In the first of this VB Live series, leaders in the mobile games industry join Google and VentureBeat to talk high-value user acquisition strategies that go beyond just whale targeting and drive real, long-term success.

Register here for free.

Erica May, Director of Global Mobile Engagement and Acquisition at game studio powerhouse EA, has one primary, essential piece of advice for game developers: “The player matters the most.”

“Oftentimes people think about cohorts and think about revenue,” she adds, “but really at the other end there is a player, and it’s really important to understand their experience.”

That’s a huge part of what May does in her role. She works cross-functionally to understand how everything EA does — every game development, every tech update, and how game play impacts EA’s users. She crafts journeys for players that ensures they’re not just responding positively to messaging tactics, but they’re also experiencing the entire point of games — having fun. That’s what drives real LTR, May says.

“Obviously ROAS is an important number to us, so we’re making sure that we can hit that ROAS rate we need to by the end of the fiscal year in order to be profitable,” May continues, “but I also think there’s so much value from other segments of players that not a lot of companies think about.”

For instance, EA game Galaxy of Heroes features guilds, and they have become one of the primary ways to uncover valuable users. “If I can identify a player that invites many other players to their guild or gets other players in the game, maybe they’re not a whale, per se, but they are adding value,” May explains. “So if I can buy more users like them, or attract them to our game, that’s another type of value that people often overlook.”

“A high value user isn’t just a whale,” she adds. “There are other profiles. But people still talk about hunting whales — and even at EA lots of times I get asked, how are we going to hunt whales? And really our main focus at EA is just understanding and presenting players with the best marketing experience we can.”

Different players, she explains, have different motivations and each is essential to understand. Some users gravitate to Galaxy of Heroes because of the competition, while others are drawn to the game because they love the Star Wars intellectual property, and might be trying a mobiIe game for the first time.

“So each of these users is on a different point in their journey, and they’re all important to us,” says May. “It’s not a question of attracting more high-paying players, but taking those other segments and seeing how you can message them and work with them to increase their attention and monetization there as well.”

That’s EA’s primary focus for 2016 — figuring out the entire ecosystem to drive value to the players already on board, and leaving the whale-hunting to Ishmael.

Join May — along with Pocket Gem’s Director of Marketing and Google’s Product Manager for Mobile Ads — and get hard-won insights from the front lines.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll:

  • Learn which marketing tools work, from early play testing through successful app launch
  • Gain key takeaways from case studies and successful behavior-targeted campaigns that deliver the highest-value users
  • Get tips on unlocking the intense power of Google’s platform and hear about the latest tools and product updates.


  • Erica May, Director, Global Mobile Engagement & Acquisition, EA
  • Chris Luhur, Director of Marketing, Pocket Gems
  • Alex Valle, Product Manager, Mobile Ads, Google
  • Jason Wilson, Managing Editor, GamesBeat


  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by Google.