Guest Post: How to market your app during the holiday season

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Editor’s note: The following guest post was written by Ravi Kamran, CEO of Trademob, a Berlin-based mobile app marketing platform that allows customers to track mobile app marketing campaigns and connect with more than 100 mobile ad networks and publishers such as Google AdMob, InMobi and Millennial Media.Trademob logo

For mobile marketers, the holidays bring more than just good cheer; they bring an influx of new devices, new users and a spike in mobile revenue. The holiday season presents a great opportunity for apps to engage new users and boost in-app interaction. Here are some tips to make the most out of your app marketing campaigns before, during and after the holiday season.

Prepping for Christmas

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, cost per install (CPI) tends to be high primarily because of the anticipated influx of users. For some apps, this is a great time for a marketing push to win new users, while other apps should be more cautious of such initiatives because of the high user acquisition costs. It will be essential for marketers to determine the right balance between the high CPI and the high user volume for their app during the pre-Christmas season.

Anticipating the App Store Freeze

If last year was any indication, from Dec. 21 to 28, the Apple App Store will likely be frozen. This means that Apple stops taking app submissions and updates, and the App Store ranks could remain relatively static for several days. Those apps sitting at the top of the charts will get some great exposure over one of the busiest weeks in terms of app downloads.

If you are planning a pre-Christmas boost campaign, remember that CPI will be higher between now and Christmas. It’s incredibly important to strike a balance between the high CPI and usage. Your investment could really pay off but only if it’s the right time for your app. Plan as early as possible to ensure the necessary volume is there, and use campaign tracking to determine the best ad networks and traffic sources for your boost to ensure you reach the necessary volume of downloads to make your boost campaign most effective.Christmas via Creative Commons http://christmasstockimages.com/free/borders/slides/christmas_bauble_border.jpg

During Christmas Week

Last year, on Christmas Day alone, 6.8 million devices were activated and more than 242 million apps were downloaded. This year, it’s projected that two billion apps will be downloaded during the week of Christmas, bringing in $2.4 billion in revenue during those seven days. So how can you make the most of this opportunity?

1. Market Your App to the Right Users

Christmas Day will bring an influx of new device activations and users, but the whole week is an opportunity for user acquisition. More than 20 million new devices were activated and 1.2 billion apps were downloaded last year between Christmas and New Year’s. To capitalize on this opportunity, find your mobile advertising sweet spots and determine the devices, locations, publishers and other campaign settings that bring the best results for your app. Consider increasing your ad spend during this time to target the heavy influx of new users.

2. Adjust Your Advertisements

During this week, most users will be spending time at home, which means they will spend longer sessions with their devices, engaging with apps. With fewer distractions, users will be more receptive to advertising. Adjust your ads to target these stationary users and consider implementing holiday-themed ads or promotions to catch their attention.

3. Plan a Post App Store Freeze Boost

If a full App Store freeze takes place, rankings will start fluctuating again on or near Dec. 28. User engagement and spending will remain high due to all the newly activated devices, making it a prime opportunity for a boost campaign. Use tracking technologies to plan your campaign and identify which campaign settings will help you achieve optimal results.

App Marketing in the New Year

CPI rates will likely drop soon after the holiday, but the influx of new users and devices remains. Consider increasing ad spend in January, as it presents a great opportunity to convert users at a lower price.

As people return to their normal schedules, though, app usage will start to fall. Consider kicking off special promotions or sending well-planned push notifications throughout January to promote your app and re-engage users.

Now is time to create your app marketing strategy for 2013. To reach your app marketing goals, remember to reach several ad networks, effectively manage your budget, track meaningful performance indicators and optimize your campaign based on data.