Psychology and User Acquisition by Paula Neves

Think Tank

Video Transcription

My name is Paula Neves, I come from Rio, Brazil. Gazeus is a company that is in Rio, too. I’m responsible pretty much for marketing and product there.

So in the beginning when I first joined I was pretty much the marketing girl where I was working on campaigns – user acquisition mainly — but slowly from my background in gaming I started helping with product. And today, I sort of, being a CMO, I sort of try and bridge marketing and product together. I would have never thought that I would end up here being a psychologist, which for me in the end is super great, because I’ve always wanted to work with games. Psychology has a lot in common with marketing and even more in free-to-play, like it’s completely perfect how it all worked out and being free-to-play, having a psychology background makes all the difference I think.

How psychology can be applied to User Acquisition

Two things that I mostly use are the big five personality model, and the self-determination theory. Whenever you score those tests on the internet and Facebook, some of them use the big five.

So the acronym is OCEAN for the big 5. So O is Open to Experience, C is Conscientiousness, E is Extraversion, A is for Agreeableness, and N is for Neuroticism.

Those are the five traits and they are like a spectrum, so you can be either super open to experience or closed to experience and so on and so forth for each one of them.That’s the OCEAN, in a very general manner.

The self-determination theory is also very well-known and it’s been talked about for quite some time. What it says is that humans have three basic needs that are innate and that need to be fulfilled in order for us to feel intrinsically self-motivated and happy.

  • So the first need is** competence, **so we all have to feel powerful and that we are mastering something, that we are successful and competent.
  • The next one is autonomy, so we have to feel as if we have volition. We do things that we want to do because we want to do them and we have the choice.
  • The last one is relatedness, so it’s feeling connected to others, feeling like you matter and that people matter to you.

Building Personas for your User Acquisition strategy

One of the main applications of these models is just creating personas. So out of the taste maps you can build four different personas, and then these personas would be something that you could use in UA when you first want to start, like you don’t know which audience you want to target. Once you’ve built the personas out of the taste maps you can slowly apply these personas to your UA work. UA has a lot of trial and error in itself, UA works like that. At least with the taste maps we have a starting point, we have at least four different approaches to take. So we start making creatives, marketing creatives, that will apply to those personas.

So in order to test this out we did the taste maps for Domino’s. We wrote them down and then we were like, “Okay this game is really lacking the whole part of just being multi-player.” Like we do have multi-player, but we don’t have enough of a score because people are feeling alone in the game. Because even though we had multi-player it was just random and then we used it… Of course, we had the feedback from the users and we used that together with the taste maps to see if they were both talking to each other, and then we did the feature. We actually released a feature where you can play against a friend, and that feature went pretty well. Then obviously once we released that feature we did UA creatives only for that feature where people would message, like it was a video, where people would message each other and say:

"I want to play Domino’s."

"Okay but you’re so far away."

"No problem you can just invite me."

And then it was like a text conversation on this video and then the whole process of inviting a friend and playing against him.

That was one of our best campaigns, it went super well, the creative went super well. When we did that, Domino’s was our second biggest game. In the case of Domino’s, the taste maps were,how can I put it, a validation tool.

Using taste maps as a validation tool

We had signs and hypothesis, and we used the taste maps as a validation tool to go ahead and spend time in that feature. We developed a feature pretty quickly actually. It was, I think, less than a month then we were already testing it. And obviously, about tracking and measuring, we have events that we sent out whenever people are inviting friends and when people are starting matches with their friends, so we know when we look at the organic boost we know that some of it is coming from ASO but a big part of it is coming from the new feature.The crown here goes out to the feature itself, the feature was responsible for such a growth in the game and the guys that developed it did a really, really good job. In this case, the taste map was a validation tool.I think that’s an even bigger crusade that I have, is just trying to tell people that marketing has to be there in the beginning.

Being in startups, you fail a lot and you learn a lot and it’s very valuable because you’re just there by yourself usually. It’s a very small team and you have to do everything, you have to wear

all these different hats, which will teach you so much.