The holiday season is a festive time for many people and there is much to celebrate. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are holidays celebrated by people around the world, making December a busy month for all. In the United States, the season is coming up the day after Thanksgiving and every store and radio station is ringing with holiday jingle bells.
Let's explore what steps seasonal ASO involves and how to make it part of your holiday marketing to make the most of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, New Year's and other events.
What is seasonal ASO?
Seasonal ASO is a traditional name. It refers to optimization related to news feeds. These could be holidays such as New Year's, Halloween or Valentine's Day, promotions such as Cyber Week or Black Friday, and events such as the start of the school year. It doesn't matter if it's 2021, 2022 or any other year, because it's about recurring events.
Generally speaking, seasonal ASOs are attempts to optimize apps in the app store due to certain recurring events. They can be divided into the following categories.
- Holidays (Valentine's Day, New Year's Day, Halloween, etc.).
- Social (June Pride Month, Black Friday, Cyber Monday).
- Religious (Ramadan for Muslims).
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What events to choose for seasonal ASO?
If you have a small team, it is best to focus on larger events. Let's assume that New Year and Halloween are very important for mobile games. Usually special event content is prepared for them: new levels, quests, characters. To name a few: Subway Surfers, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Temple Run, Hidden City, My Talking Tomcat, Paint the Mountaineer. Almost all top games take advantage of seasonality. Indie teams should embrace it too.
For shopping and takeaway apps, it's best not to ignore Black Friday and Valentine's Day, in addition to the winter holidays. For sports apps, events like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics will be crucial. In addition, the list of seasonal events may vary depending on the target country/region. For example, Thanksgiving will be one of the major events in the US, St. Patrick's Day (Ireland) and Oktoberfest in Munich (Germany).
The impact of seasonality
Why does seasonal marketing work? Because nothing is done in a vacuum. Users consume news and information from many different sources, which can influence the way they make decisions. For example, during the holidays, when users are looking for a shopping app, they may care more about specials than delivery or various products.
When users are just making New Year's resolutions, they may care more about fitness apps designed to help them stick to their training regimen than they do about being able to share their results with friends.
Catering to these changing preferences with unique app store creatives and messaging that are "seasonally appropriate" does impact conversion rates, but it also impacts visibility. By changing your keyword strategy to accommodate changing search queries and engaging the App Store and Google Play Store editors, users can find your app more easily.
And by introducing a mix of features including event-specific currencies, seasonal quests, unique game modes and collaboration, you can greatly improve your chances of growing revenue and even attracting repeat users who are looking for new content and a completely different experience.
And don't forget that seasonal in-app purchases (unique rewards, improvements or cosmetics) associated with certain holidays are only available for a limited time. Players see this content as exclusive and limited, and IAPs automatically become more valuable in their eyes ...... which translates into revenue growth!
Types of app seasonality optimization
Visual optimization, which means customizing graphical elements such as icons or screenshots to increase app conversions. For example, the most obvious steps would be to add snow on New Year's Eve, spooky attributes on Halloween Eve, a little red hat to Christmas and hearts on Valentine's Day.
Search optimization means including relevant keywords in text elements. The relevance of queries such as "New Year's gifts", "Black Friday" and "Halloween costumes" is short term, but can bring you a lot of traffic at the right time. These keywords are just examples. There is no generic winner keyword package for the holidays and queries should be carefully selected for each specific app.
Keep all of this in mind when preparing your campaign calendar. For your convenience, you can add campaign ideas and approximate deadlines right away. Think about the events for which you should create additional content for your app. Calculate how long development will take. If you create new personas or locations, it can take up to six weeks. In some cases, optimizing the app product page and adding small UI changes will be enough. For example, adding text fields to a promotion code may take a few days. It's worth taking the time to create updated graphics for the product page, edit and test it.
In addition to holiday campaigns, many mobile developers can benefit by leveraging seasonal creative. However, remember that you can only benefit from these seasonal opportunities if the trends are important to your target market and optimization helps demonstrate the value of your app to users.
Seasonality mistakes to avoid
Leveraging seasonality in your ASO strategy can help you achieve significant results during these times. That said, there is one common mistake that can easily hurt your app's performance after the seasonal event is over: letting seasonal app store creatives live too long. Every year, even months after Christmas ends, you can still see a snow-capped icon in the store.
This error can be very painful for conversion rates, as it signals to users that the app may be ignored by developers, that there is no ongoing support and maintenance, and that no new features will be developed. Therefore, seeing outdated seasonal ideas on the app store page can quickly make users look for a different app.
What kind of seasonality content can you offer?
If you decide to optimize not only the text metadata and graphics, but also the content of your app, we have some ideas. Of course, it depends on the specifics of the app.
- Special offers, discounts, promo codes.
- New levels and characters - related to the game.
- Gifts offered for a limited time.
- Seasonal filters, masks, fonts (if your app is a photo editor).
Graphical ASO for beginners
You may want to use a seasonal approach to ASO as your long-term strategy. This does not have to be a one-time promotion, as this will save you resources in the future. Experiential experimentation will help you generate ideas faster and create graphics that increase conversions. You can start small.
1. Apply only icon design
If you don't have the resources for UI changes, you can simply create icons related to the holidays. It's cheap and risk-free, and it helps to engage users from browsing/exploring where they typically only see one app icon. It's perfect for those who are pressed for time or lack experience with seasonal ASO. However, it helps to benefit from browsing/exploring channels to acquire users, where the icons are usually the only thing they can see.
2. Add category screenshots
This is what apps in the shopping category often do. The graphics don't change, but support temporary screenshots. Usually, it contains details of promotions and discounts.
You can announce special offers and optimize all creatives to boost them. Add at least one holiday screenshot to the top of the screenshot gallery. This is a common practice for shopping apps. In terms of development, it requires minimal effort.
3. Customize all graphics (app icons and screenshots)
You can develop holiday content and update the app icons and screenshots. It takes longer and the update should be supported by a marketing campaign. If you are doing this for the first time, the results are hard to predict.
This integrated approach helps to make the most of the situation. You can go much further than SEO and customize all graphics. It's a good idea to consider relevant events within the app. Furthermore, you can offer discounts to users or even new levels in a game.
What can help seasonal updates?
The promotional actions are varied. They can be internal (in the app store) and external (ad traffic and social networks).
- Get featured. Access to selected apps on the App Store and Google Play will increase your traffic. Experts and developers recommend submitting apps six to eight weeks before the update.
- Promotional in-app purchases. This is an additional opportunity to promote seasonal options and a limited number of characters, weapons and gear (in the case of games).
- Apple Search Ads. Thanks to ASA, the app can appear at the top of keyword search results. The advantage is that the ads look native and can be displayed by competitors' branded keywords (if they take advantage of seasonality, take it). the Creative Sets tool is also good for you. It allows you to make new ad variants and align screenshots with specific keywords. Using ASA, you can test new graphics. We'll come back to this topic later.
- Distributed on Google Play, LiveOps Playing Cards is an exclusive service mainly for large developers. In the developer console, you can manage in-game events displayed on the homepage, store listings, and updates. But such opportunities are rare - not all apps are approved.
For external events
- Google Ads and Facebook Ads are one of the most effective ways to attract users. It is easy to set up campaigns, control budgets, make corrections and track results. You have a choice of media buying methods (CPI, CPC, CPM).
- In-Ad. There are many in-app ad formats. For games, Playable Ads seem to work best for seasonal ASO. Such creative captures the user's attention and creates an enjoyable user experience. Offer game clips with new content so that users get excited about the game and want to install it.
- Influencer marketing strategy. The most popular platforms for this strategy are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube. It is important that your product resonates with the influencer's audience.
- Make announcements on your website and social media. You can promote your social media announcements.
- Public relations. Paid and free advertising on relevant media platforms will help draw attention to your updates.