We continue to summarize the results of 2020 together with top managers and experts of the gaming industry (and related ones). Next up is an interview with Anatoly Dekhtyar, Head of Sales and Partnerships at ironSource Aura in Russia.

Anatoly Dekhtyar

How was 2020 for the company?

For ironSource Aura, 2020 was a significant, breakthrough year in terms of business. First of all, we have opened our first office in Moscow. This is the first official representation of ironSource in the CIS. Secondly, we have signed and launched a record number of new partnerships in different markets. For example, with Samsung in Russia, with Orange in France. New large—scale contracts in Europe and Japan are on the way. Thirdly, Aura's staff has grown by 30% over the year (now there are 150 of us). Most of the onboarding took place in conditions of closed borders, new employees have not even visited the main office in Israel yet.

What new trends in your niche do you consider worth paying attention to?

I'll start with a non-fiction story. This year, there were two interrelated trends in the face: accelerated digitalization [Business transformation, implying the use of IT technologies to optimize processes. — Editor's note.] services and increased competition of these services already as applications for the attention of users.

Even during the first wave of the pandemic, we observed how food delivery services and online supermarkets could not cope with the flow of customers. This has led to the emergence of new players in the market, as well as the development of new delivery services by giants such as Sber and X5 Retail Group. As a result, each user has 2-4 applications installed today offering very similar services.

So it turns out that in the new reality it is no longer enough to attract the user, it is necessary to become the best application in its category for him. However, for games, this has been relevant for many years. And here it is important to highlight another trend.

Marketers began to miss the classic channels of attraction. Due to the limited list of effective and clean channels (Facebook, Google UAC and so on) UA specialists are actively exploring new sites today. An important litmus here was the launch of the User Distribution Portal (UDP). The Unity service has greatly simplified access to third-party stores, at the same time opening up new opportunities for developers to attract an audience.

What will be the stake in the development of the company in 2021?

For ironSource Aura, the Russian market has taken one of the leading positions in terms of volume and turnover in six months. In 2021, the company plans to conclude new local partnerships, including with mobile operators who are responsible for the sale of most smartphones in the country. We want to agree to work with at least one of the representatives of the Russian big three cellular companies [For ironSource Aura as a recommendation platform activated at the first launch of a smartphone, such partnerships are a priority. — Ed.].

Which third-party game releases are you interested in?

Since we were launching a Russian representative office in 2020, there was no time for games. But, like everyone else, I was certainly waiting for the release of the new PlayStation and the release of Cyberpunk 2077.