Optimizing an App for the Holidays

The holiday season is a big time for apps to maximize their installs. Whether it is for New Year’s, Halloween or Christmas, aligning an app store optimization strategy with an approaching holiday can help with increasing its visibility and conversion during that period.

Along with calendar holidays, other seasonal events impact mobile search trends, including Tax Season and Back to School. Optimizing for seasonal events and specific holidays is a common practice used by top brands from all categories including education, games, shopping and photography apps, just to name a few. Optimizing for the holidays can involve repositioning messaging, targeting relevant keywords and updating creative design treatments and messaging. All of this can help an app make the most out of the season.


Utilizing Seasonal Imagery

Using relevant imagery in creative sets is a great way to instantly show users that your app is updated for the season, whether in terms of its features or simply its design. Updates to the store listing can include changes to the icon, screenshots and video to align with an Apple store holiday focus.


Establishing relevance has shown to help conversion. Including holiday imagery is a great way to inform users that the app is updated for the specific time of year, in terms of everything from design style to events and updates.


When the time comes to update creative for a particular season, it is recommended to A/B test different elements to understand how conversion is impacted. This will change for different apps, given their category, features and demographic. From there, testing different colors / themes that relate to a season are important – will a simple orange background convert better than an orange and black one? It is important to analyze what competitors have / are doing, create several options and A/B test them to see which variant maximizes conversion.


Researching Keywords Tied to Holiday Trends

In order to help your app appear before interested users, you should find out what keywords pertain to both your app and the upcoming holiday. Conducting research with ASO software will show you which keywords have high search volume and results that are relevant to your demographic. Targeting these keywords during a time of increased seasonal activity can help increase visibility and drive installs.



For example, shopping apps will want to target terms based around Black Friday and Cyber Week as it approaches. This will help them compete for the top spot in search results when users are searching for Black Friday deals, when users are searching for them most. Similarly, tax-related apps can target relevant terms and competitor brands tied to filing tax returns during tax season.


It is also key to gear customer-facing messaging towards the holiday. This can help with conversions by providing clear visual examples of how the app is related to the holiday and their searches.


For instance, apps that offer shopping deals and discounts can talk about Black Friday in the description as well as in the callout text on their screenshots. Slickdeals has done this by making the first image in its creative set state “Save on all Black Friday deals,” added “Black Friday Deals” to its title and talks about its new Black Friday ads and deals in the “What’s New” section. Similarly, the app Dosh has changed its subtitle text to say “Black Friday Shopping Offers” and highlights Black Friday in the callout text for its second screenshot.


Increasing the Chances of Getting Featured

Besides the importance of seasonality for search conversion, there is also a benefit that apps can gain from the editorial areas of the App Store and Play Store.


The editorial teams at both Apple and Google look for content to feature in their curated lists. When holidays roll around, these lists often feature apps updated for the season or featuring new holiday content. Planning for upcoming major holidays and events can increase your chances of being chosen for such lists.


This can include game apps highlighting new characters or skins based around the season, seasonal frames and effects for photo apps, or simply changing the color or design of an icon to match the theme of the holiday.


Apps featured in these lists can gain visibility and clicks from being advertised prominently on the front page of the App Store or Play Store. At the end of the day, the decisions on what to feature are entirely up to the editors on each platform,but being featured presents a huge opportunity to increase traffic.


Optimizing for seasons and holidays as they come and pass can help an app increase its visibility and conversions. Part of this strategy includes aligning the messaging in the metadata and creatives with the holiday you are looking to target.  This can help an app index for the keywords it cares about and with converting users when they come across it. Keeping your app updated year-round and constantly testing are always important. The holidays provide another opportunity to target new keywords, test different creative styles, and gain additional users.


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