Maximizing Game Visibility: Effective Cross-Promotion Ads for Games 2024

Cross-Promotion Ads
10 mn read

The gaming industry is fiercely competitive and Cross-Promotion Ads have been crucial, with countless games vying for players’ attention. To stand out, game developers and publishers need to employ intelligent marketing strategies. One powerful tactic is cross-promotion, where games are advertised within other games. This article delves into effective cross-promotion ads for games, offering insights into how to maximize visibility and drive player engagement.

Introduction to Cross-Promotion Ads in Gaming

The landscape of game marketing is continuously evolving, and traditional advertising methods often struggle to capture the highly engaged and selective gaming audience. Cross-promotion has emerged as a potent strategy within the gaming industry, allowing developers to tap into an existing pool of players who are already inclined toward gaming experiences. This section will provide an in-depth introduction to cross-promotion in gaming, explaining its significance, methods, and the dynamics that make it an essential tool for game developers and publishers.

The Significance of Cross-Promotion Ads in Gaming

Cross-promotion leverages the principle of network effects, where the value of a service increases as more people use it. By promoting one game within another, developers can capitalize on established user bases, driving downloads and engagement for new or existing titles. This method is particularly significant for several reasons:

  1. Highly Targeted Marketing: Unlike broad-spectrum advertising, cross-promotion targets a niche audience that has already shown interest in similar games. This increases the likelihood of conversion as the ads reach potential players who are more likely to engage with the content.
  2. Enhanced User Acquisition: Acquiring new users in the gaming industry can be costly. Cross-promotion reduces these costs by utilizing the reach of already popular games, making user acquisition more efficient and cost-effective.
  3. Synergy Between Games: Games from the same developer or publisher often share thematic or gameplay elements. Cross-promoting these games can create a synergistic effect, where players seamlessly transition from one game to another, thereby increasing overall engagement and retention.

Methods of Cross-Promotion Ads

There are various methods to implement cross-promotion in gaming, each with its unique advantages. The choice of method often depends on the type of games involved and the desired outcomes of the promotion campaign.

  1. In-Game Advertising: This involves placing ads for other games within the gameplay experience. These can be in the form of interstitial ads, banners, or native ads that appear naturally within the game environment.
  2. Collaborative Events: Developers can host special events within games that feature elements from other titles. These events can include special missions, character crossovers, or in-game rewards that entice players to try out the promoted game.
  3. Cross-Game Bonuses: Offering bonuses or rewards in one game for achievements or participation in another can be highly effective. For instance, players might receive exclusive items or currency in Game A for reaching a certain level in Game B.
  4. Social Media Integration: Encouraging players to share their progress and achievements on social media platforms can indirectly promote other games. Integrations that allow players to invite friends or post about in-game events can drive organic growth and visibility.

Dynamics of Effective Cross-Promotion Ads

Successful cross-promotion campaigns hinge on several critical dynamics:

  1. Relevance: The games involved in the cross-promotion must appeal to a similar audience. For instance, cross-promoting a puzzle game within another puzzle game is likely to yield better results than promoting a racing game within a strategy game.
  2. Value Proposition: The promoted game must offer clear and compelling reasons for players to engage with it. Highlighting unique features, special events, or exclusive rewards can attract players’ attention and drive conversions.
  3. Timing and Frequency: The timing of ads and the frequency of cross-promotional content play a crucial role. Ads placed at opportune moments, such as after completing a level or achieving a milestone, are more likely to be well-received. Additionally, striking the right balance in frequency prevents ad fatigue and maintains player engagement.
  4. Player Experience: Maintaining a positive player experience is paramount. Cross-promotion should enhance rather than disrupt gameplay. Intrusive or poorly timed ads can lead to frustration and disengagement, undermining the campaign’s effectiveness.

Understanding Cross-Promotion Ads in Gaming

Cross-promotion involves leveraging an existing player base to promote a new or different game. This can be highly effective in the gaming industry because it targets users who are already engaged with similar content. Cross-promotion can occur within a game network or through partnerships between different developers.

Benefits of Cross-Promotion Ads

  1. Targeted Audience: Players are already interested in gaming, making them a receptive audience.
  2. Cost-Effective: Often, cross-promotions can be cheaper than traditional advertising.
  3. Increased Retention: Players who enjoy one game may be more likely to try another from the same developer.
  4. Enhanced Trust: Recommendations within a familiar platform can build trust more effectively than external ads.

Types of Cross-Promotion Ads

  1. Interstitial Ads: Full-screen ads that appear at natural transition points in a game, such as between levels or upon launching the app.
  2. Banner Ads: Smaller, less intrusive ads that can be displayed at the top or bottom of the screen during gameplay.
  3. Rewarded Videos: Ads that offer in-game rewards for watching, incentivizing engagement.
  4. Native Ads: Ads that blend real seamlessly into the game’s interface, providing a non-disruptive user experience.

Measuring the Success of Cross-Promotion Ads

To ensure your cross-promotion efforts are practical, it’s crucial to track and analyze performance metrics. Key indicators include:

  1. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measures the real effectiveness of the ad in capturing players’ interest.
  2. Conversion Rate: Tracks the number of players who downloaded or engaged with the promoted game after seeing the ad.
  3. Retention Rate: Indicates how well the promoted game retains new players over time.
  4. Return on Investment (ROI): Calculates the financial return of the cross-promotion campaign relative to its cost.

Case Studies of Successful Cross-Promotion

  1. Supercell: The mobile game giant frequently cross-promotes its games like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, leveraging its massive player base to boost new game launches.
  2. King: Known for Candy Crush, King cross-promotes its puzzle games effectively by offering in-game rewards for trying new games, ensuring high player engagement and retention.

Strategies for Successful Cross-Promotion

To maximize the effectiveness of cross-promotion in gaming, developers, and publishers must adopt well-planned strategies that cater to the ultimate preferences and behaviors of their target audience. Here are key strategies for successful Cross-Promotion Ads:

  • Partner with the Right Games

Choose cross-promotion partners carefully. Collaborate with games that have a similar target audience but offer different gameplay experiences. This ensures that the promoted game is appealing to the players without being a direct competitor. Establishing partnerships with reputable developers can also enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the Cross-Promotion Ads.

  • Design Engaging and Relevant Ad Content

Create visually appealing and ever engaging ad content that captures the players’ attention. The ad should clearly communicate the actual value proposition of the promoted game, highlighting unique features and benefits. Use high-quality graphics, compelling calls-to-action, and concise messaging to make the ad memorable and enticing.

  • Leverage In-Game Rewards

Incentivize players to engage with cross-promotion ads by offering in-game rewards. Rewarded ads, where players receive bonuses such as extra lives, coins, or special items for watching an ad or downloading a game, can significantly boost ad engagement rates. This not only enhances the user experience but also increases the likelihood of players trying out the Cross-Promotion Ads game.

  • Optimize Ad Placement and Timing

Strategic ad placement and timing are critical to the success of Cross-Promotion Ads. Place ads at moments when players are more likely to be receptive, such as between levels, during loading screens, or after achieving a milestone. Avoid interrupting gameplay, as this can lead to a negative user experience. Proper timing ensures that ads are seen without causing frustration.

  • Personalize Ad Content

Utilize data analytics to personalize ad content based on individual player behavior and preferences. Personalized ads that reflect players’ interests and gaming habits are more likely to resonate with them. For example, if a player frequently engages with strategy games, promote another strategy game with similar mechanics and themes.

  • Utilize Social Proof and Testimonials

Incorporate social proof, such as player testimonials, ratings, and reviews, into your cross-promotion ads. Positive feedback from other players can build trust and credibility, making potential players more inclined to try the promoted game. Highlighting awards or accolades the game has received can also enhance its appeal in Cross-Promotion Ads.

  • Foster a Community

Encourage community-building activities that involve multiple games within your portfolio. This can include cross-game events, forums, and social media groups where players can discuss and share their experiences. A strong community can organically drive interest and engagement in cross-promoted games.

  • Monitor and Analyze Performance Metrics

Regularly monitor and analyze key performance indicators metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, retention rates, and return on investment (ROI). Use this data to assess the success of your cross-promotion campaigns and make data-driven decisions for future strategies. Understanding what works and what work doesn’t allows for continuous optimization and far better results over time.

  • Future Trends in Game Cross-Promotion

With advancements in technology and data analytics, Cross-Promotion Ads strategies are becoming more sophisticated. Personalized ads based on player behavior, AI-driven ad placements, and integrated social sharing features are poised to enhance the effectiveness of Cross-Promotion Ads in gaming.

Case Studies: Successful Cross-Promotion Ads Campaigns

Examining successful cross-promotion campaigns in the gaming industry provides valuable insights into practical strategies and practices. Here are some notable examples of successful Cross-Promotion Ads campaigns that have significantly boosted game visibility and player engagement.

  • Supercell: Clash of Clans and Clash Royale

Overview: Supercell, the developer behind the wildly popular mobile games Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, has executed highly effective cross-promotion campaigns between these two titles.


  • In-Game Ads: Supercell used in-game ads in Clash of Clans to promote Clash Royale and vice versa. These ads highlighted the unique aspects of each game while emphasizing the familiar characters and universe.
  • Collaborative Events: The company hosted special in-game events that featured elements from both games, such as character crossovers and unique challenges that rewarded players in both titles.
  • Rewarded Ads: Players who downloaded and reached certain milestones in one game were rewarded with exclusive items in the other game in Cross-Promotion Ads.


  • The cross-promotion campaigns led to a significant increase in downloads and player engagement for both games.
  • Players were more inclined to try the other game due to the seamless integration and familiar characters, leading to higher retention rates.


  • King: Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga

Overview: King, known for its highly addictive match-3 puzzle games, has effectively cross-promoted its titles, Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes Saga.


  • In-Game Promotions: King integrated banner ads and interstitials within both games, promoting the other game with enticing visuals and clear calls-to-action.
  • Cross-Game Bonuses: Players received bonuses in Candy Crush Saga for achieving certain levels in Farm Heroes Saga and vice versa. These bonuses included extra lives, power-ups, and other in-game benefits.
  • Social Media Campaigns: King leveraged social media to amplify their cross-promotion efforts, encouraging players to share their progress and inviting friends to try the other game.


  • The campaign resulted in increased download rates for both games, with players enjoying the rewards and bonuses tied to their progress in Cross-Promotion Ads.
  • King successfully retained players within its ecosystem, boosting overall engagement and lifetime value.


  • Zynga: Words With Friends and Draw Something

Overview: Zynga effectively cross-promoted its popular social games Words With Friends and Draw Something, tapping into their broad player bases and social connectivity.


  • In-Game Messages: Zynga used in-game messages and notifications to promote Draw Something within Words With Friends, encouraging players to try the new game.
  • Rewarded Downloads: Players who downloaded Draw Something from within Words With Friends received in-game currency and unique items in both games.
  • Community Challenges: Zynga organized community challenges that involved both games, fostering a sense of community and competition among players.


  • Zynga saw a significant increase in downloads and active users for Draw Something following the cross-promotion campaign.
  • The integration of rewards and community challenges kept players engaged and encouraged them to play both games regularly.


  • Rovio: Angry Birds Series

Overview: Rovio, the creator of the Angry Birds franchise, has successfully cross-promoted its various Angry Birds games, maintaining player interest across multiple titles.


  • Interstitial Ads: Rovio used interstitial ads to promote new Angry Birds games within existing ones, ensuring that players were aware of the latest releases.
  • Exclusive Content: Players who installed new Angry Birds games were rewarded with exclusive content, such as particular levels or characters, in their existing games.
  • Thematic Events: Rovio held thematic events that spanned multiple Angry Birds titles, offering unique challenges and rewards that encouraged players to engage with all games in the series.


  • The cross-promotion strategy helped Rovio maintain a high level of interest and engagement across its game portfolio.
  • Players appreciated the exclusive content and events, leading to higher retention and increased time spent within the Angry Birds ecosystem.

Tips and Best Practices for Effective Cross-Promotion Ads in Gaming

To maximize the benefits of cross-promotion in gaming, developers, and publishers should follow proven tips and best practices. Here’s a detailed guide to help you craft successful Cross-Promotion Ads campaigns:

  • Align with Player Interests

Understand Your Audience: Use data analytics to understand your players’ preferences, behaviors, and gaming habits. Align the promoted games with these insights to ensure relevancy and increase engagement rates.

Personalize Ad Content: Tailor ads to reflect individual player interests. Personalized content can significantly enhance the appeal and effectiveness of your promotion.

  • Design Compelling Ad Content

Create Visually Appealing Ads: Use high-quality graphics and animations to capture players’ attention. Ensure that your ads are engaging and visually aligned with the promoted game’s style.

Highlight Unique Selling Points: Clearly communicate the unique features and benefits of the promoted game. Emphasize what sets it apart and why players should try it.

  • Offer Incentives

In-Game Rewards: Use rewarded ads to offer players incentives, such as extra lives, coins, or special items, for engaging with the ad. This can significantly increase ad view rates and player satisfaction.

Exclusive Content: Provide exclusive in-game items or bonuses that players can only obtain by engaging with the cross-promotion. This creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency.

  • Optimize Ad Placement and Timing

Strategic Ad Placement: Place ads at natural transition points in the game, such as between levels, during loading screens, or after completing a mission. This ensures visibility without disrupting gameplay.

Appropriate Timing: Time your ads to coincide with peak player activity. Avoid bombarding players with ads too frequently, as this can lead to ad fatigue and a negative user experience.

  • Utilize Data and Analytics

Track Performance Metrics: Regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, retention rates, and return on investment (ROI). This data helps evaluate the effectiveness of your campaigns.

A/B Testing: Conduct A/B testing to compare different ad creatives, placements, and messages. Use the insights gained to refine and optimize your campaigns for better results.

  • Foster Community Engagement

Community Events: Organize cross-game events that encourage players to participate in both games. These events can include special missions, challenges, or tournaments that offer rewards in both titles.

Social Media Integration: Leverage social media platforms to promote cross-game activities and encourage players to share their progress and achievements. This can drive organic growth and foster a sense of community.

  • Ensure Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Direct and Compelling CTAs: Use clear and compelling calls to action in your ads. Phrases like “Download Now,” “Try for Free, or “Get Your Bonus can motivate players to take immediate action.

Easy Navigation: Ensure that the process for players to engage with the promoted game is straightforward. Minimize steps and make it easy for players to download or access the new Cross-Promotion Ads game.


Effective cross-promotion ads are a powerful tool for maximizing game visibility and driving player engagement. By understanding your audience, choosing the right partners, designing engaging ad content, leveraging in-game rewards, and optimizing ad placement, game developers can significantly enhance their marketing efforts. As the gaming landscape continues to evolve, staying ahead with innovative cross-promotion strategies will be vital in capturing and retaining players.

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