We are heading into the most wonderful time of the year: the holidays. This is particularly true for you because app installs are at an all-time high during this time of the year. Starting with Halloween and ending with New Years, there lies a huge opportunity for you to garner some serious attention by optimizing your app for the holidays.
The holiday season is a festive time for many, with so much to celebrate. holiday, Hanukkah, Lunar new year are some of those that people around the world celebrate, making December a busy month for all. In the US, the season is thrust upon us the day after Thanksgiving, with holiday jingles ringing through every store and radio station. Some people change their clothes for the season, some people decorate their homes and others just don't feel like celebrating the season all month long.
Why optimize your app for holidays?
The end of the calendar year can mean very different things for different industries. For many, it marks end of the year holidays and some long awaited time off until the new year. For many others, this same period is the busiest season of the year.
By optimizing your app for the holidays you can get re-featured on the app store individually and get featured in a specialized holiday app category, also you can re-engage old users with new graphics and especially with new in-game holiday features!
For mobile app developers, it's a mix of both. During the busiest gift-giving (and receiving) time of the year, consumers will be looking for new apps to try or download apps they already love on their new devices. However, part of Apple's App Store Connect service will be on a holiday of its own during this critical time, making preparation key. Understanding what's to come in December and preparing ahead of time can mean the difference between a happy holiday or an unexpected surprise.
Capturing the holiday app spirit
There are certainly also trends that begin to take place in the App Store and Play Store during the holiday season, with developers and big gaming studios aiming to take advantage of the holiday seasonality and stay relevant to potential customers. We've taken a bit of a deep dive into the topic to answer the question everyone wants to know about updating ASO for the holidays - what works, and what doesn't?
Along with posting holiday-y screen-shots and icons, companies can create holiday savings bundles, so the customer receives multiple apps at a discounted rate. And of course, everyone appreciates a free app purchase during the holidays. The goal is to improve engagement while increasing click-through rates and sales.
Additionally, app sellers might want to make use of social media during the holidays. During this time of year, many of us use our mobile devices to browse social media sites and connect with friends and loved ones in different parts of the country. For best results, offer informative tips about using your app or share fun, appealing photos of your product in action. If you can successfully promote your app on Facebook or Twitter, you might just find yourself reaping the benefits in added sales. And don't forget to "like" and "retweet" fans' comments to thank them for their words.
Taking time to create stunning graphics shows users you care about keeping them entertained with the best quality game or app. Your hard work and attention to detail will pay off by increasing user retention and increasing installs during the holiday season.
It's also the record high time of the year for installs. According to Apple, "Customers broke all-time records this holiday season (2016) with purchases from the App Store topping $3 billion."
Dress up your app for holidays!
Just like a physical store, people like to see festive surroundings in online stores. So add a bit of decoration on your app icons and update your app's screen-shots to be more holiday-y. These two elements work the same way as a product on display in physical store windows.
Don't get discouraged when you see everyone doing it because during holidays its pays off, as people are feeling happy and sentimental and they will appreciate humane gestures wherever they find them. If your apps are more serious in nature you can still sprinkle some snow or holly on your web pages.
Mini app trailers, a new effective feature in stores; can allow customers to get a peek at the app and its interface without having to download it. A bit of festive trailer edition might be just the thing to prompt customers to download your app. Temporary covers or themes help with the holiday visualization.
How to get your app outstanding from the marketing on holiday?
Optimize your app title
Optimize your title to capitalize on Holiday game searches. This is particularly useful for games that have updated their in-app character skins or level skins. It can also be useful for m-commerce apps that are offering special Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday deals and specials.
Add a holiday oriented blurb in the description
What's second best to fun new graphics? A cute holiday blurb added into your description. Consider telling a little story that goes along with your app and the specific holiday for which you're making the optimization. Try a spooky Halloween story or a Night before holiday tale to tie in your app's features or characters. Is your app or game using any holiday characters? Are there new features, games, or In-App Purchases that are specific to the holiday season?
Include relevant Holiday keywords in a natural way (always write for the reader and not just the algorithm) and explain how your app is useful or has new features for holiday (i.e. new in-app themes, specials on in-app purchases).
You will have to add a few holiday-related keywords to the apps to drive traffic, especially when your app is an online store outlet. You can add a holiday blurb in descriptions that put your app in a neighborhood with the holiday.
Updates to keywords require a new build to be submitted, which requires App Store review approval to go live. This means whichever keywords your app is using during the holiday will effectively be locked in place until the next update goes through.
Just like with creative sets, planning to change your keywords too close to the holiday may mean your app is stable until the New Year. But while creatives are instantly visible to end-users, keywords are off-page elements that are not immediately visible, and whose impact takes time to fully assess. As it can take up to 30 days to fully index for keyword updates, try to get any seasonally relevant keywords submitted for App Store review approval in late November or very early December. This will put your app in a better position to have begun the indexation process while other developers may be trying to play catch-up, or only starting the process right before the shutdown. This is especially advantageous given that some developers, who may be too late for their holiday updates, may not make it in time for targeted keywords to be locked in place.
Having indexation occur not just for the seasonally relevant terms, but other new terms as well, will place you in a better position to research performance and launch an update in January 2021. If keywords are not allowed to fully index, and performance is assessed right after an update, a keyword that may have performed better over time could be removed; likewise, a keyword that seems good at first may be left in and continue to see diminishing ranking. While the seasonal terms may be more obvious to adjust after they trend downward, other terms will need more time to index for a clearer picture on how performance is trending.
Acquire positive ratings & orchestrate contests
Your app can hold special contests (24-hour special offers) and offer gifts to add to holiday cheer and engage users during the holiday season. These contests will gain you positive reviews but beware; never ask for a rating immediately after app installation. Let the users enjoy it for a week and then ask them to rate the app.
Launch some holidays & then new year features
If you have some updates to enhance your app experience, holiday season might be a good time for their launch. These apps must be optimized for cross platforms and suit the design of all the iOS or Android device it's downloaded upon.
Keep an eye out for competition
Your competitors too will have something planned for holidays. Be ahead of them and prepare a solid counter strategy. Do not keep repeating the same thing every year, do some research and incorporate latest trends into your apps and update keywords accordingly.
Be inclusive through localization
Enabling customers to choose regional languages preferences for apps are common enough. But you should think about localizing your app for regional locals' cultures & traditions and tailor your app features and its content accordingly.
Be there on social media & spread word
Happy families sipping eggnog and smiling at each other over holiday dinners make for perfect holiday movies. Real families, however, can be found using social media to greet each other and celebrate. And when they are online, you can lure them to your apps and stay active for prompt response to queries, making holidays effortless to enjoy.
Special offers or give something for free
While some gifts are popular every holiday season, trends change over time. Updated technologies are developed, new use cases become relevant and people's tastes evolve. The same concept adhering to the fundamentals while also adapting to evolving changes is also true for App Store creative sets.
Adding special holiday features or special in-app purchases is another way to entice users to download or re-engage with your app. Share in the celebration mood delight your customers. Drop off the cost of few features or enable customers to download app free of cost, just for the holidays. Consider adding "gifts" for your users like extra coins/in-app currency or holiday bundles at a reduced cost for a period.
Ultimately, it is up to you and your team to use the best discretion while cultivating your holiday messaging, app store listing, and creative strategies. By all means, test everything and measure the results and maybe you'll be surprised with your findings! There is no guarantee that adding holiday seasonality to your store listing will work, but there is no guarantee that it won't either.