Gamesforum Meets: Marc Bearman, General Manager of Gaming at Fetch

Gamesforum Meets: Marc Bearman, General Manager of Gaming at Fetch image
By Josh Vowles 16 May 2024

Josh was joined by Marc (Fetch) to discuss his new role leading their gaming team, the importance of data accuracy and merging the rewarded and gaming space. Read on below for more!

Josh: Hey Marc - cheers for joining me! Can you quickly introduce yourself?

I’m Marc, and I have been in the mobile gaming space for the last 12 years mainly leading commercial operations for leading ad platforms such as Unity, MoPub and AOL. I’ve worked on the supply and demand side, but ad monetization is my specialist subject.

Josh: Talk to us about your journey in gaming so far.

I really dove deep into the gaming world when I joined Unity to lead their account management team. Unity was, and still is, such a diverse beast, spanning so many essential parts of the app-developer ecosystem, from IAP tools, analytics, multiplayer features and (most importantly) ads. Being exposed to this world really ratcheted up my love and passion for the space, and I later went deeper into technical product sales, leading the in-app bidding charge with MoPub and then AI-powered anomaly detection with oolo. I’m an avid industry speculator, as well as a frequent panelist and moderator at many leading mobile gaming events, including everyone’s favourite, Gamesforum.

Josh: Elephant in the room, a massive congratulations on the new role! Tell us a bit more about Fetch.

Fetch is America's Rewards App. We empower consumers to Live Rewarded and help brands create lifelong customers through the power of Fetch Points. At the core of our ecosystem, users can submit any receipt to earn Fetch Points for every purchase, from any retailer or restaurant, including ecommerce. We have a highly engaged community of more than 11.5 million weekly active users who submit 77 million receipts every week. We’re increasingly adding new ways for users to earn rewards for places that they are spending time and money, with one of the more recent additions being Fetch Play, our game-discovery hub where users can earn points playing their favourite games and discovering new ones.

Josh: And your role as General Manager, Gaming, how will you grow the new gaming division? What is your vision?

Fetch Play launched at scale in January of this year, so it’s very new, but we are learning fast about what users love and how to maximise value for both users and advertisers. Looking forward, we are continuing to build out the Fetch Play experience and help users earn rewards in even more novel and exciting ways. By amplifying the point-earning opportunities for users, we expect more users to make Fetch Play a daily destination. In addition, we’re looking to unlock further point-earning opportunities through engaging with some of your favourite non-gaming apps; imagine Duolingo rewarding you on taking your next Spanish lesson, or earning a few extra Fetch Points for watching your new Pixar animation with Disney+, this is the vision we have to further capture and reward for time spent on mobile.

Josh: How do you plan on integrating the worlds of rewarded and gaming?

Our mission is clear and simple, helping users discover their next mobile gaming adventure and realise rewards for playing their favourite games. Everything we are working for is assessed through those lenses, and we’re passionate about building an ecosystem around those goals. Gaming has already embraced the mindset of Live Rewarded within the boundaries of their economy. But in creating a platform on which users can earn rewards across multiple categories, we’re pushing the envelope to break down the current, siloed approach and bringing the concept of rewarded economies into a unified platform that transcends one single economy, with Fetch Points acting as the bridge between virtual-world actions and real-world value. Beyond adding more games and more ways of earning rewards on users’ gameplay, we are looking into deeper integrations to power loyalty and engagement as a service.

Josh: Data accuracy is crucial for gaming companies. What message do you have for advertisers looking to explore the rewarded gameplay space?

The key difference when acquiring users that are being rewarded for game progress is that these users will mature differently from an organic user, or a paid user from a traditional channel. Because the social contract is for the user to receive rewards at specific junctions in the game experience, you may see early rapid progression through the game play, which is traditionally read as higher engagement and ultimately seen to drive higher LTV. But it is important to understand the nuance here, pay close attention to how your rewarded cohorts mature and build better telemetry to measure quality in a more refined way. It will take a little experimentation to find the right CPI and reward balance to ensure that in aggregate you see a healthy ROAS. But this is a process measured in weeks and not months, and the upfront investment is minimal compared to the opportunity value. Put simply, rewards are no longer an optional part of an advertiser's UA mix. The only other advice I have is to create rewarded milestones using simple language (at least in the early milestones) that don’t require a detailed understanding of your games’ taxonomy; it is much easier for a new user to comprehend what is required to “Complete Level 5 for 200 Fetch Points”, compared with “Vanquish 7 Elite Level Trolls”. There is plenty of time for troll-vanquishing milestones once a user is engaged in your ecosystem, but keep it simple to get started.

Josh: Can you share a bit more about Fetch’s partnership with adjoe? How are you bringing rewarded to mobile gamers?

Our bar to launch any product or partnership is high. With a highly engaged user base, it’s essential to first ensure that there’s a depth of demand for what’s being introduced and that the experience meets our standards for quality. We enlisted adjoe as our network partner, because they share our benchmark for exceptional user experience, and they are at the forefront of the rewarded gameplay wave. We’re already capturing close to 50% of the top free and top-grossing games using adjoe, and we’re seeing that positive trajectory continue. There are maybe three other gaming networks that are doing this at scale, and we believe that adjoe’s innovative approach to user experience and unparalleled technology really set them apart in this space.

When it comes to bringing rewards to mobile gamers, we are continuing to experience the benefit of new and great games launching with adjoe, so if your audience are reading this and are not investing in rewarded traffic today, we’d love to see them in our ecosystem someday soon – our users are hungry for even greater choice and quality of games. Beyond that, Fetch and adjoe are partnering closely to show the gaming market how we can take this model further to create lifelong engagement with mobile games. We see this model going beyond the current linear milestone approach and rewarding users for continued engagement with an advertiser’s brand this could be lifelong rewards [read infinite], deeper integrations to allow users to directly connect their preferred rewards app to their favourite games, and a range of other innovate and novel ways to make this model a deeply integrated part of the user experience.

Josh: Changing tack slightly, remote work seems to shine for you! What tips do you have for keeping a healthy working environment when being remote?

[softly chuckles] Like many, it kinda happened by happenchance and as a consequence of COVID lockdowns. I was leading business development for MoPub at the time, and Twitter was quick to take a remote-first approach, which meant that we were all flung into this new way of working. By no means have I got things worked out perfectly, but there are some key things that I have learnt are important for me to act as a counterweight to the isolating aspects of working remotely. Firstly, I pay much more attention to my health now, both physical and mental; I get to the gym every morning at 5:45 a.m. (which is in no way a diary of a CEO-esq confession) simply because exercise is important to the physical and mental side of my wellbeing, and I like to get it done before the day starts so the day can’t run away from me. Secondly, I found that working from home allows for personal distractions to creep in, and to avoid this, I like to schedule some time each day at lunch to review my life-admin to-do list. This structure and strictness allows me to not let online food shopping, or showering the dog interfere with my focus time. This compartmentalisation has helped dramatically with distractions. Lastly, and maybe most controversially for some, is that I like to make time for open conversation with colleagues that I am partnering with. This acts as a kind of professional therapy, whether it is having a chance to moan about deadlines in the business or sharing your concerns on a project you are working on, having that personal dialogue with people who are in the trenches with you has really served to settle any anxiety or insecurities I’ve felt along the way working in a geographical silo.

Josh: Thanks Marc for your time and insight on Fetch and mobile gaming Ad Monetization!

You can hear more about mobile games Ad Monetization at Gamesforum Hamburg 2024! 


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