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5 Tips to Get Your Apps Ready for Christmas

Is your app ready for the holidays?

Ah, Christmas. That magical time of year: when trees twinkle with lights, houses smell like baking cookies…..and apps are downloaded like crazy.

It’s well known that Christmas Day brings the highest rate of app downloads. Last year was no exception; Flurry Analytics shows that there were 150% more downloads on December 25 than on any other day of the month, on average.  So, if you’re hoping to boost your app downloads and improve monetization (and who isn’t?), it’s important to figure out how you can hook your wagon onto Santa’s sleigh.

But how are you going to do that? In this blog post, we’ll tell you the top five ways to get you–and your app–into the holiday spirit. (And to get those holiday returns as well!)

christmas-app-downloads

1. New users want the latest and greatest.

Look under any Christmas tree, and there’s a good chance you’re going to see a smartphone. A report from Strategy Analytics found that 380 million smartphones were sold during the Christmas quarter last year. It’s  important to note that a good percentage of those were Apples products: in that record fourth quarter, about 75.5 million of the sales were iPhones, including a lot of iPhone 6 models. And, when you look only at the week leading up to Christmas, the numbers get even higher: Flurry Analytics reported that 51.3% of the smartphones activated in that period were manufactured by Apple.

And what’s the first thing you do when you get a new device? Use it, obviously. And you’re not going to call your family–they’re right there, celebrating with you. You’re going to start looking for cool new apps in the App Store.

That’s where you come in. If you can capture the attention of this key market, your downloads are going to skyrocket. There are a few ways you can rise to the top. You can use the latest and greatest in technology, incorporating some of the hot new iOS 9 features, such as 3D Touch. Or, you can focus on trying to get your app featured, just in time for the holiday boom.

 

2. Theme your content and in-app purchases to the holiday.

Remember: it’s Christmas Day! Everyone is feeling festive, and your app should be no exception. Update your content and in-app purchases so that they are relevant to the holiday season. You can be creative about it; the important thing is to motivate people to engage with your app, because the content just seems so timely.

3. Then theme your whole app.

The halls shouldn’t be the only thing you’ve decked–your app will benefit from a little holiday sprucing up as well. Consider adding a temporary Christmas theme to your app’s interface. If that doesn’t feel right, at least throw in a few snowflakes or candy canes. Even a simple holiday theme can get you some extra attention.

4. Decorate your push notifications and in-app messages.

And don’t forget to share the love with people who have already downloaded your app! In-app messages easily connect you to your current users, and push notifications are great for reminding past users about your app. Make use of both of these channels to update them on how you’re getting into the holiday spirit: tell them about your new holiday content, advertise related promotions, or, at the very least, wish them a happy holidays.

Remember, though, that the best messages are the personal ones. Use your customers’ actions to target your messages, and give them useful information. That’s going to get them to engage–and to have the best possible experience.

5. Pay attention to emerging markets.

Billions of people celebrate Christmas, so we can pretty much guarantee that not all of them are in your domestic market. And that’s also true for who will be using the App Store around the end of December. Chartboost found that game sessions surged in areas all over the world, but numbers were particularly high in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Ireland. So it might be worth paying a little extra attention to these regions when you’re developing your holiday campaign.

holiday

And remember that, for some countries, snowflakes and chestnuts on an open fire don’t make sense! Below the Equator, many people will be enjoying a hot, sunny Christmas. Marketing your app as a “great way to get away from all that snow” will work in Canada…..but it’s going to be pretty silly in Brazil. To make sure that you’re taking into account different audiences, ask your translators for advice on content created for the regions they’re familiar with. It’s a great way to gauge local customs and to get a sense of what will (and won’t) work for the Christmas season.

Bonus: Don’t forget about winter break!

Like some of these ideas? Then get started. Now.

Why? Well, every year, the App Store takes a winter break. That means that new apps and app updates will not be accepted December 22-29. Any releases (including updates) have to be submitted, approved, and scheduled in advance. Other iTunes Connect functionality remains available, but this break means you need to get moving: if you do want to add holiday content to your app, you need to submit those updates early to guarantee it will be released in time.

And then, take a break yourself. You deserve it.

Tell us your thoughts.

As this list makes clear, there are a lot of ways you can infuse your app with some Christmas spirit. Have you had particular success with a holiday theme on your app? What will you be downloading this holiday season, and why? Give us the scoop in the comments. (Or, at least, wish us a Merry Christmas!)

Patrick Yip

Written by Patrick Yip

Patrick Yip is the former Head of Marketing at OneSky. Heavily attracted to any brilliant growth strategy, well-crafted content and the idea of making the Internet globally accessible.

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