generally, these events are crucial in terms of networking and knowledge sharing among colleagues.

Mert: I try to visit industry events whenever I have the chance. As a part of the gaming industry, I usually attend gaming-focused events, as they provide a great opportunity to meet potential partners and establish meaningful connections. The last events I attended were Mobidictum and the Deconstructor of Fun Gaming Event.

The most interesting anecdote from a conference? 

Fran: You know how they say, what happens at a conference, stays at the conference. 🙂

Mert: I’ll join your answer here, Fran. 🙂

Which criteria do you consider when selecting mobile ad networks for your UA campaigns? What KPIs do you focus on when evaluating the effectiveness of mobile advertising network partnerships?

Fran: Typically, I rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from the gaming community and fellow UA managers. The next step is to compare their games to ours to see if an ad network might work for us. For this purpose, I look into things like ad revenue/IAP ratio, payback windows, genre, type of campaign, budget, implementation incentives, etc.

Our north star has always been cohorted ROAS or ROI matured data. When it comes to metrics, comparing CTRs and IRs isn’t feasible, particularly with AppLovin. This ad network’s CTRs are often too high and irrelevant since the entire ad screen is clickable, leading to a lot of accidental clicks. 

Mert: When selecting mobile ad networks, I consider factors like target audience, partners, and the network’s ability to provide granular performance data. 

When it comes to KPIs, I mainly focus on conversion rates, retention rates, and customer acquisition cost (CAC). 

What methods do you use to research and discover potential mobile advertising networks for UA campaigns?

best mobile ad networks
AppsFlyer Performance Index: Fastest-growing ad networks featuring MAF (formerly myAppFree)

Fran: Mostly UA colleague recommendations and less frequently — my swamped inbox. 

Mert: I always stay on track with ad network performance lists and reports. Sometimes I discover ad networks through online events and, like Fran, I sometimes consider those that reach out to us directly. 

Do you rely on industry reports, reviews, or case studies to assess the performance and capabilities of advertising networks? If so, which sources do you find most reliable?

Fran: I tend to look at quarterly and yearly reports from well-known MMPs like AppsFlyer or Adjust. These companies have an abundance of data that comes straight from advertisers. Some other companies that provide valuable info include SensorTower,, AppMagic, etc.

Mert: Similarly to Fran, I often check out industry reports, reviews, and case studies to assess the performance of ad networks. I personally think the most reliable sources of information are reports from trusted market research firms, industry-specific publications, and user reviews on platforms like G2.

What’s your favorite song to listen to while working?

Fran: Croatian hit from the 90s, “Ella – Iza ponoći” (translating to After Midnight).

Mert: It’s always changing, but recently “Mac Miller – What’s the Use”.

How do you identify and target your ideal user personas or customer segments?

Fran: Today, we’re dealing with limited access to user data such as demographic information. In the past, UA Managers had more extensive data access, especially through Facebook’s data reports. Nowadays, you can retrieve demographic data from the Facebook dashboard using filters like Age & Gender, and also through Google Analytics demographics. 

Mert: I use a combination of data analysis, market research, and competitor analysis to identify and understand our ideal user personas. All this helps me craft targeted, personalized campaigns. 

As I mentioned, my main focus right now is offerwall advertising. The great thing is that offerwalls allow for highly targeted advertising, including demographics and interest targeting.

Fran: I’d also like to add that identifying ideal target audiences isn’t only about demographics. For example, a popular technique is focusing on user motivations and rolling out ad creatives based on different motivation patterns. 

Have you worked with paid advertising, organic marketing, or both? Can you describe your experience with each?

Fran: I’ve had the opportunity to work with both and my opinion is that organic marketing almost never works without paid advertising. It doesn’t make much sense to have a great product if nobody has heard of you, and paid advertising is the solution to that.

IMO you have succeeded in organic marketing if your game has become viral and people are creating free content for you. A great example of this is the success of “Dumb Ways to Die” on TikTok. 

dumb ways to die viral organic campaign

On a smaller scale, it’s certainly positive to get featured in one of the categories in the Google or Apple App Store. Additionally, an increase in organic users can come from optimizing ASO elements, particularly the app icon. 

When it comes to paid marketing, it’s advisable to calculate your k-factor — the number of free users you get from one “bought” user. To distinguish between “bought” and “real” organics, it’s critical to understand your organic install and revenue baseline in each country and platform without using UA.

Mert: While I do have an interest in organic marketing, I’ve always been on the paid advertising side. Paid advertising, in my opinion, is more directly performance and growth-driven, with faster results. 

However, I have to agree with Fran that combining the strengths of both strategies is the key to long-term growth. 

Exploring Fresh UA Avenues

You’re always on the lookout for fresh UA opportunities? Check out MAF’s advertising solutions, designed specifically to attract high-value app users. 

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