In the current era of ad tech consolidation, establishing a programmatic cross-promotional app marketing strategy is an effective, cost-efficient strategy to keep quality users in your network in the data privacy age. If you manage growth for multiple apps in a portfolio, consider yourself one lucky Appi Camper. Why? Because you have access to alternative user IDs like the IDFV to serve users more relevant ads. Read our guide to effective programmatic cross-promotional app campaigns below.

What is programmatic cross-promotion?

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 of apps.

This is a common strategy within the gaming space. Game app developers often possess large portfolios of games with multiple titles. For example, hyper-casual game publishers often use programmatic cross-promotion as these games can have low retention and higher churn. Therefore, a robust programmatic cross-promotional app strategy can help marketers keep users within their network of apps and increase overall revenue, retaining players or high-paying users, based on your targeting goals.


cross promotion flow

Programmatic app cross-promotion in the age of data privacy

Several factors have contributed to the rising use of cross-promotional app marketing strategies. 

  • Deprecation of the IDFA: Apple’s limitation of its unique identifier has changed the way apps can target and serve ads to iOS users. Without a user’s opt-in under Apple’s ATT Framework, apps have been left to use contextual data (versus deterministic provided by the IDFA) to track users or use alternative IDs like the IDFV. The Identifier for Vendors (IDFV) is a code assigned to all apps by one developer. This code is shared across all apps by that developer on a device. Companies with many apps can use the IDFV for deterministic attribution on cross-app promotion.
  • Ad tech consolidation: Changing data privacy restrictions has led to a flurry of ad tech mergers and acquisitions. This includes app developers merging with DSPs to vertically integrate the media buying process; and, DSPs merging to consolidate their first-party data and content offerings. This consolidation trend has created new titans of ad tech with expansive portfolios of app titles that can be leveraged for cross-promotional purposes.
  • Rising CPMs: Following iOS14, effective ad targeting has become more complicated, causing CPMs to rise. This coupled with rising costs related to the global supply chain crisis and inflation, has increased the cost of advertising overall. App developers that have the opportunity to cross-promote should make use of this strategy to shore up costs as advertising budgets tighten.

Tips for running a programmatic cross-promotional campaign

Leveraging learnings from your retargeting campaigns, a programmatic app cross-promotional campaign will successfully retain an existing user that is about to churn from one app. However, instead of activating that user to re-engage with the source app, the cross-promotional campaign redirects the user to another app in the same portfolio via an ad, if they have not been successfully targeted for the initial game. This means marketers have to anticipate user behavior and use data strategically to suggest an app that is relevant to the user’s preferences and similar to the initial app. In doing this, marketers will be able to keep the user within their app ecosystem and continue to maximize their LTV. Here are some tips.

Choosing an app to cross-promote

When deciding what app to promote, look for a title in your portfolio that generates the most revenue or interest. Prioritize apps that have significant updates or product launches that could benefit from the extra promotion.

Choosing an app to cross-promote in

It’s important to remember that migrating high-performing users from one app to another could result in lost revenue. This is especially true for portfolios of apps 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.

A note about DAU:

Daily active users (DAU) is another crucial metric to consider when selecting an app to serve cross-promotional ads in. Avoid cross-promoting apps that do not have a large enough pool of daily active users. For example, the industry’s average conversion rate is 1-2%. This means an app with a DAU of 2500 will only generate about 25 new installs or engagements. Instead, 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.

Choosing the right users to programmatically cross-promote your app to

Evaluating user affinity is particularly important with cross-promotion since you’re using one app to promote another. This means you should make sure the users engaging with both apps have an affinity with each other. For example, if you’re launching a programmatic cross-promotional campaign in a sports betting app, then make sure the title you’re promoting is targeted toward male players. If you are promoting in a hyper-casual game app, promote a game targeted towards female players. Depending on opt-in on iOS, you may even have more granular data on your users to respond to their preferences using the IDFV.

Takeaways on Programmatic Cross-Promotion

In the current era of ad tech consolidation, establishing a cross-promotional marketing strategy is an effective, cost-efficient strategy to re-engage users in the data privacy age.

  • Why there’s value in cross-promotion today: Apple’s ATT Framework restricts access to certain user data. Programmatic cross-promotional app marketing strategies allow apps to use alternative IDs like the IDFV to serve relevant ads. They also capitalize on the new titans of ad tech that have consolidated to create expansive portfolios of app titles; not to mention, shoring up costs as the price of advertising overall increases.
  • What to keep in mind when you cross-promote: Prioritize promoting apps that have significant updates or product launches. Make sure to promote these apps in source apps with a robust DAU. To avoid moving high-paying users from one app to another, segment and target non-paying users. Align the user bases of each app.

Run a programmatic cross-promotional campaign today

As a growth marketer — you’ve got thousands of details on your mind at all times. It might be time to scale up your duties by getting a little extra help.  Reach out to us for support planning and launching a programmatic cross-promotional app campaign to maximize your user LTV in Q2 2022.