A Mobile Marketer’s Checklist for Holiday User Acquisition

About the Author: Terry Koh is a UC Santa Cruz Banana slug, tech loving, PR/Marketer with an addiction to entrepreneurship and the startup environment. Enjoys all things digital and would almost prefer if every book simply came in PDF format. Born in the Silicon Valley and often found at the cross-section of social and media.


(1200x600) Mobile Marketer’s Checklist

From holiday gifts to the latest smartphone envy, millions of mobile devices are activated this time of year, signaling huge growth opportunities for app marketers. But as the holiday competition begins to heat up, converting this seasonal high-tide into app installs will require a well thought-out strategy. Here is a user acquisition checklist to help guide you through the holiday rush.

☑ Submit early

Historically, the App Store review process is known to take longer and in many cases pause altogether during the week of Christmas. Be sure to submit your app well before the annual slowdown giving you time to boost app rankings and discoverability in time for the install surge.

☑ App Store Optimization

Your app store page is the final gateway between a user and their install. It’s critical that your presence here is optimized. This means having a catchy title and a stand-out app icon, as well as a detailed set of screenshots, demo videos and descriptions utilizing keywords relevant to your audience. It’s also important to pay close attention to your app’s reviews and ratings, since neglecting this can lose you potential holiday downloads.

☑ Goals and KPIs

Defining your campaign goals and KPIs ahead of time will be the key to its success. Understanding this will determine the best campaign type for your app and help keep you on track for ROI.

If organic uplift is a must-have, consider exploring a burst strategy, a common tactic for new apps. Burst campaigns focus on acquiring a high volume of users, which in turn increases your app store rankings and likelihood of attracting organic installs.

If your goal is to drive revenue, plan for a series of sustained campaigns. Users generally have more time and money to spend during the holidays so this is a great time to make a push for IAP. Capitalize on this by targeting these high spenders and funneling them to new seasonal content in your app.

☑ Soft-launch

Like ‘dipping your toes’, soft-launching allows you to test the waters before committing a full campaign launch. For instance, if you plan to acquire users in the United States but have cold feet, consider launching a test budget in a comparable market like Canada, where the market and its audiences behave similarly. Extrapolate what works and apply to your primary market. Soft-launching or ‘test-periods’ should generally span a minimum of 20 days to give you enough performance data to make actionable decisions.

☑ Test your creatives

Take advantage of the holidays by branding your ad creatives with festive themes. Compelling visuals and copy will certainly help capture users caught up in the holiday excitement and encourage their install.

That being said, it’s key that you A/B test your variations and implement only the highest performing combinations. Avoid compromising on well-performing content in an effort to push holiday creatives.

Target & Optimize

Publishers sit on a trove of first-party data which can be used to optimize campaigns. Sharing this data with your campaign managers will assist them in finding ‘look-alikes’ and audiences most relevant to your app. Conversely, you may forego any targeting, and let the early data speak for itself. An optimization approach allows you to discover new audiences while incrementally scaling high performing users. Whichever method you choose, be sure to work closely with your partners to keep your campaigns on track.

☑ Continue into the new year

A record breaking 10 million iOS app downloads occurred in January this year, jumping from 9.2 million downloads in December the year prior. App marketers can take advantage of the impending rise in installs by continuing momentum into the new year. As holiday competition fades and marketing costs settle back down to their annual averages, January and February can serve as great months to acquire new users. It’s also an excellent time to re-engage lapsed users acquired from the holidays as the first several weeks of an install are crucial for long term retention.

Got any other holiday user acquisition tips you’d like to add? Comment below or tweet us at @Supersonicads.

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