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Indie devs: Are you taking full advantage of cross-promotion?

by Dom Davies on Nov 3, 2016

Last week Pocketgamer published a piece by my colleague Johannes Heinze touching on a few great strategies for cross-promoting to acquire new users. To recap:

Cross-promote where it makes sense. Typically there are places in every game that offer space but don’t make sense for ads. Those are opportunities to cross-promote.

Create a brand around your game. The more likely players can identify at a glance that another game is yours, the more likely they are to download it.

Prioritize profits over promotion. Cross-promotion with ads is a great strategy, but be sure to put them lower in your waterfall so you don’t lose out on the revenue you could get from ads that will boost your eCPM and ARPDAU.

Use extra space to cross-promote. Got a screen in your game that gets a lot of views? Insert a button or a graphic badge that links to your other games. For example, with the game Tiny Tower, the studio NimbleBit placed a “FREE” button in the upper right of the lobby screen that links to a listing of all of the studio’s games in the App Store. (This also makes use of Tip #1: Cross-promote where it makes sense.) 

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Note the “FREE” button in the upper right of the lobby screen of Tiny Tower. That links to a page in the App Store listing all of NimbleBit”s games.

The button is placed in a fashion that feels natural to the user, essentially integrating cross-promotion into an array of things players might do in the game (including IAPs).

Another way in which you can leverage extra space to cross promote is through a loading screen, if your game has one. That can be a great place to run a banner ad announcing your new title.

Focus on providing the biggest return. Go for cross-promotion that really delivers. It’s quite likely that a simple cross-promotion strategy that doesn’t demand a lot of time will help you to acquire more quality users than a more complicated strategy like incentivized downloads.

Choose wisely. Cross-promoting your games is basically free, but that doesn’t mean you should do it willy-nilly. Test where it works well, and be careful to not overwhelm your players. Use A/B testing to see which placements get more clicks.

And here is one more tip for you:

Use push notifications to let your users know when you’ve launched a new game. A friendly push notification announcing a new title can do a lot for user acquisition, largely because if they’re opt-in, click-through rates tend to be high. Be careful though to not overuse push notifications, and segment to personalize your message and test. Include a call-to-action and make sure you send the notification at a time when the player is likely to engage.  

Cross-promotion is a simple, inexpensive way to acquire new users for your game. It does take thought and strategy, however, so follow these tips to do it right. And don’t forget to track and respond to data on what works and what doesn’t!

Dom Davies is a business development analyst at AppLovin.

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