Ad Tech Spotlight Q&A: ironSource's Cross-Promotion Solution

Mobile app advertising, monetisation and mediation outfit ironSource recently expanded its platform to offer a cross-platform mobile cross promotion solution.

The distinct tech promises to offer a previously unseen approach not yet offered to mobile app developers and publishers by existing solutions. But just what does the new platform provide that is quite so different? And why has cross promotion historically been a tricky entity to perfect? We caught up with ironSource’s VP of product developer solutions, Nimrod Zuta, to find out more.

How does the new cross promotion platform relate to the existing ironSource platform? Is it best understood as an additional feature now included as standard, or is it a standalone tool/solution compatible with your existing tech and services?
ironSource’s goal is to empower game developers to grow their game businesses with the most robust tools in market. We know that for many game developers, cross promotion is a core pillar in their growth strategy, yet the solutions available for running efficient cross promotion campaigns are sorely lacking. As such, we’ve added our cross promotion tool to the roster of tools available to developers using our platform. On the UA side, it’s as simple as marking a campaign as cross promotion, and on the monetisation side you create a dedicated instance that allows for cross promotion campaigns. That’s all there is to it.

What make’s ironSource’s approach to monetising, advertising and mediation distinct from other offerings?
What’s unique about our approach is that we’re able to help app developers close the monetisation and marketing loop to accelerate app growth. With the rising importance of ad monetisation as a meaningful revenue stream, it’s becoming increasingly critical for app developers to be able to connect marketing spend to ad revenue generated, and in our position as both a strong network and mediation platform we’re able to connect those dots to give developers the holistic view of their app business.

Specifically when it comes to cross promotion, there are currently no offerings for cross promotional campaigns. All of the solutions are workarounds, sub optimal, and come with challenges or limitations. Take developers who choose to build their own dedicated ad formats for cross promotion campaigns as an example. Since the ad sits outside a publisher’s chosen ad networks, the ad placement, creation, tracking and optimisation must be all be managed internally, making campaign optimisation difficult and monetisation beyond cross promotion campaigns impossible, so the publisher cannot monetise the ad format with outside demand, resulting in a potential loss in revenue. Another option is to run cross promotion campaigns on lower-quality back-fill inventory, but that means publishers cannot optimise the ad placement’s full LTV potential.

Using an ad network as a cross promotion solution allows for improved data insights and dynamic bidding, but the publisher may be competing with themselves and paying more than they need to be, for their own users. Plus, attribution is much harder. One of the most basic approaches is to buy based on a CPM price with a dedicated waterfall instance, but it doesn’t allow for any of the fundamentals of performance UA.

We’ve worked to connect both sides of the business – monetisation and UA – to ensure that publishers can extract the full value of their existing users, and do it all in a smart, data-driven and cost-effective way.

ironSource has provided tools for app developers and publishers since its foundation back in 2010


You’ve talked about how the new cross platform solution empowers developers to run cross promotion campaigns utilising the full suite of capabilities of an ad network. What does it mean to employ the capabilities of an ad network in this context, and why is that significant?
Ultimately what is needed to maximise the potential of an ad and ad placement is to treat the campaign like it was ad from any advertiser, with no technical limitations or bias involved. Our solution does just that. For a UA manager, they can spend their budget with all the sophistication, optimisation and tracking  they would normally use when placing an ad, such as CPI bidding, attribution, data science-powered targeting, smart dynamic bidding with our ROAS Optimiser tool, suppression, ironSource’s ROAS optimiser tool and other tools. For a monetisation manager, they can set up these campaigns as dedicated cross promotion instances within the mediation waterfall, which they can then treat as critically as they would any competing ad network.

Is it fair to say existing and previous cross promotion solutions have lacked the nuance and sophistication of other UA solutions and platforms? If so, why has that historically been the case?
Definitely. Our solution is the first in the industry to allow publishers to run cross-promotion campaigns in a sophisticated way that ultimately ensures maximum ROI.  What makes cross promotion so challenging is balancing between and connecting the UA and monetisation sides of the business, to ensure that they are both unbiasedly maximised. Current solutions are limited in their insights into both sides of the business, and are unable to offer an optimal solution. As both an ad network and a mediation platform, ironSource is in a unique position to overcome these challenges. We have combined both our deep expertise in UA together with the robust optimisation tech of our mediation platform to provide a solution that is both holistic in its view and rich in its capabilities.

How do you see cross promotion technologies evolving in the coming years? Perhaps you see automation playing a larger role, for example?
In-app bidding continues to be a hot topic and we only see its use growing in the coming years as the challenges of rolling it out in-app are smoothed out. Our cross promotion tool acts like a dedicated ad network and will behave as one in the new, flattened, in-app bidding waterfall, so cross promotion campaigns will evolve and improve for both UA and monetisation managers, in exactly the same way that they’re predicted to improve for everyone else. As in many industries, automation will play an increasingly large role and this will benefit everyone involved.

To find out more about ironSource visit www.ironsrc.com.