App Growth Hacking for the Holidays

November 11, 2021
|
Dan Burcaw
Holding an iPhone during the holiday season
Photo by
Sabri Tuzcu

The holiday season is the most lucrative time of year for app publishers. In fact, the week of Christmas in 2020 generated $1.8B in consumer spend on just the App Store. Here are ten app growth hacking strategies for the holidays.

10. Include Keywords in App Name

According to AppFigures, the most important App Store Optimization (ASO) technique employed by app growth hacking experts is including keywords in your app name. Be sure to identify the right keywords before employing this tactic.

App growth hacking rankings

9. Add Holiday Search Terms

Consider temporarily updating your app title, description, and metadata with seasonal keywords. For example, an app in the Shopping category may want to include terms such as “Cyber Deals” around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

A few notes about this app growth hacking technique:

  • Be sure the seasonal keywords are still relevant to your app
  • Don’t forget to remove the seasonal keywords when it’s time

8. Update App Icon with Seasonal Cheer

Refresh your app icon with a holiday theme. This simple change can help you catch the eye of dormant users and bring them back into your app. Research also shows that holiday-themed app icons can drive up to 40% more app installs.

A few notes about this app growth hacking strategy:

  • Use color palettes or small adornments associated with the holidays.
  • Don’t fundamentally change your icon. It should still be familiar to users.
App Store icons with holiday seasonality
Candy Crush standard vs. season icon. Source: Gummicube

7. Use Promoted IAPs

The App Store doesn’t just promote apps. In-app purchases (IAPs) and auto-renewable subscriptions can receive promotional placement on your product page and via editorial features. Since you have to chose which in-app purchase products to promote, most apps just simplify don’t take advantage of this feature.

Also, promoted in-app purchase products feature their own metadata including title, description and icon. This means you have another opportunity to include keywords and tailor artwork for the holidays.

Promoted IAP offer on the App Store

6. Share Offer Codes

You have a lot of offer codes at your disposal. Share a set with bloggers and press. Better yet, reach out to your most loyal users. Empower them to share offer codes with their network. This will help you nurture loyalty with top users and help you find new users via referral.

5. Add App Localization

The holiday season produces strong results around the globe. If your app isn’t yet localized for major markets, now is the time.

To get the most impact from this app growth hacking technique, be sure to:

  • Offer translated versions of your app’s product page
  • Properly localize the strings in your app’s UI text
  • Don’t forget to extent localization to your app’s IAP paywall

4. Acquire App Installs from Web Traffic

Do you have decent traffic to your web site? It’s amazing how many web sites don’t use Smart Banners when someone visits from mobile. All it takes to promote your app to mobile traffic is a meta tag. If you’re not already doing this, it’s about the lowest-hanging fruit you’ll find in your app growth hacking journey.

App Store Smart App Banner example
Source: Apple

3. Throw an In-App Event

iOS 15 features a new marketing tool for app publishers called in-app events. The gist is your app or game can run a live event to drive users in at certain times. Best of all, in-app events get promotional placement across the App Store including:

  • On your product page
  • In search results
  • Featured by Apple’s editorial team

You can also link users to your in-app event page so you can drive traffic from outside your app such as via through a display ad or email marketing.

In-App Event Featured on App Store
Apple is prominently featuring in-app events on the App Store’s Today tab

2. Get Featured!

Getting featured on the App Store is one of the best and perhaps most elusive app growth hacking strategies. Rest assured, you can get featured! Here’s the formula:

  • Follow the App Store best practices for design, localization, accessibility
  • Ship a major app update adopting some of the major new iOS features
  • Reach out to the App Store editorial teams and make the case

On the last point, the editorial team us looking for great apps with great stories to feature. Share yours! You’d be surprised how many app developers don’t bother and thus won’t ever get featured. Don’t forget to mention the new iOS features you’re taking full advantage of.

1. Update your Paywall

You’ve gotten this far. App installs are up and your holiday season is going great! Or is it? Did you capitalize on those new installs? Sadly, many apps don’t have the ability to make changes to their IAP paywall without requiring a development cycle and app update.

Making changes easily is important. You’ve gone through the effort to update your App Store product page and keywords for the holidays. Now you need to make sure your paywall messaging and creative is consistent as well.

App paywall designer for instant updates

Plus, you might want to run some special introductory pricing during the holidays. With a dynamic paywall, you can easily swap in your promotional product. Just as easily, you’ll want to swap them out when the promotion is over.

Nami turns the paywall into an app growth marketing asset. Book a time with one of our app growth experts. We’re love to help you optimize your app revenue.

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Dan Burcaw

Dan Burcaw is Co-Founder & CEO of Nami ML. He built a top mobile app development agency responsible for some of the most elite apps on the App Store and then found himself inside the mobile marketing industry after selling his last company to Oracle.

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