For forward-looking game developers with more than one title, cross promotion can be a boon to both user acquisition and monetization. From a monetization perspective, cross promotion can improve eCPMs, ARPDAU and LTV because of the influx in competitive, relevant demand; for user acquisition, the creation of new supply sources drives scale.  

Despite this, optimizing cross promotion campaigns can be very difficult due to its complexities and the shortcomings of most of the market’s solutions. ironSource's cross promotion solution, however, is the only one in the market that functions as an isolated ad network within a mediation platform that only runs cross promotion campaigns, so you can run cross promotion like any other UA campaign and optimize them in the waterfall like any other instance. In this article, we breakdown the best practices for both sides of the coin, so you can start using this tool and reap its rewards.  

Cross promotion best practices for user acquisition

Follow these 4 tips for improving your cross promotion user acquisition strategy.

1. Start with your default bid

Unless you have a tried and tested formula from previous cross promotion campaigns, it’s best to start with a default bid, as you would for any new traffic channel. Over time, you can change the bids based on performance - if you see quality is improving, increase the bid so you can scale faster and capture more impressions.

2. Split cross promotion from your regular campaigns

We recommend separating campaigns for two reasons. First, this makes it easier to keep track of spend and in turn maintain separate budgets. Second, it allows each type of campaign to run different ad creatives and set different ROAS goals.

3. Adjust your bid according to quality

Like you do with your regular user acquisition campaigns, once you’ve assessed the performance of your cross promotion campaign, adjust your bid according quality. If you’re over-achieving on your ROAS goals, you can afford to increase your bids to get more scale. 

4. Use the ROAS optimizer and let the system determine the bid

If you’re in an advanced phase, use the ironSource ROAS optimizer for the campaign and let it automate all your cross promotion activity for you. Once you’ve defined your campaign goals, such as ROAS 70% by day 7, the ROAS optimizer will adjust the bid on a daily basis for each app you’re buying from, including your cross promotion activity.

Cross promotion best practices for monetization

Follow these 4 tips for improving your cross promotion monetization strategy.

1. Treat cross promotion like any other network

It’s important to remember that the ironSource cross promotion solution works like a regular ad network in your waterfall: optimizing and finding the right balance between CPM amount and number of instances takes time and analysis. As such, you should apply the same monetization strategy. If you run a very granular waterfall with flat CPMs, apply the same approach for your cross promotion campaigns. On the other side of the coin, if you’re running a simpler waterfall, letting auto-optimization take over, do the same with your cross promotion.

 2. Adjust cross promotion instances according to fill rate

If your cross promotion instances have a high fill rate, you should split them to get a better price per impression. Conversely, you should kill off a cross promotion instance if it has a very low fill rate. If you’re running several instances on a fixed CPM in a regular waterfall setup, add one instance for cross promotion on a rev share model further down the waterfall, as it generally has a very high fill rate. You can show cross promotion ads to users that are not being served impressions by ad networks so as not to waste impressions.

3. Consider discounted placements in the waterfall

If you have a traditional waterfall, you organize your instances in a descending order: you have network A at a $40 bid, network B at $38, network C at $36, etc. However, you can give priority to cross promotion by making it a $30 instance and placing it above a $32 ad network instance. This will help you achieve greater scale for the cross promotion instance.

4. Use ironSource’s A/B testing tool

Using ironSource’s ad monetization A/B testing tool, create two different waterfalls, one with cross promotion and the other without, and split your traffic into two groups. Measure how your users are affected by the different waterfalls, tracking metrics like eCPM, ARPDAU, retention; and from the UA platform see how it impacts your scale. We’re confident you’ll see improvements to both your monetization and UA by using cross promotion.

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