Cross-promotion is an underrated yet compelling tool for mobile advertising. It has proven to be an effective way to promote apps, gain traffic and increase revenue. If you’re not sure what cross-promotion is, let’s do some catching up, before discussing the three ways you can utilize cross-promotion in your mobile game marketing strategy.
What is cross-promotion?
Cross-promotion is a co-operative marketing strategy in which two or more companies decide to promote each other’s products through their own products and services. For example, a chat app for teens could use its space to advertise a game designed for teenagers and vice-versa. That way, two apps tap into each other’s audience and expand their reach.
Now let’s dive into the top three ways to cross-promote your game.
Internal cross-promotion in your portfolio
If you’re a publisher with more than one app, you can use your own products to promote your other products. That should be your first step and honestly, if you’re not already doing it, you’re doing your mobile game marketing all wrong. There are companies out there that mastered this technique such as Ketchapp, which used its hit game 2048 to cross-promote other titles in its game portfolio. Another good example is A Creative Endeavor AB studio. They used the additional real estate of its in-game shop to promote other games from their portfolio.
By using this strategy, you’re appealing to your players by creating a sense of community throughout your products. Players that were encouraged to cross convert to your second title will remain highly loyal and will be more responsive to cross promotion of new titles in the future. They are therefore more likely to remain loyal to all apps in your portfolio.
The problem with this method is that you’re cannibalising your users. You’re not expanding, reaching new audiences, but effectively stealing time usually spent using one app, to use another. However, if you have an app with barely any in-app purchase options, and another one with a more complex virtual economy that engages more users to buy, you’d probably want to cross-promote them to that second game. There’s also the problem of user interface. Using an advertising network for cross-promotion usually means you’ll use their UI widgets supplied within their SDKs, whereas if you’re doing cross-promoting yourself, you’ll need to build the UI widgets as well.
Direct deals with other game developers
This is the core idea of cross-promotion. You find another game studio (or any other developer studio, for that matter), and agree to promote each other’s products. Through these strategic partnerships you can not only be certain that you’re targeting the right audience, but you can also get insights through mobile analytics exactly what the potential reach is, what the actual reach is, and how many people converted.
The good side of such a deal is the fact that you can expose your game to a huge audience, especially if your cross-promotion partner is a large game studio. However, this can also be a double-edged sword, as players can abandon your game to go play the other one. Truth be told, if you’re a part of an advertising network, this can always happen. It’s called the advertising dilemma for mobile games, and sometimes you just need to have faith in yourself and in your product. Through cross-promotion deals, there are ways to mitigate the risk. This deal usually works by the install-for-install principle. Your player installs your partner’s game – then your partner’s player installs your game. That way you can make sure that both sides (or all sides) get equal treatment.
The third principle builds on the two ideas posted above, taking all the advantages from both worlds and mixing it with a couple of additional opportunities. The in-game advertising operates through an ad network, where various game development studios come together to share their players with each other.
This is also a win-win situation, as both game developers are exposed to a much larger audience, and the audience is exposed to a much larger number of games. The latter is quite important because, if your game is not in the top 20 list of anything on an app store, its visibility will be extremely poor.
Ad networks are plenty, giving game developers ample opportunities for exposure: Supersonic, Chartboost, Tapdaq, to name a few. Obviously, the biggest advantage of such a network is its large exposure, as well as the fact that all the work agreeing the cross-promotion is done for you. However, you need to take into account the risks that come with it. You don’t know which games or ads will be served to you, and having your own portfolio’s games promoted through yours requires extra configuration and settings. You also need to take into consideration that this approach requires manually building the logic of ad frequency (when the ads will appear and in what order).
Having said all that, it’s obvious that cross-promotion is one of those mobile game marketing strategies that work and that have guaranteed results. If done right, it can be cheaper and more effective than other methods. It’s important to try various cross-promotion methods and find which method works best for you. Since cross-promotion is still not fully utilized, there are many opportunities to be found using this advertising tool.
Have you been using cross-promotion in your game? Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts!
This is a guest blog post by Emily Goldring, Soomla’s Content & Online Marketing Manager. SOOMLA is a free, zero-coding analytics platform for mobile games.