Q4 is right around the corner. This means increased competition in the App Store Optimization space for indie developers, startups and enterprise companies alike. Competing for keywords in search will take extra effort during the competitive season, both for organic keyword rankings and Search Ads placement. With that in mind, here are a few ways developers and marketers can start preparing for this coming period.

Plan for the Season

Whether an app is designed for shopping, traveling, or even gaming, it’s key to optimize for the holidays. This can include Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas or any other special occasion relevant to the app. While keywords tied to those holidays may not have the highest volume now, they will certainly be relevant when the time comes.

One misstep that developers often take is waiting until the holidays are just a week or so away before updating their metadata and creatives. It’s recommended that developers update their app’s page listing with the holiday approximately 3-5 weeks in advance. This will give the app time to index for the keywords and build relevance around them. This provides the app with a higher chance of ranking well for the keywords when demand increases, rather than playing catch-up and potentially missing out on holiday traffic.

Keep in mind that for holidays that are particularly close together, such as Christmas and New Year’s in the United States, you may have to prepare these submissions and releases well in advance. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to update your messaging and creatives to reflect the holidays, as this can aid in conversion for any users who come across your app.

Start Optimizing Now

Q4 is a very competitive time, since the holidays are kicking off an increase in spending across industries and businesses everywhere attempt to close out the year strong. As more marketers receive large budgets for the quarter, their budgets for paid mobile marketing and organic optimization will also rise, increasing the competition level at a critical time of the year.

Optimizing now means you’ll work towards higher rankings in advance of Q4 for your own terms as well as holiday terms. If your app is optimized effectively, you can potentially secure top rankings for its keywords. When Q4 begins, it will be ready to defend those rankings, as opposed to starting a late offensive.

In order to accomplish this, you’ll want to use ASO software to gather unique insights. For example, learning what keywords, creative elements, features and so forth work well in your category can give you an upper hand in improving and maintaining your rankings.

Another benefit to using ASO software is being able to see how your competitors optimized last holiday season, determining what worked, and using those learnings to your advantage. The technology is there and ready for you, it’s only a matter of when you choose to utilize it.

Understand Which Terms are Most Relevant for Paid

CPIs on Apple Search Ads and Google Ads can get expensive around the holidays, as competition for terms heats up. You can ensure your spending is more efficient by targeting terms most relevant to your app; this can include features, related apps or brands, even terms you’re ranking for due to their relation to your targeted terms.

Doing so can help make your expenses more efficient. By targeting terms relevant to your app, there’s a higher chance it will be served on those terms and convert better. This can help decrease your overall CPI and make sure your ads are going in front of the right users.

Conclusion

Seasonality is important for App Store Optimization, so it will play a major role in Q4 with the range of approaching holidays. ASO efforts in the App Store and Play Store tend to ramp up around the holidays. While this is particularly true in the US, you’ll want to know what times you’ll face competition no matter what territory your app is available in. This will enable you to adapt a proper marketing strategy in advance.

Be sure to start optimizing in advance so you can place your app in a strong competitive position before the wave of spending starts. While your competitors may be making mistakes and try to figure out the formula, you’ll already be pulling in users. Establishing relevance around your app now can help make it easier to compete for both seasonal and core keywords that users are searching for to find apps like yours. Q4 is an important time for focusing on seasonality, but it’s also a key time to start preparing for the Q1. With proper optimization, you can end one fiscal year strong and start the next even stronger.