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Cross Promotion

How the Big Gaming Companies Decrease Acquisition Costs & Improve ROI

In mobile gaming there are three genres that have achieved record success:

Match 3 Puzzle: By King

Mid-core RPG: By Supercell

Casual: By Ketchapp

You may have recently read about burgeoning user acquisition costs. In light of this fact, the biggest spenders in mobile advertising have found cross-promoting their users between similar games (with different skins & themes) to be a highly effective strategy.

There are several benefits:

1.) If a user likes one of your games, they’re highly likely to like a similar (re-skinned & themed game)

2.) An understanding of user quality, allows developers to make precision based bids to acquire the right users for the right price and focus more of their budget on highly active & high ARPU gamers

3.) Utilising the monetisation dynamic “wait to play”, provides an incentive for users to try new games by the same developer & stay continually entertained on “house” properties.

From a macro perspective, if you buy one user & cross-promote between four games, this effectively reduces your acquisition costs by 75%, increases reach by 400%, enabling you to “tag” the best users & avoid the worst. This provides a significant competitive advantage over your rivals.

If you’ve got this far in the article, you may well be saying, this is very good, but how:

There are four ways to cross-promote/ precisely reach users on mobile devices:

1.) Exchanges: A significant amount of mobile inventory is sold via exchanges, such as Millennial, Google, Smaato, MoPub, Nexage. Using a DSP you are able to target users with device IDs, as well as choosing which GEO, device version, and OS version to target

2.) Facebook: While only a single publisher, Facebook has an incredibly large reach, with a highly active userbase- this means you won’t have to wait too long to find the user(s) you’re looking for. Users can be targeted with device IDs, FB ID, e-mail address, and mobile telephone number

3.) Twitter: While reach is significantly less than Facebook & exchanges, it is still worth running campaigns on twitter, albeit at more limited scale.

4.) House Ads: In-app messages, push notifications, house banners

Important point to watch for is ID cannibalisation & non-matches eg Google has moved to AID, Apple has moved to IDFA, deprecating old identifers and e-mail addresses may not match if users have multiple accounts.


Whilst it is possible & still effective to run standard creative, MobAd recommends rigorous A/B testing of background graphics, colours, size, and call to action. As well as providing additional incentives such as free in-game currency, in-game items, bonus levels, special characters to help lower cost per download & improve engagement and thus long-term monetisation.


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