This is a contributor post from Angelina Lugova of Epom.

The holiday season is almost here, which means an increase in mobile app users. Don’t wait until late December to roll out your holiday mobile user acquisition campaign - lots of new, shiny devices will meet their owners as early as November. Once in their hands, these phones will naturally fill up with apps.

Pic0_thanksgiving_weekend_e_commerce_sales_n

How will you capitalize on the holiday season to get people to see and install your app, without getting lost in the fray of bidding wars with massive competitors?

Preparation stage

The perfect time to start getting ready for the holiday season is the beginning of October. YouAppi asked 533 US consumers when they are ready to start seeing holiday themes, and here’s what they answered:

Pic 1_how to promote app on holidays

Holiday keywords ASO

Dig into Google trends reports to discover which search terms customers are frequently using and update your keywords and game description according to your discoveries.

Pic 2_how to promote app on holidays

Benefit from localization

75% of mobile users interact better with companies whose apps adapt to their location. App localization is not just about translating your app - it’s a complete makeover where the devil’s in details. Modify your creatives and app elements to the cultural differences of your target markets. Festive screenshots in your app description and country-specific details can go a long way. See how Balloon Paradise adjusted their app to the Indian market:

Pic3_how to promote app on holidays

Target wisely

You can’t beat the giants who allocate massive budgets to promote their app, but you can set precise targeting criteria to acquire your audience at a lower cost. Weave in your holiday sales or premium subscription discounts much before your competition does. Don't just set your target at attracting new users, target current users as well. It’ll bring you more revenue in the long run.

Add holiday decor to app elements and your microsite

Prepare a couple of minor features to roll out during the holiday season and update your app so that it looks more festive.

Pic4_how to promote app on holidays

You can also set the right mood by changing the first screen of your website, as Spotify did on Valentine’s day:

Pic5_how to promote app on holidays

Prepare special offers for each holiday

Think over the incentives people have to download your app. Maybe you present special holiday deals on your app store descriptions, social media channels and website.Whenever your biggest offered discount is (maybe on Christmas), make sure you don’t repeat it in say, February. Your app value rises when users know that the lowest price happens once a year. Attract new users and stimulate the existing ones to extend their subscription pack.Plan your discount and special offers policy, don’t give random discounts, and prepare retargeting campaigns for users who have interacted with your app but never converted on in-app purchases (if you have them).

Bug check in advance

Holidays come with a lot of traffic. Make sure your app will handle the rapid user growth and test your updates before the actual release. New users rarely write good reviews when the app functions properly, but a single bug can cause real drama and a drop in your ratings.

Attractive Advertising

If you’re feeling ambitious about your holiday revenue, adjusting your marketing strategy for high user retention is a must. Pic Holiday SeasonStep inside the holiday season hype train and pump out festive ad creatives to be used across social media. You can develop a temporary and dynamic pricing scale for IAPs during the holiday season. Use a heat map product like appsee to understand how users are interacting with your app and change prices and flow based on your findings.

Pitch the media

Reporters are assigned to cover things like holiday season app sales, value deals, top 10 lists, etc. November is the best time to pitch the press with your coolest app features and promotions.Think over your positioning, there’s no need to offer your app at the lowest possible price to the readers of The Next Web or Inc. - they love to test new stuff and are usually ready to pay if you offer them real value.

Take part in app bundles

App bundles are a good idea if you have a utility app, however, it also works with gaming. Bundles enable users to save on a particular app and get more apps at a reduced price.Carefully choose your topic and neighborhood; being among scummy apps won’t drive in quality users. Try offering your app bundle to websites like HumbleBundle or Mac Bundles (for iOS).

Pic 6_how to promote app on holidays (2)

Turn your users into brand ambassadors

Referral campaigns are a perfect holiday app marketing tool to drive better user acquisition and boost your reach with low acquisition cost. The cost to acquire a new user is high but creating a powerful incentive for your existing users to help drive downloads is an efficient mechanism. They’ll happily share the app with their family and friends for a nice reward.

Pic 7_how to promote app on holidays

Test new advertising channels

Instead of sticking to the best performing ad networks, spend 10-15% of your advertising budget on experimentation. Maybe take Pinterest or Snapchat for a spin - it really depends on where you think your users are spending their time. Apptopia offers cross-app usage data which enables you to see where users of your app and users of your competitors’ apps are spending time. Striking direct deals with these apps can be an efficient use of funds.

Snapchat rolled out a deep linking feature for app install ads. It helps publishers drive traffic to a specific section of the app by targeting users who have already interacted with it. For example, a game developer can target players who completed a certain game level. Which makes Snapchat a perfect tool for retargeting.

Monetization Moves

You’ll likely see a gain in downloads during the holiday season. Even if these new users are only around for a short period of time, try to make the most of them.

Data Monetization

Data monetization is the process of gathering, analyzing, transferring, and segmenting the non-personal information of users. For developers, this is another opportunity to capitalize on users without any additional effort. Simply add a SDK to your app and prepare a user consent form. Once the user agrees to share their data, you transfer it to the data collector.

Data collectors don’t gather sensitive or private information. As a result, all users stay anonymous and protected.

A data monetization SDK is perfectly compatible with other SDKs, takes place in the background and doesn’t affect the app usage. The more DAU/MAU you have, the higher payouts you’ll earn every month.

Rewarded Videos

When it comes to tried and true mobile ad monetization formats, rewarded videos are always on top of the monetization pyramid. Applied wisely, rewarded videos will drive you steady revenue while keeping users engaged.

Analyze the user flow of your app and place the rewarded video between the levels, home screen, in-game hints and everywhere where it feels appropriate. But be sure not to choose more than 2-3 placements.

Subscriptions

The App Store and Google Play encourage developers to use subscription models for a good reason. Despite the reduction of their fees, the subscription model is a natural user retainer and steady revenue driver.  Rewarded videos and in-app purchases are still a choice of the vast majority of app developers, but the popularity of the subscription model continues to grow.

Despite the harsh competition in the mobile app market during the holiday season, your app will be able to take advantage if you’re smart with your plan of attack. Keep your existing user base active by pairing your app promotion efforts with good engagement tips. Users are ready to spend more during the holidays, so think about how your app can justify these expenses and exceed user expectations. Keep tracking your in-app events while investing time and effort in creating a seamless on-boarding experience. Re-engage your users with push-notifications and emails.

AuthorAngelina Lugova

Lina Lugova is Digital Marketing Expert at Epom with an emphasis on mobile user acquisition. Lina has created, developed and managed user acquisition strategies for 100+ global companies. She is passionate about what she does and leverages data, innovation, and creativity to drive results.