In the post-device ID data privacy age, cross-promotion is an essential part of any app marketing strategy. Below, we dive deeper into the ad formats that have the highest impact in cross-promotional campaigns and how to deploy them to better retarget your best players.

What is cross-promotional app advertising?

Programmatic cross-promotion is an app marketing strategy in which app marketers promote one of their apps with in-app ads served within another one of their apps, retaining quality users within their portfolio.

Programmatic app cross-promotion is a particularly common strategy in the gaming space. This is because game app developers often possess large portfolios of game titles. Using a cross-promotional advertising strategy, a game developer can serve in-app ads promoting different games within their portfolio. This boosts overall revenue and keeps users within their network of apps.

The value of cross-promotion post-IDFA

Programmatic cross-promotional app marketing strategies allow apps to use alternative IDs like the IDFV to serve relevant ads. This means it’s an effective way to access user level data in the face of Apple’s ATT Framework restrictions.

It also capitalizes on current consolidation trends in ad tech, in which many ad tech players are merging to consolidate first party data. This has given rise to game app developers with expansive portfolios of app titles they can cross-promote.

Cross-promotional app ad formats

Below, find a short description of different ad formats and how they work for cross-promotional programmatic campaigns. For more information on different ad formats, read our handy glossary of mobile marketing terms.

Cross-Promotional App Ad Format #1: Banner Ads

Banner ads are static graphic ads that live unobtrusively at the top or bottom of an app. They can also be served  as pieces of content that can be scrolled through. The benefit of banner ads is that they can be served alongside in-app content without disrupting a user’s experience. However, this also contributes to their lower click-through rate (CTR) which averages between 0.8% and 1.7% depending on content. This is generally lower than larger ad formats that more easily capture the attention of users. Their lower average CTR could also be attributed to their inability to serve video or playable creatives.

To get the most traction from your banner ad, we recommend serving banners on the homepage of your app as soon as it’s opened by the user. This will maximize user awareness of the game you’re promoting and increase the likelihood of them installing your other game app if they churn — rather than churning out of your portfolio altogether.

Cross-Promotional App Ad Format #2: Interstitial Ads 

As the largest of all formats, interstitial ads guarantee the highest CTR. These ad formats take up the full screen of a user's mobile device and can be used to serve high-performing full screen video creatives. For mobile games, interstitial ads can drive a CTR of up to 3.3%. As mentioned previously, they can also feature video or playable ad content.

To get the most out of your cross-promotional interstitial ads, display them towards the end of a game session so they don’t disrupt and frustrate a user’s experience. This could be when the user taps out of a game to navigate back to the menu. You could also blend an interstitial with a rewarded ad format by allowing a user to display the full screen ad in exchange for in-game rewards like coins or power-ups. Make use of video and playable creatives in your interstitial for higher CTRs.

Cross-Promotional App Ad Format #3: Mid-sized Ads 

Mid-size ad formats only take up half of a device screen, therefore, are a great middle ground between banners and interstitial ads. They increase awareness for your target game app while maintaining a low-disruption experience since the user can still existing content on the page. CTR rates of this format fluctuate depending on the type of content. Rich media creatives will generate a higher CTR than static content.

To maximize the impact of your mid-size ads, display them the second time a user visits the homepage to grab their attention in the case your initial banner ads don’t lead to a conversion.

Other things to consider with Cross-Promotional App Ads

Along with ad formats, there are other variables to consider when optimizing for a successful cross-promotional programmatic retargeting campaign.

Strategic segmentation

Keep in mind that cross-promotion can have an unintended consequence of migrating high-performing users from one app to another and a subsequent loss in revenue. This is a particular risk for portfolios of apps like hyper casual games where users tend to switch easily from one title to the next.

To avoid lost revenue from migrating big spenders, segment your users into paying and non-paying groups. From there, only cross-promote to users in the non-paying segment.

Daily Active Users

When selecting an app to cross-promote in, daily active users (DAU) is a crucial metric to consider. That is, you should avoid cross-promoting in apps in your portfolio that don’t have a large enough pool of DAU. Aim for apps with a DAU of at least 10-20,000. This will give you a better chance at running a cross-promotional campaign that generates reliable results.


Try to align your cross-promotion campaign with critical promotional moments with your app. For example, cross-promote apps when they have significant updates or product launches that could benefit from the extra promotion. You could also leverage seasonal trends and holidays to make your promotions more relevant to users.

Takeaways on Cross-Promotional App Campaigns

In the post-device ID data privacy age, cross-promotion can be an impactful way to keep users engaged with game apps in your portfolio. What are the top ad formats and best practices for running successful cross-promotional app campaigns?

  • Banner ads are unobtrusive but can have limited impact, with average CTRs from 0.8% to 1.7%. Serve them on the homepage as soon as a user opens your game app for maximum impact.
  • Interstitial ads can drive CTRs of up to 3.3% but they risk disrupting and frustrating a user’s experience. Display your interstitial ad towards the end of a game session and experiment with a rewarded format to increase user engagement.
  • Mid-sized ads are a great middleground between banners and interstitials. Display them the second time a user visits the homepage of your app to grab their attention in the case your initial banner ads don’t lead to a conversion.
  • Best practices: to avoid lost revenue from migrating big spenders from one game app to another, strategically segment your users by pay level. When deciding which apps in your portfolio to cross-promote, identify high DAU and new updates.

Retarget your game app

Reach out to us for support planning and launching a programmatic cross-promotional app campaign to maximize the user LTV of your game app in Q3 2022!