Authenticity and engagement: How to drive meaningful connection

Today’s savvy consumers know when they’re being sold to, and they prefer genuine, honest, and relevant approaches when it comes to marketing – in other words it must be authentic.

After a panel on ‘Authenticity and Engagement’ at Pocket Gamer Connects in London, Christopher Dos Santos from Infinity Games offers his take on what makes a piece of content authentic, and whether this sentiment is something that can be measured.

The 20-80 rule 

“As a company you want to be ethical about what you put out there. If you’re going to show a game in the ad using creatives – leave only 10-20% leeway for creative elements that may not be on the game initially, and 80% that are. Then they should be able to understand what your game is about, without it being dishonest. If I’m playing a game because it’s what I saw advertised, it’s authentic – independently of all the other noise.”





Keeping it simple 

“I’ve seen some creatives, such as past ones at Infinity where it’s like these old school Facebook ads with the wide banner. They’d say something like ‘No one can pass this level!!’ or ‘only 1% pass this level’, in an attempt to come across as elitist, but they didn’t do anything. So when it came to creating new ads for our game Energy: Anti-Stress Loops, we changed our approach. We found that performance on images can be weak, so we went for a simple game play – one color, one level – pieces that rotate into each other that show the mechanics of the game, and we saw a huge improvement.”

“We realized that players are looking for a calm sensation when playing – we wanted to give them a moment of Zen, of peace and relaxation. And when do you want to relax? When you’re winding down your day, when you’re finishing college or after dinner. Even in bed before we go to sleep. So we started playing around with other colors, particle effects and skylines and adding cricket sounds. We kept the essence of the game, but added creatives that just enhanced the experience while keeping it simple. It’s all about selling that experience.” 

Measuring authenticity 

“When you’re talking about engagement, there’s various levels of it. If a creative video is 10 seconds and the users watch two seconds – are they engaged? No. Maybe they watch for 5 seconds – they’re engaged, and convert to the product page. So you convert these users – but did they like what they saw? So then you look at retention. How long did the users from that ad retain? If you had good retention, you obviously had a very authentic and engaging ad because they saw it, and they stayed. If they saw it, play one level and they’re out, then the ad was far too off your core concept. Is it all concrete metrics? No. It’s a compound understanding of an audience.”

“We all know MMPs (mobile measurement partners), we’ve got all the data, we might not know who those users are, but we know how they perform. Going back to the 20/80 rule – it’s as if engagement falls to those 20% of creative elements – and the 80% is down to authenticity. That’s why authenticity is better than engagement in that sense. And that’s why it’s become harder and harder for sales to do that job because you’re kind of minimizing what creatives can do.”

Playable ads 

“The playable format is very powerful. If you let the players play an actual level of the game – not showing things that don’t exist, that’s 100% authentic. If I go into the store and there are these people with samples, that’s the product and there’s nothing more authentic than that. Maybe you could play around with the colors, and have moving images as creatives, and then further down the line they could even be implemented because the users might like it. In that way you’re helping yourself out testing new ideas and helping the users out by incorporating new features.”

Relatability and relevance 

“We worked with a nano-influencer, a yoga enthusiast who also played games. She had a tight knit community and was actually a fan of our game – in the end she converted 2,000 out of her 7,000 followers, which is illustrative of her authenticity. I work as a teaching assistant at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics and during a brainstorm on L’Oreal, my students reaffirmed this shift. Celebrities like Eva Longoria are not relatable, but someone on TikTok that uses L’Oreal products and goes about her daily life chatting while putting them on is – this format is more authentic, it gets more engagement because it speaks at a human level.”

If you’re looking to maintain authenticity in creator marketing campaigns, we’ve got some tips for you. Check out our post on ‘How to write the perfect creator brief’.