Paula Neves is a passion-filled Head of User Acquisition turned Product Manager. She uses her background in gaming and psychology to help build better games at Square Enix Montreal and bridges the gap between UA and product. At her current role, she works hard to ensure that the best possible game is being built, helping the production team understand the audience and the market, helping them navigate through all the data they collect and planning and prioritizing the backlog accordingly. She also establishes the UA strategy – which should be greatly tied in with the product strategy – so people can discover and fall in love with the games. In the below transcribed short interview, Paula shares a snapshot into her professional life, the challenges faced at her current role, and a glimpse into what is in store. Enjoy.
So Paula, where are you at in the world these days?
I’m from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve lived there all my life but relocated to Montreal in September 2019 to join Square Enix.
What brought you to the mobile gaming industry?
I majored in Psychology but always loved playing games (since I was 5, with my sister’s Atari). When I was about to graduate I started taking freelance jobs as a social media analyst and later started working in UA in agencies. 7 years ago I started working in the gaming market and then moved specifically into mobile gaming.
How did you end up at Square Enix?
I’ve always been pretty active in the industry, participating in a lot of events and giving a lot of talks. After one of my talks in Montreal, during MIGS, Square Enix reached out to me with the opportunity. I gladly took it because it has always been a dream of mine to work at a company whose games I played while growing up.
How are you feeling about working in the mobile game industry?
Honestly, it’s super gratifying, we make games and work with products that make people happy. Being in a company as big and well-known as Square Enix your impact in the industry is immediately palpable, and that is an amazing feeling! Being able to work on AAA mobile free to play games that could change the industry is a privilege and I learn daily with the amazing team I work with.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face as Product Manager at Square Enix?
I currently manage a game that is still being developed and has innovative gameplay. It’s quite a challenge building something without much to benchmark with. We’re building the benchmark!
Are you a specialist in a specific area of app marketing?
My main strength is User Acquisition. I have been doing it for 12 years, since way back when it was called SEM. But I also have ample experience with ASO and mobile games as a product, which became 85% of my job now.
What are your favorite tools and resources?
Marketing in the mobile industry is heavily dependent on mobile attribution partners, so those are tools that we use constantly. Same with our analytics stack. There are a lot of good resources out there to learn more about the mobile gaming industry, game design, marketing, etc. I consult websites like Deconstructor of Fun, Growth Hackers, Phiture, ASO Stack, and materials that service providers constantly produce.
Is there anything new and exciting on the horizon?
At Square Enix Montreal we’re putting a lot of effort into the development of a few new free to play games. Each has its exciting particularities and they’re very different from each other. This is a super-rich foundation we’re building and 2021 will be a big year, with lots going on for the company. I can’t wait!
Read Paula Neves’ in-depth article on Behavior Economics and Free to Play Games.