The competition for users in today’s saturated market is fierce. Today, developers who are serious about turning their apps into successful businesses invest in user acquisition, buying users from hundreds of supply sources. That said, shouldn’t they be taking advantage of their own supply as well? Chances are if a user likes one of their games, they’ll like the other ones in their portfolio, right?
The problem is, in practice, cross promotion is not that easy. The cross promotion solutions currently available on the market solve some of the pain points faced by game developers today - but not all. For example, most solutions don’t offer the ability to run industry-standard CPI campaigns, or if they do those campaigns are competing against other advertisers and charge a high network margin. There’s also a lack of standard optimization controls or the same level of performance transparency, leaving developers unsure if the cross promotion activity is fulfilling its highest potential.
This is exactly why ironSource developed a cross promotion solution, which lets game developers run cross promotion campaigns with the full force of LevelPlay in-app bidding technology, overcoming the challenges faced with the current solutions.
Before ironSource’s cross promotion solution, developers like you were forced to find workarounds. Here are some cross promotion strategies you may have tried, as well as their advantages and disadvantages - all of which we considered and aimed to improve when building our cross promotion solution.
Tailor-made in-app placements
You may decide to design and place cross promotion ads within your own games, for example placing an ad for Game A on the loading screen of Game B. It works a bit like arbitrage - you buy users inexpensively, then shuffle them through your portfolio, and wait until they monetize.
The positive is that you don’t need to pay for your own real estate, and can control placements easily. But there are negatives:
- It requires an extensive time commitment, since the solution effectively replaces the duties of an ad network - quality assurance, ad rendering, and attribution instead need to be done internally.
- These placements historically have very low engagement rates, and therefore little conversion, limiting the possibilities for significant scale.
Buying on a CPM basis utilizing line items on the waterfall
As a developer, you could potentially utilize a mediation platform and place cross promotion campaigns in your waterfall as a line item. The benefit of this solution is that you have some reporting insights and can perform some optimization.
The downfalls are as follows:
- You’re not able to take advantage of the benefits that come with running campaigns on an ad network, like their data science optimization.
- It requires an arbitrary CPM bid, which is usually determined based off guesswork and not the norm for performance advertising.
- The cross promotion line item is placed in the waterfall without full transparency into performance, so you don't know if the placement is sniping potential higher revenue from another network or being undervalued.
- Data science and dynamic suppression are unavailable. Without suppression, you run the risk of serving an ad to a user who has already downloaded the game. Without data science, the campaign isn't being delivered intelligently in a way to maximize yield.
Using a mediation platform, you can create a line item and place it at the bottom of your waterfall, so that if there’s no fill, you'll serve your own ads. It’s a pretty quick and simple solution, and most platforms even offer this option for free or at a very low cost.
However, this solution isn’t optimized for maximum revenue, as you essentially are only running cross promotion campaigns on remnant traffic with no advanced delivery logic.
Utilizing an ad network
Another option is to use an ad network in order to manage your cross promotion campaigns by buying your own supply - doing so just like you would any other campaign. This solution provides you with access to network optimization and therefore to higher quality users.
However, there are a few issues with this solution:
- Networks take a sizeable margin on ad revenue so you're paying the same price for your existing users as you are your new users.
- On the publisher side, there is no transparency into the unique performance of the cross promotion campaigns, since cross promotion and other network campaigns are delivered blended together inside of each instance.
- As an advertiser, you are essentially competing with other advertisers over the same instance, which drives up the price on your own inventory.
ironSource's cross-promotion bidder
ironSource’s cross promotion solution enables you to cross promote your portfolio of games within your own ad space while utilizing the abilities of in-app bidding technology.
From the monetization side of things, this solution gives you full visibility, transparency, and control into the performance of your cross promotion efforts. Serve cross promotion ads inside a dedicated bidding network and use all of the advantages that come along with automated in-app bidding.
From the demand side, you're able to run campaigns on a CPI basis, utilize the ROAS optimizer, and have access to all of the same controls from the regular UA platform including dynamic suppression. Furthermore, access to ironSource’s data science makes sure that cross promotion ads are shown to the right users at the right time and maximizes both scale and quality.
ironSource's cross promotion solution was designed to solve one of the biggest challenges you face while growing your game: ensuring that you have the highest-valued players possible.