Marketing Your App for the Holidays

Partner Post - Gummicube Big Data Analytics for Mobile & ASO

Posted: November 28, 2017


The holiday season is upon us, and if developers look at last year’s revenue, they can expect massive success in the App Store and Google Play Store. If we take into consideration that the App Store alone saw record-breaking sales of $240 million on New Year’s Day 2017, then we can infer that developers will need to start making adjustments for their holiday App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy now.

Plain and simple, developers need to take advantage of the holidays to become more visible to users on the App Store and Google Play Store. Since the holiday season saw its largest revenue to date last year, it’s important that developers start utilizing ASO now to help their app become more visible for specific holiday-related terms.

How to Start Preparing Your App for the Holidays

The holidays bring with them eager consumers looking for the latest and greatest tech. These consumers buy these devices either for themselves or give them as gifts, which in time increases the number of mobile users actively checking the App Store and Google Play Store. More devices means more eager users, roughly 224.3 million mobile users, roaming the app stores. This many mobile users means developers can reach out to a larger audience than any other season.

Before developers can maximize their app’s reach, they must first look into any trends tied this holiday season. These trends will be specific to the app market, meaning that users looking for holiday savings might not be looking for holiday zombie games. Since users are the ones searching for apps, developers need to first analyze user trends and behavior tied to holiday searches to get a better understanding of what users want.

Doing the research on what users want for the holidays is only one part of the process. Developers then need to incorporate their findings into their app’s metadata, or more specifically their targeted keywords, text fields and creatives. Basing a holiday ASO strategy on specific user trends and behavior can help apps reach a larger audience specific to this time of year.

Tips for Preparing Your App

Preparing an app for the holiday season requires a full-time commitment and a somewhat different ASO approach than normal. Developers need to make key changes that are tied to the holidays specifically. These changes can go as far as updating their creatives with holiday elements or updating their subtitle to callout holiday specials.

Incorporating High-Volume Keywords for the Holidays

Developers will need to target high-volume keywords that are relevant to their app’s core features and the holiday season. The first step of determining keywords is to sit down and go over current targeted keywords. Depending on the type of app, whether it’s a mobile game or a shopping app, they’ll target different keywords that are relevant to the app itself.

Let’s say a developer has a shopping app or savings app; they will most likely want to target keywords that reflect their app’s core features along with promotions. Developers should use App Store Intelligence Software like DATACUBE to know whether keywords such as “holiday shopping,” “holiday deals,” or “holiday savings” are relevant to their app. Targeting these keywords will help the app become more relevant for holiday and shopping terms that users might be using in their search.

Any holiday-related keywords need to be integrated throughout the app’s text fields (short description, subtitle, promotional text and long description) and creatives. Integrating holiday keywords throughout these key pieces of metadata will help the app become more relevant for targeted terms.

Holiday Positioning in Text Fields

The App Store and Google Play Store provide developers with text fields so they can integrate high-volume keywords and explain their app’s core features to users.

Google Play Store:

The Google Play Stores features the short description, which is limited to 80 characters, and the long description, which is limited to 4,000 characters. Each field serves a purpose and should not be ignored, especially when trying to become relevant and visible for the holidays.

While the short description is a much smaller field than the long description, developers need to make sure that they are still incorporating high-volume keywords that target the holidays. If it’s a mobile game, developers can quickly promote the new holiday features, costumes, gear or levels in the short description.

iOS App Store:

With the iOS 11 update, Apple introduced two new text fields: the subtitle (30 characters) and promotional text (170 characters). These two text fields need to provide users with a brief summary of why the app applies to the holidays by incorporating keywords that specifically callout the holidays along with main features.

Since the subtitle is such a small space, the app’s core features, new promotions, etc. need to be quickly summarized for the holidays. Look below at Macy’s current subtitle; it states, “Your holiday shopping buddy.” This subtitle indicates that the app is geared toward holiday shoppers looking for deals, savings, or products particular to the season.

Developers have more space to call out specific holiday features in the promotional text, which appears directly above the description. Despite it appearing above the description, the promotional text does not count toward any of its allotted 4,000 characters.

The promotional text can be treated similarly to a Google Play short description. Make sure that any new features, promotions, etc. tied to the holidays are called attention to first. This will help the app become more visible for holiday keywords that are relevant to the app.

Looking past the short description, subtitle and promotional text, developers should elaborate on their app’s new holiday features in the description. Since the description is significantly larger than any other text field, it’s important to incorporate the high-volume keywords tied to the holiday season.

Creatives that Reflect the Holidays

Every part of the app needs to reflect the holidays, including the creatives. Developers can focus their efforts on changing their app icon and screenshots to incorporate recognizable holiday elements that will ultimately convert users.

App Icon:

Since the icon is the first-place users tend to look, it needs to be unique and quickly address the holidays. Even if the icon doesn’t explicitly address the holiday deals or features, displaying something that represents the holidays will make a difference to users looking for holiday apps. Apple and Google often showcase holiday apps, curated by their teams. Having a holiday feature with associated store listing assets may help you stand out among competitors in consideration for this feature.


Users tend to look at screenshots right after the app icon. The screenshots should always highlight the app’s core features, but they’ll also need to represent the holidays.

Developers can represent the holidays in their screenshots in multiple ways:

  • Callout text
  • Background images
  • Additional holiday elements (i.e. snowflakes, stars, ribbons, etc.)

If developers focus on these three elements, they are sure to create stunning, engaging screenshots that represent the holidays.

Key Takeaways

Developers can’t procrastinate on updating their app for the holiday season if they want to be included as part of the App Store and Google Play Store’s impending success. Each developer needs to take a step back and make informed decisions on what aspects of the app’s keywords, text fields and creatives need to be updated to help their apps become relevant for the users searching for keywords such as “holiday.”

For this upcoming holiday season, developers need to utilize ASO to optimize their app to help it stand out in the tide of upcoming holiday apps on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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