Thanksgiving is in the books, which means the holiday season has officially begun (unless you’ve been listening to Mariah Carey since November 1st). Mobile app marketers can still take advantage of the remaining holidays to optimize their mobile games with seasonal user acquisition strategies and content. The holidays are an extremely successful time for apps and games, so how can marketers capitalize on user behavior and seasonality to drive new players and boost current player engagement? In this post we’ll unwrap:
- Mobile Holiday Wins
- User Behavior During the Holidays
- How to Get Your Game Ready
Mobile Holiday Wins
The holidays are prime time for mobile games. Users have more free time to be on their phones and game while having time off of work or being on school break. Last year, customer spending hit new records in Google Play and the Apple App Store. Some notable wins include:
- Global spending across the App Store and Google Play on Christmas Day 2019 topped $277 million (11.3% year-over-year growth) according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates.
- Most of that spend was on mobile games, which hit $210 million and generated 76% of all revenue across both app stores (8% year-over-year growth).
- In the App Store alone, customer spending reached $1.42 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve — a 16% increase from 2018.
- On New Year’s Day 2020, users spent $386 million in the App Store — a 20% increase from 2019 and a new single-day record.
User Behavior During the Holidays
Why exactly is this festive time of year so fruitful for mobile games? The increased user spending and longer session lengths that come at the end of the year can likely be attributed to three trends:
- People have time off of work or school and have more time to be on their phones and play mobile games
- Smartphones are a hot item to gift — Apple sold 72.9 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone
- The excitement that comes with getting a new phone makes users more willing to download new apps and games onto their devices
Tailor your user acquisition strategy during the holidays to capitalize on these trends by creating seasonal content and deals for users. You’ll keep current players engaged and entice new players to download your game.
How to Get Your Game Ready
Mobile game advertisers can optimize new user acquisition and current user engagement during the holidays with these seasonalized strategies.
Rethink App Store Optimization (ASO)
By making seasonal tweaks to your App Store Optimization (ASO) process, you can attract new players, re-engage churned players, and boost engagement with current players.
Sprinkle your game description and keywords with seasonal copy to appear in searches for holiday content. Also, update your promotional text and description to showcase new features that you might be launching during the holidays.
Give your game icon a festive makeover, while keeping it recognizable, and add holiday imagery like snow or gifts to your product page screenshots. These changes may entice more users to download your game, and could improve your chances at getting featured or increase your app discoverability in the app stores.
Add Seasonal Content to Your Game
Making seasonal changes to your game itself can help drive conversions. One mobile game drove a 50% lift in in-app purchase revenue by adding Halloween-themed items and characters. Consider offering avatars seasonal costumes or decorations for purchase, or simply update buildings, characters and other content in your game for the holidays. Players will feel the urgency to engage with limited-edition and time-sensitive content.
If you’re promoting seasonal content on your product page, make sure you deliver with the in-game experience. Users shouldn’t have to play until level 20 to finally get a taste of the fun content you advertised.
Run Promotional Events or Deals
Special offers or promotions can help increase installs and player engagement, while seasonal in-game content and events can increase in-app purchases. If you run a promotion or deal, like a seasonal reward or bonus points for returning to the game, don’t forget to advertise on your product page. Make sure the deal and its terms are easy to understand and accessible for your players.
If you ran a previous in-game event (limited-time battles, challenges, scavenger hunts, etc.) that was successful, duplicate that event for the holidays. Reuse game mechanics from the event while adding a seasonal twist to rope in players to participate.
Increase Ad Spend
While you might be actively updating your product page and mobile game for the holidays, there are over 950,000 gaming apps in the App Store and 380,000 in the Google Play Store that could be doing the same thing. To stay competitive, increase your ad spend during the end-of-the-year holidays. Also, don’t silo your ad spend. Diversify ad spend across multiple user acquisition channels to find new players, discover new insights, and limit risk.
Start Leveling Up
Making seasonal changes to your user acquisition strategy and mobile game content is valuable anytime of the year, but can be extremely beneficial during the holidays when players have more free time and new smartphones. Get started with our team if you’re interested in optimizing new user acquisition and user engagement this holiday season.
Anna is a writer for the HighSpeedOptions team focusing on streaming. She started her career as a content writer in 2017, working one year in the fintech industry before joining the mobile ad tech space with HighSpeedOptions’ parent company, AdAction.