Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Julia Iljuk, Co-Founder of Balancy. Julia tells us about the inspiration behind Balancy, emphasizing the evolving challenges in the industry, particularly for small and midsize studios, and how she aims to empower them in LiveOps and monetization to compete with larger players. Read more about Julia in this interview:
Hi Julia! What was the inspiration behind creating Balancy and how does it specifically help game developers improve Live Operations?

Before starting with Balancy, I’ve been in the industry for 6 years. Every day I communicated with mobile game developers and listened to their pains and needs. The last couple of years signaled an important shift in game operations: launching a cool game does not necessarily mean commercial success like in the booming 2010s. 

Here are the key tendencies that we can’t control: CPI is constantly growing, while the paying capacity of players is declining (not only in games but across all industries). However, what we can control is the efficiency of our monetization strategy.

If we know how to work with different segments of players, deliver the value they need at the right time and price, then we can convert players who have never paid before and take higher checks from those who can afford it. This way, we will secure enough budget for effective UA campaigns to bring in more players to the game to scale it. 

This is how top-grossing titles are continuing to flourish even in challenging times. You’ve all heard about Monopoly Go! and June’s Journey hitting their $1 billion revenue milestone.

The problem I noticed is that small and midsize studios are not able to compete with top market players when it comes to LiveOps and monetization. They needed a tool that would allow them to make lightning-fast iterations, build an effective monetization system, and grow LTV.

This was the moment when I met the two other Balancy founders (they already had a working MVP of a LiveOps platform) and we joined our forces. They are technical founders, while my goal is to bring the product to the market and strengthen the business part – and this is what I’m doing right now.

Hosting online courses and speaking at industry events requires strong communication skills. What advice do you have for individuals looking to improve their public speaking and presentation abilities, based on your own experiences?

As someone who considers themselves more introverted, I’ve found that developing stronger communication skills, be that of public speaking or networking, is indeed a journey. The good news is it’s a very realistic and exciting one. 

So, what will help you on this journey? In my opinion, the key to effective communication is confidence. And there is no other way to get confidence other than experience and practice. Quite banal, but practice makes perfect.

Fun fact: acknowledging that communication is not your strongest skill can be an advantage. You invest much more time into preparation, dive deep into details, and double-check that you understand all the data and concepts and deliver them correctly. And once you are confident about your message – you become unstoppable (just like in that Sia’s song! ).

As an author of mobile games growth educational content, could you share a bit about your writing process and what topics within mobile games growth you find most fascinating to explore?

Since joining Balancy, my focus has been mainly on the topic of LiveOps in mobile games. My daily work is a great source of inspiration – I learn a lot from experience with our clients and from industry friends and then deliver the most interesting strategies in a comprehensible form to wider audiences. This is my way of contributing to our industry’s growth, ensuring that studios of all sizes have access to best practices and equal chances for success.

Working with multiple developers simultaneously gives me an advantage, since I’m not limited by the walls of one studio and its habits. I can also quicker than others see which LiveOps tactics are becoming trendy and be one of the first ones to create a content piece on them.

Along the way, I’m experimenting with the format. I write long articles with mobile game deconstructions, but also shorter catchy posts on LinkedIn. For anyone seeking writing tips, I highly recommend Ann Handley’s “Everybody Writes” – it’s a gem for producing good texts even if you are not a natural-born writer.

In recent months, I started experimenting with videos and so far it works really well. If you want to follow my journey or wanna learn more about LiveOps in games – feel free to add me on Linkedin!

Thanks for this interview, Julia!

Julia’s links: LinkedIn

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Madeleine Egger