Season 02 • Episode 09
Sabrina Chen, Jam City
Recorded Live at App Growth Summit Los Angeles 2020, Jam City’s Senior User Acquisition Specialist, Sabrina Chen, joined the Appy Hour team on the stage for a fun episode. This short, but mighty, episode helps us end 2020 with the memory of what it was like to get together in-person, at the final mobile app conference before the Covid-19 pandemic. Happy Holidays to you, and please stay safe, because we want to see you all (in-person) again ASAP!
Louis: Woo! We are live at App Growth Summit LA.
Ariel: Hi Louis Tanguay, Managing Director of App Growth Summit. How are you today?
Louis: I’m doing amazing, Ariel Niedermeier, Director of Content and Queen of Content.
Ariel: Queen, director, I go by 90 names.
Louis: Who’s joining us on this amazing stage?
Ariel: So we are here with Sabrina Chen from Jam City. Sabrina, thanks for being here.
Sabrina: Thank you so much for inviting me, very excited. (Loud Appause)
Louis: Awesome! Look at that. She got the applause!
Ariel: Yes. So we are here, as we said, at App Growth Summit LA at the Marina Del Rey hotel in beautiful sunny Los Angeles. And we couldn’t have done this show without our lovely audience, so thanks so much for being here, everyone again.
Ariel: So Appy Hour is a fun, new talk show that we’re producing at App Growth Summit. Our mission with it is to get to know the personalities behind the App Growth experts, to talk about the industry and talk about expertise, but to have a little bit more fun than the typical industry podcast. That being said, Sabrina, we’re going to start with some warm up questions.
Sabrina: All right.
Ariel: Well first, let’s start with, tell us about your role at Jam City. What’s a day in the life like?
Sabrina: So I am a Senior User Acquisition Specialist in Jam City. So my main responsibility is to manage the user acquisition media buying strategy of some of our core titles across social platforms, DSPs, incent, and video networks.
Louis: Awesome. And when’s the last time did you laugh so hard, you cried?
Ariel: We’re getting right to the hard-hitting questions.
Sabrina: So this one time I was traveling in Europe with my parents and I think it was Italy, not a good place right now, unfortunately, but we sat down at a cafe and were about to have lunch. My dad and I were trying to decide itinerary for the afternoon. So my mom volunteered to grab lunch for us. Mind you, my mom’s English is not good.
Sabrina: So I was quite confused in terms of how she’s going to get us food and we wanted chicken panini. She went up to the counter, she pointed at the paninis and she went kuku, kuku. And yeah, so I’ve never seen my mom like that. Well, she got us food.
Ariel: Awesome. Let’s ask another hard-hitting question. Sabrina, what is your most used emoji? I feel like this says a lot about someone, actually.
Sabrina: The smiley face, followed by the laughter cry smiley face.
Ariel: Yeah, but which one is it? Is the one where it’s straight on, or tilted?
Sabrina: Oh, the straight on one. But then the third one is probably the flipped one.
Ariel: Yeah, good.
Louis: I always liked the one that they’re laughing so hard, that they’re tumbling over.
Ariel: So I was on the stage talking about SpeakHer. This is a shameless plug for AGS’s SpeakHer, women’s speaker group. Earlier, but it is actually National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is on Sunday. I don’t know if anyone’s aware of that, but happy Women’s History Month.
Ariel: Thank you. Yeah, it’s for ladies. That being said, Sabrina, who is a woman that’s inspired you in your life?
Sabrina: I feel like of course I can say my mom again, but given that she’s brave and-
Ariel: She’s also made you cry. I mean, laughing crying.
Sabrina: Yes, but I guess a recent one, so last year I read this book called Educated by Tara Underwood. And she is from a family of survivalist where the family homeschooled all the kids. But from that, she ended up getting out of the family and become a PhD student and become a doctor at Harvard.
Sabrina: So I thought… Oh Cambridge, sorry. But I thought it was quite an inspiring story.
Ariel: Yeah, that was a great book. She’s really young too. She wrote that memoir and she was straight out of… I didn’t read it, but I read a book review about it.
Sabrina: It’s pretty good, highly recommended.
Louis: I read a review from someone else who read it-
Ariel: I like a book review, yeah.
Louis: .. who read the cliff notes, who then asked somebody to write it for them.
Ariel: Oh, okay. So now we’re actually going to segue into perhaps maybe the most relevant part of our-
Louis: Wait, one more.
Ariel: Oh, we do have one more.
Louis: We’ve got one more question.
Ariel: We do have one more question.
Louis: All the audience wants to know this.
Ariel: Okay, you do it. This is the tough one.
Louis: If someone gave you a million dollars investment, what business would you start?
Ariel: Or what app would you build?
Sabrina: Oh, I was going to say, I’ll probably buy a house in LA and pay off the rest.
Louis: Just retire, buy a retirement app.
Sabrina: No I mean, I’ll probably still have to pay the rest. Honestly, if it were up to me, I will love to start a winery.
Ariel: Yes, girl.
Louis: There you go.
Ariel: Wait, okay so this is called Appy Hour. It’s too early and we’re professionals.
Louis: It’s never too early to be Appy.
Sabrina: It’s five o’clock somewhere.
Ariel: Generally the concept of this show is that we would be having a drink together. What kind of wine would we be drinking, Sabrina?
Sabrina: Given that it’s sunny outside and it’s very lovely, I’d probably go with a sparkling.
Ariel: Yeah, so Rosé maybe?
Sabrina: Sure. That sounds nice.
Louis: You know where you can get wine? At the open bar at happy hour at 05:30, Ariel.
Ariel: Yeah. There’s also going to be a magician there so you guys should all stay.
Ariel: We’re plugging too much.
Louis: But since you’re a magician of UA, see how I brought it back?
Sabrina: Oh, yeah.
Louis: Then we should talk nerdy to you.
Sabrina: Please do.
Louis: And ask you a couple of tech questions.
Ariel: Yeah. So let’s segue to actually the silliest part of our plan. No, I’m kidding.
Louis: Yeah, right. When you run your campaigns in Facebook with all the ads, do you put all the ad units in one campaign or are you segmenting them out so each different ad units are in a different campaign?
Sabrina: We actually do it all in one, because Facebook has this feature called the multiplier that basically allows you to select a percentage you want to go to each ad unit and doing that, you also get the benefit of having the reach. So you don’t have to worry about if I only buy on Instagram, the reach is way too high. And also that way, you can balance the TPI a little bit more. You get more of the conversions that reaches Facebook’s minimum of 50 per week.
Louis: And are you automating any of your creative yet, or do you have an agency that builds all the units?
Sabrina: We do it in-house as a proprietary tool.
Ariel: When you pre-launch a game, where are you testing? What countries these days?
Sabrina: It depends on which phase we’re in. If we’re in the tech-launching phase, generally we will go to somewhere that speaks English, but cheaper to acquire, mainly Philippines in this case because they speak English and they can help us with all the information because they understand the culture better.
Sabrina: But then I guess when we try to test more, say retention on monetization, we’ll go to places that are similar to our core market, which is US. So in that case, we will generally go to, say Canada or Australia. Australia, little bit less lately, just because it’s getting a lot more expensive.
Louis: Because everyone’s testing there, so now…
Sabrina: Yeah. And also it depends on the app. So sometimes one of our recently launched game, World War Doh, it’s a real time PvP, so we want to make sure when we start testing, all the users are in the same time zone so they could match with someone. Otherwise, if somebody is at 5:00 AM and somebody is at 3:00 PM, then they don’t get to match with anyone that they could play with.
Louis: Now, we’re going to go to our final session.
Ariel: So this is a very complicated game we’re going to play with you.
Ariel: And I want you to be on your A game. It’s so complex. In fact, I’m going to explain the rules.
Sabrina: All right.
Ariel: It’s called this or that. And I’m going to say two things, and I want you to rapid fire.
Louis: You have to pick one.
Ariel: To pick one.
Sabrina: All right.
Ariel: You got to pick one.
Louis: You’re ready?
Louis: Set. iOS or Android?
Louis: There you go.
Ariel: Mountains or beach?
Louis: Taco or burrito?
Louis: And you can have tacos for lunch.
Sabrina: Well, good to know.
Ariel: Is that really what’s for lunch, Louis?
Louis: Yeah, we have tacos.
Ariel: Did not plan that. That is cool.
Louis: Yes, look at that.
Ariel: I didn’t know. Okay.
Louis: We have tacos.
Ariel: Pen or pencil?
Ariel: Ooh, see I like someone who commits like that. Pencil, you can erase it. Always do a crossword with a pen.
Louis: And then if you mess up everyone else?
Ariel: No. I just think you should commit. You should be bold. Commit to your answer, if that’s what you think.
Louis: I’m going to look at your crossword puzzle book and see a bunch of scribbles and be like, “You suck at this game.”
Ariel: City or country?
Ariel: I like the next one.
Louis: Yeah? Well then why don’t you ask the next one, Ariel?
Ariel: Okay. Analog watch or digital watch?
Sabrina: Digital. I have one right now.
Ariel: Okay, I just bought a digital watch. I’m excited about it.
Louis: Yeah? What kind?
Ariel: I know. It’s kind of like…
Louis: Welcome to the 80s.
Ariel: I know. I like it though. You go next.
Louis: Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?
Ariel: I know you’re a Dunkin’ person.
Louis: Ah, East Coast. Yeah.
Ariel: Sugar or spice?
Louis: And everything nice. Online shopping or in the store shopping?
Sabrina: In store.
Ariel: Ooh really? Tell us why.
Sabrina: Because you can try things on, especially shoes.
Ariel: Yeah. You like that, like in-store experience. So brick and mortar is still a thing for you?
Sabrina: Well, I feel like it’s more, I will go try things on in store and then I’ll buy it online to find it cheaper.
Louis: Yeah. That’s what everyone does. Have you ever tried one of those apps that you can put down and it’ll tell you exactly what size you are?
Sabrina: Yes, I’ve actually… I forgot the name of it, but I have tried something similar to that, but I still found if you’re buying shoes, that’s hard to gauge.
Louis: Yeah because you have to walk in them. Literally walk in your own shoes.
Sabrina: Well the good thing is a lot of stores come with free returning.
Louis: Let’s ask about three more? What do you think?
Ariel: Okay, wait. Let me pick the best ones, hold on. These are-
Louis: They’re all the best, Ariel. They’re like your children, these this or that questions.
Sabrina: Oh my God.
Ariel: Oh okay I love this one. Call or text?
Ariel: Yeah. See, everyone says text. I like a phone call. I like it intimate like that.
Louis: What about your mom though?
Sabrina: Oh, I FaceTime her.
Ariel: Oh, do you?
Louis: Yeah, see.
Ariel: Okay, software update now or software update later?
Sabrina: I think iPhone has update to the point that we don’t have to pick it now. It just goes at when you’re sleeping, so…
Louis: I think because so many people are like, “No, stop. Just later. Get away from me.”
Ariel: I’m like, “Later.” I have such a tense relationship with my computer like, “Later, later, later.” Oh my God. Just like it’s enough.
Sabrina: And then it will just show up when you’re least expecting.
Louis: Yeah, when you’re texting someone else and you’re on a call at work and then it pops up, “Update your software.” Like, “No, just go away. Do things.”
Ariel: Okay most important, truth or dare?
Ariel: Oh, okay.
Louis: She’s like, “Oh, no.”
Ariel: What Jam City game do you have the highest score at?
Sabrina: Ooh… Vineyard Valley. It’s a collapse game that also has a meta and decoration. So I love the decoration part of it, so I basically blast through all the puzzle levels so I could get all the decoration pieces.
Ariel: Okay. So thank you so much.
Louis: But all the games at Jam City are amazing that are still in existence, so download all of them and buy lots of things in them so we can keep people employed.
Sabrina: Please do.
Ariel: All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Sabrina, and being game for this little talk show.
Sabrina: Thank you, it was a fun game.
Ariel: Let’s give Sabrina a round of applause.
Louis: Yes, thank you very much.
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