Driving Growth Through Upsells and Cross-Sells

Publishers are under increasing pressure to grow profitably and increase enterprise value for their stakeholders.

As a result, they’re increasingly focused on Net Advertising Revenue Retention (NARR), which measures how much a single advertiser or cohort’s revenue expands, contracts and churns in the course of a current time period compared to a previous one. It’s widely seen as a trustworthy forecasting method for revenue leaders to base their decision making on. For a deeper dive on NARR, click here.

In this blog, we’ll outline best practices for growing NARR with an expansion strategy based on upselling and cross-selling.

Perhaps the most effective way to grow spend from existing clients is to expand the number of products and services they purchase from you. Case in point: publishers that increased deal sizes by 23% or higher were in the top 25th percentile for year-over-year growth in Boostr’s May 2021 Media Ad Sales Trend report, and they tended to achieve these jumps by selling multiple products per campaign. The bottom line is that getting NARR over 100% requires increased year-over-year client spend. As publishers add new products, formats and solutions to their offerings, getting sales teams and advertisers to embrace them can be a real challenge. More often than not, sellers prefer to sell what they’re familiar with or what’s worked in the past. Here is a tried and true strategy that will help you break through and scale product upsells and cross-sells:

1. Determine your product upsell/cross-sell paths

Map out the products and solutions that provide better results for clients when combined. It’s typically helpful to analyze which products are frequently sold together or work synergistically.

2. Research which products are currently used by each advertiser.

You may need to look at this from several angles, including seasonal campaigns, always-on campaigns, tentpoles and more. Look across a cohort of advertisers within a category to find opportunities like products purchased by some in the cohort that the remainder would benefit from.

3. Develop a product activation heat map.

Apply the upsell/cross-sell paths to the advertiser product matrix to identify and prioritize opportunities that drive new product adoption.

4. Operationalize.

Once you have the heat map, determine how to increase the desired products on every media plan. Adding an approval step in your Order Management System is a simple way to have checks and balances in place to encourage more cross/up-sells. Also consider adding operational reviews to discuss advertiser-specific product activation strategy. A monthly cadence to review progress and feedback may expedite results.


To help publishers implement this strategy and drive incremental revenue, Boostr has released a new smart insights dashboard (“Product Activation”) to automate the first three steps outlined above. It’s a great starting point that’s customizable to your business.


Boostr is the only platform that seamlessly integrates CRM and OMS capabilities to address the unique challenges of media advertising. With boostr, companies gain the unified visibility necessary to effectively manage, maximize and scale omnichannel ad revenue profitability with user-friendly workflows, actionable insights, and accurate forecasting.

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