Promoting your Mobile App Using Cross Promotion Networks

Mobile app cross promotion networks1
Welcome to another mobyaffiliates app marketing guide. Today we’re going to take a thorough look at cross app promotion networks, covering cost per install (CPI), incentivised networks and cross exchanges. Over the last few months, cross promotion networks such as Chartboost, AppFlood and TapJoy have been making some big waves. Earlier in the year Chartboost secured $19 million in new funding and announced it now reaches 300 million monthly active devices. We’ve also seen TapJoy moving into non-gaming genres and bolster its consulting efforts with developers, while Papaya’s AppFlood platform, which is already driving around 4,000 to 7,000 installs per app per day, is tapping into the potentially lucrative Chinese market.
A picture is starting to emerge of the app promotion space and it looks highly likely to be dominated by cross exchanges and CPI. Developers are gagging for more affordable and less risky avenues to gain users. The more traditional networks operating on CPC and CPM may find themselves playing a serious game of catch-up. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What exactly are cross promotion networks? How do they work? What are the drawbacks? In this guide we’ll attempt to answer these questions and more. We’ve also got interviews with all the major platforms, as well as a handy directory of cross promo networks for you to check out.



1. What are cross promotion networks?
2. Key stats
3. The benefits of using cross promotion networks
4. What’s the catch?
5. Cross promotion networks: Ask the experts Q&A
6. Directory of cross promotion networks


What are cross promotion networks?

You’re probably wondering what exactly we mean by a ‘cross promotion network.’ There are a few different types and they can differ quite significantly in terms of what they offer developers.

Infographic from cross promo network Chartboost.

Infographic from cross promo network Chartboost.

Direct cross promotion exchanges

Direct cross promotion is used by a number of networks. The idea is pretty simple, the network allows two apps to exclusively show each others’ ads to their users. Everytime you generate an install for your partners app, you’re allowed to receive an install in return. In the case of Chartboost, which is probably the most popular direct cross promotion network up and running, they leave the specifics entirely-up to the developer. So the devs can figure out how many users they will provide for each other and at what cost (if any). Usually direct cross promotion is free for developers, with the network making money by selling a portion of the traffic.
Direct promotion networks are great if you’re looking for complete transparency and control when it comes to your campaign. However, negotiating with other developers and ensuring that your both getting a fair trade of users can be time consuming. Also these types of networks typically throttle the number of times your ad can be show in a given day. If you want to get more frequency then you usually have to pay.

App network exchanges

A number of networks, such as Tap for Tap and Taptica, use a credit system to power install exchanges. Whenever your app generates an install for someone else, you earn a credit. This credit is then spent on the network, allowing one of your ads to generate a download for your app. The big difference between this system and direct cross promotion above, is that you don’t have as much control over where your ad is appearing, but you don’t have to spend time negotiating with developers, and you get a much more varied selection of ads.
Tap for Tap told us it matches up ads based on a number for factors, such as category, app rating and reviews. Tap for Tap also says there’s no hard cap on the number of times your ad is shown. Some platforms integrate their exchange solution with a monetisation solution, which serves revenue-based CPC, CPM, ads. Developers can then mix and choose the percentage of ads shown that will generate them exchange credits, and the ads shown that will generate them revenue.

AppFlood network exchange

Slightly different to credit exchanges is AppFlood‘s network, which pays much more attention to the value of users and installs. Developers don’t need to strike-up direct deals with each other, but are matched automatically and there’s no throttling of installs per day. The biggest difference is how AppFlood assigns values to installs, for instance an install coming from India or China might be worth $0.20, while an install from the US is worth $1. So if a developer provides 5 Indian installs, they’ll get 1 North American install back. Other than this, AppFlood is pretty much the same as the credit exchanges.

AppFlood Android CPIs

AppFlood Android CPIs

Internal cross promotion

Many cross promotion networks also allow you to cross promote within your own apps and most won’t charge for this service. Internal cross promotion it’s an effective, and cost-effective, option if you’ve already got established user base on one app and you’re launching something new. Chartboost, Burstly, MobFox, adDuplex, among others, all offer internal cross promotion.

CPI networks

Cost per Install (CPI) networks also fall under the umbrella of cross promotion. As the name suggests, CPI networks mean developers only pay once their app has been downloaded. This is in contrast to CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per a thousand impressions).
The benefits of CPI are obvious, as it allows you to better determine your return on investment. The revenue model is still pretty small, only 7% of developers are using them according to Developer Economics, but its growing fast with many in the industry believing it will become the dominant model for app advertisers. There are still some problems with CPI in terms of attributing downloads and determining Life Time Value of users (which we explain below). CPI is used by variety of platforms, including many of the ones mentioned above, and traditional networks like Leadbolt and Admob have recently jumped on board.

Incentivised download networks

Incentivised cross promotion networks offer users an incentive to download an advertiser’s app. For instance, a user is typically presented with an offer wall interstitial ad within an app, which allows them access to extra content (be it virtual currency, in game items etc) for downloading the advertiser’s app. This type of network was somewhat pioneered by TapJoy, which has gone on to dominate the market, especially since Apple banned the practice and many networks moved onto other solutions. Freemium games in particular have benefited as they offer an easily deployed incentive in the form of virtual currency and in-game items. Freemium games still proliferate on incentivised networks, but TapJoy has been expanding into non-gaming apps recently. Other networks, like Fiksu’s FreeMyApps, have branched out of freemium games by offering users iTunes gift card credits, which can be spent buying content from the iTunes store.
AppFlood’s Justin Mauldin talks app marketing

Cross promotional networks: Key stats

  • Only 7% of developers are currently using cross promotion networks  according to Developer Economics
  • Chartboost says its network reaches over 300 million monthly active devices
  • Flurry claims AppCircle delivered users to Glu’s Mobile’s Gun Bros. that were 77% more likely to make a purchase compared to organic users
  • TapJoy says it increased revenue on Dead Trigger by 48% on iOS and 66% on Android.
  • AppFlood says it delivered 37,000 free installs to X6 Game’s Dragon Kingdom
  • Chartboost is used by more than 8,000 mobile games and 4 billion game sessions
  • Flurry says it’s AppCircle platform reaches 250 million users per month
  • AppFlood says it delivered 20,000 installs to Boyaa’s Texas Poker app and 12% returned to the app once installed

Mobile App Marketing Companies

See all mobile app marketing companies to find the best fit for your business.

Cross promo networks: What’s driving uptake?

As we explained above cross promotion networks are becoming increasingly popular with developers. Here’s some of the reasons why:


TapJoy’s incentivised offer wall.

The biggest factor driving the uptake of free exchanges is of course the low-cost of using the networks. The vast majority of developers do not have big marketing budgets and are often single-man outfits. Networks like Chartboost and AppFlood have really capitalised on this by creating networks that deliver installs through free exchanges. CPI networks lower the risk, ensuring that developers will only pay when they get users – in much the same way CPC revolutionised web advertising by allowing advertisers to only pay for click throughs.

Gaming focus

Many cross promotion networks (like TapJoy, Chartboost and AppFlood) are heavily focused (in some cases exclusively) on mobile games. This specialisation allows them to develop solutions that leverage existing mechanics in the gaming genre, potentially increasing the ad’s effectiveness and allowing devs to advertise exclusively to gaming-focused audiences.


Many ad networks, but not all, are black box affairs, where a developer has little information on where their ads are going, or what ads generate them cash. With direct cross promotion, there’s usually no middle man. Developers can simply negotiate with each other and get a far more transparent view of what ad campaigns are working. Plus, given the lack of cost, there’s much scope for experimentation.

Tap for Tap's ad units

Tap for Tap’s ad units

Monetise inactive users

Around 40% percent of a freemium game’s userbase will make an in-game purchase, with the majority not spending a penny. So one of the big benefits of incentivised downloads is their ability to monetise users who will never spend cash on in-game transactions. Incentivised downloads may also encourage those users to continue playing, as they are getting free access to items they would never pay for.

Only pay for installs

CPI’s obvious benefit is that you only pay when someone installs your app, which is a much more accurate way to measure the success of an ad campaign. As we mentioned above CPI is fast becoming to mobile what CPC was to web advertisers.

Burst campaigns

As most agencies will tell you, when it comes to app promotion it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. Using CPI networks is one of the most effective – but costly – ways of spearheading a burst campaign, in an attempt to push your app up the rankings and benefit from increased exposure. If you have the budget, then this is a sure fire way to grow your userbase quickly.


The other benefit to cross promotion networks specialising in gaming apps is that the networks have evolved to become experts in freemium monetisation. This has allowed networks to provide developers with consultation services on to how to best monetise their games. Since getting kicked out of the App Store, TapJoy has become particularly active in the consultation space and aims to help developers understand the world of freemium economics. This also creates a somewhat symbiotic relationship between developers and the networks, as they develop their games to better take advantage of the monetisation strategies offered by the networks advising them.

TapJoy’s Brian Sapp on incentivised ads

Cross promotion networks: What’s the catch?

Up until now cross-promotion networks probably look like a no-brainer. But there are some barriers and issues facing developers who decide to grow their install base via such platforms.

Chartboost graphic on user costs.

Chartboost graphic on user costs.

Determining a fair exchange

One of the big issues facing cross exchange networks is how you determine a fair exchange. As we discussed above, there are a few different types of cross promotion networks. If you’re signing-up to direct cross promotion network then you have to negotiate with another developer and you have to take responsibility for ensuring you get a good deal.
For instance, it might be wise to understand the demographics of your exchange partners’ userbase. Different regions may have different value users – a one-for-one exchange between your app’s European users and your partner’s Chinese users might not be fair. Also, what’s your game’s genre? Does it match your partner’s? What about the quality of your partner’s app compared to yours? Direct cross promotion can be a lot more time consuming than it initially appears, if you want to get it right.

Difficult to build an audience from scratch

An obvious problems with exchange platforms is that you only get what you give. If you’re starting out with hardly any users, then you’ll struggle to generate downloads, as no one will be clicking your exchange partner’s ad. Also, with direct cross promotion, the same users may see the same ads over and over again. Network exchange platforms get over this hurdle by avoiding direct deals and using algorithms to match-up ads, but there’s still the catch 22 of requiring users to get users. This is why cross exchanges need to be combined with CPI or other forms of advertising to really take off.

Flurry's App Circle user acquisition platform.

Flurry’s App Circle user acquisition platform. Click to enlarge.

Incentivised and low value

Following on from the above, one of the main criticisms of incentivised downloads is that they deliver low value users. The argument goes that users simply download an app to get the incentive, and then uninstall it, or don’t spend any money within the app. TapJoy has put out some stats that it claims contradicts this (see above), but many in the industry still believe incentivised equals low value users.

Gaming focus

Most cross promotion networks focus on mobile games, which is great if you’re a game developer, but not so great if you create utility apps, or something else. As we’ve mentioned, TapJoy has begun to branch out of games, as have some others, but the space still remains heavily skewed toward gamers.

Still early days for CPI

For the vast majority of app developers CPI certainly makes sense. However, this revenue model is still pretty new compared to more traditional models such as CPC and CPM and advertisers are still figuring it out. Some developers may find CPC works better for them and works out cheaper, so it’s always a good idea to experiment with different models.

Tracking sources

Knowing which advertising source provides the most valuable users is essential to growing your revenue. CPI might be driving installs, but how will you determine the value of what you’re paying for if you don’t know where the installs are coming from? This is easier on Android, but on iOS it gets more difficult as Apple truncates links that go into its black box. But there are platforms such as Tap Stream that help track CPI campaigns and therefore let you understand how much you earn from your acquisition sources.
Chartboost’s explanation of its network.

Cross promotion networks: Ask the experts Q&A

The participants:
AppFlood director of US marketing, Justin Mauldin
TapJoy, SVP of global partner relations, Christine Lee
Leadbolt, CEO, Dale Carr
Chartboost, Clay Kellogg, chief revenue officer
Jampp, Diego Miller, founder

Tap for Tap, Eric Dyck, co-founder and VP of marketing
AppsFire, founder, Ouriel Ohayon

Mobyaffiliates: Are mobile cross promotion networks getting more powerful than traditional mobile ad networks?

leadbolt logo
“It is less of a question about App Promotion v Traditional networks, and more about In-App advertising v mobile web advertising. We are increasingly spending more time in apps. They are apps for everything and anything – meaning less time browsing the web. As a result, In-app advertising networks are becoming more important. However, the two are hardly mutually exclusive and both are growing at incredible rates.”
“I don’t think of cross-promotion networks as a threat to mobile ad networks but as a complimentary solution to solving discovery. Both will co-exsist because they each have different purposes. Cross-promotion networks are a great way to get additional users without paying for them. Ad networks are extremely effective at helping developers get large numbers of new users in a short amount of time and helping developers monetize off the exsisting users they have.”
“I think it’s important to make a distinction on what exactly is a cross promotion network. Some consider this to refer just to cross promoting internally, within a developer’s own portfolio of games, but we consider it to include the concept of direct deals as well – working directly with other studios to cross promote titles.
That said, yes we do think that cross promotion networks post a major threat to traditional mobile ad networks. In fact, we are already seeing some developers utilize cross promotion techniques while forgoing the use of traditional ad networks in their games. Ad networks are a black box, where a developer sets up a campaign and a receives a dollar amount on the other side, with no clear information into what was or was not successful. Companies that focus on cross promotion, like Chartboost, allow developers to see what is actually happening and where they are being successful so they can optimize their campaigns.  And in many cases, like with Chartboost, cross promotion or direct deals are free of charge creating an immediate benefit for both parties.”
Tap for Tap
tap for tap logo
“We are definitely becoming more powerful and we pose major challenge! That being said, we recognized early on that we needed to offer both cross-promotion and traditional ad network tools in order to sustain and evolve our business. Even with the ad network addition to Tap for Tap, we recognize that our Tap Exchange is a backbone of our service. We fully believe that cross-promotion can be a very effective tool for user acquisition and we’re putting a big technology focus on building out user/app/ad matching algorithms to constantly improve results on the cross-promotion side of things. The amount of data in this space is mind boggling, but we are using it to its fullest extent to maximize the intelligence of our network when it comes to driving results from the Tap Exchange as well as the ad network.”
“The major difference between Tapjoy and other mobile advertising networks is that Tapjoy operates on a pay-per-performance model. In traditional advertising models (and many mobile ad models), advertisers pay on an impression or CPM basis. However, with Tapjoy, an advertiser only pays for completed engagements—obviously a much more accurate metric to measure the success of an ad or a campaign. Also, the majority of our advertisements live within the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange, where the user selects which advertisements to engage with and when, and earns a reward for their engagement. We think that model is very powerful, because users often complain advertisements are intrusive and interrupt their use of the app. In fact, in a research paper we conducted with Forrester Research, we found that 70% of users find automatically served ads interruptive. Worse, only 17% of respondents found current in-app ads interesting and 14% found them relevant. Our goal is to enhance user experience, giving them more access to great content in a way that doesn’t annoy them or get in their way. We think our model achieves that, and that it’s a powerful model for mobile with a lot of opportunity and flexibility.”
“I don’t. I think they are very complementary. Free inventory is great. But ‘free’ has limits. For example you will not get a guaranteed delivery of impressions/clicks or installs, nor a best of breed service from the network to accompany you and optimize your operation. At some point if you want to grow fast and strong you need to pay. This is why by the way Chartboost has a paid offer too.
It’s important to make a distinction on what exactly is a cross promotion network. Some consider this to refer just to cross promoting internally, within a developer’s own portfolio of games, but we consider it to include the concept of direct deals as well – working directly with other studios to cross promote titles.”

Mobyaffiliates: What are the main barriers for devs looking to get on-board with cross promotion networks? What’s holding back spend?

“Advertisers are more accustomed to historical web-based forms of measuring performance, like impressions. We think that’s changing; on mobile, we can understand if people are really engaging with advertisements. We believe advertisers should only pay for these completed engagements, and not based on an estimated impact. We are starting to see more advertisers transition to these new forms of measurement as they become accustomed to mobile.”

Infographic by Flurry illustrating the how different demographics play different mobile games.

Infographic by Flurry illustrating the how different demographics play different mobile games.

“I believe app exchange platforms only become relevant and efficient when achieving a very large scale and it’s not something easy to do. A lot of the traffic is concentrated by the big publishers/players and these are normally the companies that won’t sign up to this kind of platform. The key here is not only to access to cost-effective sources of installs but also to be able to analyse which sources drive the best quality users.”
“One barrier to cross promotion is building a large user base. When a developer launches their first game, they have a small base of players, which provides them with less leverage when working to cross promote with other developers. Having an established user base makes it easier to cross promote because developers have more information about their users and can work with other companies looking for specific types of users. Another important thing to consider when cross promoting is picking the right cross promotion partner. This tactic is successful when two developers work together to promote similar games, and when a developer is starting out they are often unfamiliar with which developers or games to cross promote with. Chartboost can help here, as we provide a service in our technology platform that helps pair developers up with their best matches within our network, helping cross promotion campaigns become more successful than they might be otherwise.”
Tap for Tap
“Cross-promotion has almost no barrier to entry. Ironically, for larger, more established apps this lack of a barrier might be viewed as a deterrent as these larger apps may not be keen to cross-promote with apps they deem to be of a lesser quality. On Tap for Tap we are solving this issue with our matching algorithm that uses factors like app size, quality, rating, and reviews as key parameters for a successful cross-promotion match.
CPI as a user acquisition model is still something that developers are figuring out. It’s essential as a developer to know what your LTV of your users are, and ideally, you can track the LTV of users generated by specific sources. This is easier to do on Android, who lets you pass in parameters to know where installs are coming from and more difficult on iOS where Apple truncates any links that go into its black box. External partners like Tap Stream and Mobile App Tracking can help you track your CPI efforts on both platforms so you can know how valuable each of your CPI sources is. Once you know how you earn from each of your users by lead acquisition source, CPI becomes a pretty indispensible tactic.”
“I mentioned the weaknesses of direct cross-promotion earlier and as far as I know every other cross-promotion network other than AppFlood is based on that model. I don’t see this as a barrier but a lot of developers I talk to think that when they sign up for exchanging they will magically get thousands of new users. I’m not sure where they got that impression but but most networks, including AppFlood, optimize the installs given/recieved 1-for-1. This means if you don’t have any installs to contribute to the system, you won’t get any.”
“One: Geographical reach and depth – those networks may well have billions of events or impressions but are they big enough in a given non USA country to help you grow locally? Two: Do they help developers undersand  LTV (life time value) and beyond the network allow you to attribute the source of a given download to a granular source (ie an app or group of apps)? Three: Vertical – Charboost is great for games but not built for non games apps. You need to consider your vertical before jumping in.”

Mobyaffiliates: How does your network ensure there’s a fair exchange between developers?


Infographic from AppFlood showing the scale of their network (click to enlarge)

Infographic from AppFlood showing the scale of their network (click to enlarge)

“We used to do a straight up install for install like most cross-promotion networks but we quickly ran into a problem. Users in India and China aren’t worth as much as users in Canada or the USA. So instead of just saying “give and install, get an install” we calculate the value of what that user is worth based on what advertisers are willing to pay. For example, users in India go for .20 per install and users in North America go for $1 per install. So if a developer provides 5 Indian users then he/she will have enough credit to get 1 North American user and vice versa.”
“In our Direct Deals marketplace, we leave it up to developers to work out the specifics of their campaigns, how many users they want for what cost, how many users they will provide for each other, etc.  We pride ourselves in providing full visibility to the developers that use Chartboost, so they are always aware of the campaigns they have in action and exactly what they are getting for them.”
Tap for Tap
“Tap for Tap handles quality and equality with a an algorithm that follows a “Like for Like” principle. If you’re giving the exchange traffic with high CTR% and conversion % as a publisher, then when you act as an advertiser receiving taps, we’ll try to match you up with similar quality traffic. The same goes for the lower end of the spectrum; if you sends us crappy traffic, you’ll get crappy traffic in return. Our system does a really good job of matching up quality and keeping things fair. We also value traffic differently depending on where it’s from. We have 4 tiers of value so traffic from the US is valued 4x to traffic from China. This may change over time, but for now, traffic from the US is much easier to monetize, so it is worth more on Tap for Tap.”

Mobyaffiliates: Incentivised downloads get criticised by some in the industry, what’s your take?


“It really depends on the goal of an advertising campaign. If you are after a really strong LTV from your customers driven to you by the campaign, incentivizing the user probably does not deliver this. There is no doubt that non-incentivized users are far more interested in the product they are responding to, and therefore, more likely to deliver a better ROI.
However, incentivized networks offer a couple of great benefits. For the advertiser, if their goal is volume, then this is a great way to achieve this. But even for the developers, placing easy to deliver incentives in their app is great for their users – and the fact the developer can earn additional income by providing this benefit is great for them.”
“We’re focused on providing high-quality users to our developers—highly targeted new users who will engage with advertisements and continue using the app.  To that end, we’re constantly introducing additional targeting and optimization capabilities, such as app categories, more relevant advertisements, and more. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure you get the right ad in front of the user. We (and our partners) are seeing great results. For example, 5th Planet Games was able to acquire users through Tapjoy’s pay-per-engagement (PPE) solution that monetized 33% more effectively than organic users, with a higher ARPU and retention rates almost on par with organic users.”

Chartboost breaksdown CPI costs geographically. Click to enlarge.

Chartboost breaksdown CPI costs geographically. Click to enlarge.

“I’m not a fan of incentivized traffic. We’ve used incentivized networks for our own 1st party games and the metrics are SO terrible. Retention and ARPU is a fraction of what non-incentivized traffic is. It’s just not something we want for our own games so we thought why should we offer it to other advertisers? I’m not saying that incentivized networks don’t have their place in the mobile eco-system. If all you want to do is boost your app to top of the charts for a short period of time then incentivized networks can give you an enormous amount of traffic. But if you care about the quality of those users I would stay away.”
“Tapjoy has evolved to a lot more than incentivized download, just like Flurry and this is a good thing and they have now a wide non incentivized inventory as well as a strong offering for brands. Incentivized download has been prohibited by Apple. Not (yet) by Google.
Incentivized download is a quick and cheap way to get users. No matter how you present it, users acquired through incentive present low value. They are not interested in your app but in the incentive. Since it is becoming harder to find a way through on iOS, a few services like Freemyapps from Fiksu and Featurepoints have raised from the browser and I believe they are hurting the ecosystem by distorting the rules of user acquisition.”

“If you want to get a lot of visibility for your app on a short period of time (no matter what your reasons are), icentivised traffic may be the answer. If you incentivise users for watching a commercial of your app (not for installing it) it might also work and it’s less controversial. It’s true that the % of quality users (as in users genuinely interested in your app) you will get this way will be lower, but if you can factor that in the price (and you analyse the activity of each user), it might also work.
At the end of the day, spending huge amounts of money on non incentivized ads (or putting an ad on the Superbowl!) also distorts the eco-system, right?”

Tap for Tap
“Whether or not to buy incentivised installs depends on your business strategy. If you have developed a strategy to get into the iOS charts and you know how many installs you need to purchase, it might make sense to buy these installs (until Apple finds a way to discount these kinds of metrics). However you need to understand that their value as actual users for your app is greatly diminished from a naturally generated user. We wanted to keep things simple on our network and our focus at this time is on helping developers generate real users that can add value to your app business in many different ways, not just giving you artificial boosts on iOS charts.”
“We chose to avoid the incentivised network model because we aim to help our developers acquire great users who actually want to play new games. Oftentimes with incentivised networks, games will acquire users because of a special bonus they receive, however the retention level here is lower and the users does not usually continue playing the game. At Chartboost, we help developers find users who are more likely to enjoy the games that are shown to them, which helps developers in the all important metrics of user retention and engagement.”

Mobyaffiliates: Where do you see cross promotion networks heading in the near future?

“The reliance on app promotion networks will continue to grow as the market places become even more crowded. I think the interesting development will be the relationship between the marketplaces themselves and the app promotion networks. People are already accusing apple of trying to shut down app promotion, but the reality is that the marketplaces see the increasing role we play in the app ecosystem and even in driving more traffic to their market. I believe we will see an increasing collaboration between different parties in the entire ecosystem.”

TapJoy shows off how much revenue its users generate for devs. Click to enlarge.

TapJoy shows off how much revenue its users generate for devs. Click to enlarge.

“AppFlood is only getting better. We don’t take a commission from our developers side so we can do things that no other ad network can. For example, we are going to be rolling out the most transparent system in the marketplace very soon. We will be able to show publishers and advertisers incredible detailed data about such as LTV and retention per channel. Since we don’t take a cut, we aren’t afraid anyone is going to cut us out. What will this space look like in 5 years? Honestly, I’d be a fool if I said I knew anything that far in advance. We could all be looking at our ads through Google Glass as far as I know. Who knows what crazy device will be the next game changer. The only thing we can predict is that it’s unpredictable and that’s why it’s good to be a startup.”
Tap for Tap
“Some of our competitors in the cross-promotion space have chosen to work with games only. Tap for Tap works with all kinds of apps. Our focus is very broad at this time and it’s allowing us to find the best paths to conversions across all app verticals. We’re growing our intelligence about cross-promotion every day. I think in the near future we’ll be working with so many apps that we’ll be able to offer more tightly themed and targeted ads to users of all kinds of apps. We are also working on deeper metrics than just installs; these post install events will be key to helping developers succeed.”
“Developers who apply the same level of dedication and rigor to the business side of their games as they do for game design will be the most successful in the future. Five years from now, I see Chartboost continuing to help companies like these to build a successful business. Developers who outsource critical aspects like user acquisition or monetization to ad networks or other third parties will be at a disadvantage – in the coming years we hope to help more and more studios to make sense of and better control and analyze their user acquisition and monetization tactics.
Our goal is to provide the technology platform that allows developers to take control over their business. Companies that provide the data and transparency required for developers to optimize results and provide a great user experience will win. Companies that try to deceive users or whose performance relies on a black box won’t win.”

“We think that it’s still day 1 on mobile marketing advertising. There are a lot of problems that yet need to be solved.  There are over +100 sources of traffic, difficulties to measure, banner formats that are not effective, tracking problems and a lot of confusion on pricing. Developers need to go through these problems every time again and again.

We see Jampp helping simplify and make sense of all of this in a simpler, more straightforward set of tools. We would be happy if our service would be good enough for developers to just focus on their product and business, and not having to get  “a PhD” on mobile advertising to make it work every time.”
“We really believe the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange model has great potential. We’ve already discussed non-gaming, for example, but we also foresee Tapjoy in emerging technologies like IP television. We could see IPTV content providers distributing episodes or new shows on a free-to-use model, but providing users the option to engage in advertising in exchange for content. We’ve already seen the value exchange model working elsewhere, like with Bing Rewards. Ultimately, advertisers are looking for deeper ways to engage with users besides the traditional methods of advertising. We’re seeing lots of interesting implementations where the brand can be the hero through the value exchange model, providing in-app rewards to users. GMC and Conair are two brands that have had great success in elevating their brand through the Tapjoy Mobile Value Exchange.”

Directory of cross promotion, free exchange and CPI platforms

Leadbolt – Mobile CPC and CPM ad network that also has a CPI network. Offers a bunch of differnet ad units, including audio ads and video ads.
AppFlood – Free exchange networks and CPI network that offers its own proprietary system for allocating fair app exchanges.
Appia –  mobile user acquisition marketplaces reaching 700m users on a global basis
Appnext – iOS and Android app promotion network offering a mix of monetization and free installs
Brusmedia – offers CPI-based campaigns across a network of publishers for iOS and Android
Chartboost – Direct cross promotion network, which lets developers partner-up and exchange installs, also features a paid CPI network.
Tap for Tap – Free exchange network and CPI network, working on a credit-based exchange system. No direct deals between developers.
AdDash – App promotion and app analytics company that offers developers a network for internal cross promotion.
AdDuplex – Free exchange network specially targeted at Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps. Looks like it doesn’t offer direct cross promotion.
PlayHaven – ‘Lifetime Value Maximization Platform’, which also includes an internal cross promotion service.
MiniMob – Free cross promotion network for Android only. Also uses push notification ads.
GreatPlay – Cross promotion network based out of Brazil. Not sure if the network is up and running yet and details are thin on the ground.
Burstly – Ad network and mediation platform that also offers developers internal cross promotion and ad storefront services.
MauDau – Claims to be the largest mobile and social game cross promotion network. Works on a credit based system to assign value to users.
Taptica – Offers developers a non-incentivised cross exchange platform.
TapGage – Monetisation platform that offers users direct and internal cross promotion.
TapJoy – One of the biggest incentivised networks on the market. Also offers CPI and consultation services.
Fiksu – Runs the FreeMyApps app discovery platform, which works on incentivised downloads, rewarding users with iTunes gift vouchers.
SessionM – Incentivised mobile ad network that delivers bonus points to users that can be redeemed for rewards.
Flurry Appcircle – User acquisition platform run by Flurry. Works on a CPI basis and takes advantage of Flurry’s targeting data.
Jampp – CPI-driven demand side platform that specialises in helping developers acquire users in the Latin American market.
SponsorPay – Offers a CPI ad network along with its eCPM network for iOS and Android developers.
Admob– Google-run mobile ad network that recently launched its CPI network. One of the biggest mobile ad networks out there.
StrikeAd – Mobile demand side platforms that lets advertisers create CPI campaigns.
Inneractive – Mobile ad server that integrates with over 100 mobile monetisation platforms from a single SDK.
Mobbnet – Global ad network featuring CPI, CPC and CPM for iOS and Android developers.
Vserv – CPI and CPC network that focuses on delivering mobile ads to Asian countries and emerging markets.
PlacePlay – Mobile ad network that specialises in CPI targeted app ad solutions for iOS and Android devs. Also uses Facebook Open Graph.
TradeMob – Mobile DSP that provides a single media buying point for mobile app ad campaigns. Uses CPA, CPC and CPI.
So hopefully that’s a few pointers to help you navigate the world of mobile app cross promotion networks.  You can find out more over in our Mobile App Marketing Directory.

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