Game Monetization with Magic: Mert Ersöz Unveils MagicLab's Approach

December 5, 2023
5 Minutes

Everything is moving fast in gametech; that's why insights from experts become the cornerstone of success.

Our conversation with Mert Ersöz, Head of Marketing at MagicLab Game Technologies, delves deep into his perspectives on the present and future of game monetization, emerging trends, and beyond.

Mert's expert viewpoint provides a comprehensive guide to navigating the intricacies of game monetization. This interview is not just informative; it's an essential read for anyone seeking a well-rounded understanding of game monetization and the gaming industry in general.

Could you share your journey into the gaming industry and how your early experiences with games influenced your career path? Additionally, we'd love to hear about the growth and evolution of Magiclab over the years.

Mert Ersöz: I was/am a gamer and my close friends were gamers as well. They were working on game development while we were studying at university. Every gamer dreams/at least thinks it would be cool to be a part of game development. That was the same story for me, my developer friends referred me to Alictus while I was studying master's in Economics. As soon as I got the chance, I just jumped on it.MagicLab is a game studio that is evolving fast & confident and conquering complex stages one after another. MagicLab started only with developing IO games that can generate millions of installs without UA spend. The second step was working with Publishers to develop hyper-casual games that can reach billions of downloads. The next step was to start self-publishing the next hyper-casual games, that was when I joined MagicLab. And now, we are developing games that have higher long-term retention and IAP monetization, short version, casual & hybrid-casual games.

At what stage do you start to think about ad monetization? From the moment a game is conceptualized or a little later down the line? As a Head of Marketing, do you get involved in conceptualizing new games?

Mert Ersöz: We start to think of monetization from the very beginning. It evolves along the way with the production process and the game metrics of course. Monetization is a vital part of a F2P game and you simply can't postpone designing. At MagicLab, the marketing team is working alongside the product side. Every creative artist and growth manager has their product teams and game projects that they are responsible for sharing marketing point of view to the game's development and it also starts from the beginning of a conceptualization of a game and I am no exception. You have to know what you are going to try to sell, right?

Tell us more about your current monetization strategy (for example, the networks you use, the balance between IAP and Ad revenue, and preferred formats). Any pro tips you would like to share?

Mert Ersöz: We have a diversified portfolio and each game has its monetization strategy and IAP/IAA share of revenue. We have games that are fully monetized with ads, 10/90 IAP/IAA, 20/80 IAP/IAA and fully monetized with IAP. At the end of the day, every game has its revenue maxima and we are trying to fine-tune towards it. We are working with 16 ad networks and DSPs alongside with 6 Google Adx Partners on our waterfalls. We are constantly running A/B tests to maximize revenue. In terms of ad types, we are working with interstitial, rewarded, banner, in-game ads embedded into gameplay, audio interstitials & rewarded ads. We are also looking forward to trying rewarded interstitials, app open interstitials, and different MRAID banner options. Revenue maximization is always about testing and there are limitless tests to run. The more you know how algorithms, networks, and users behave, the better tests you run. The job isn't reinventing the wheel, it is more like understanding how it goes.

How do you plan to respond to Google's shift to a single-call bidding layer and the delay in their bidding deadline? Specifically, how does this impact your strategy, how will you make use of the extra time, and what steps will you take to strengthen your monetization approach?

Mert Ersöz: First of all, we are trying to improve our waterfalls daily with optimizations and looking for new partners to work with. We aren't planning any drastic shifts in our ad monetization strategy. Even though we are going to come up with an amazing plan, I'm not sure if anyone can be sure what will happen to the performance when the day comes, I guess we'll have to see. We are evaluating the possible loss/gain to be prepared and know what we are dealing with. However, currently, our focus is on optimizing our waterfalls for the best possible bottom line. Since there is a shift to bidding industry-wise, we'll have more time to try new partners, focus more on the product side, and maybe go for direct deals.

On a lighter note, considering your passion for gaming, what's your favorite game and why? How, if at all, does it influence the games your company creates?

Mert Ersöz: Currently I have two favorites, FIFA -sorry, FC- and APEX Legends. Both of those games are awesome to play with friends and offer competitive gameplay. Honestly, they have nearly nothing to do with our company creations. We are looking at the monetization strategies, game progress, micro-transaction techniques, and in-game economies to learn and understand how these games are made. Generally, their best practices aren't one-to-one matches to our games but there might be inspirations for new thoughts.

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