How to Optimize Your App for the Holiday Season

Holiday App Optimization

Holiday App Optimization

The holidays are increasingly becoming the prime season for app developers. This year, eMarketer estimates that the mobile industry will make up an impressive 16% of all e-commerce revenue during the holidays. Millions of phones and tablets will be activated throughout the month of December, and those new users will be looking to download apps for their new phones. Current users will also be spending more time at home which leads to higher engagement levels because they aren’t restricted by their job or their commute.

If you want to maximize your app’s downloads and revenue during the holiday season, you should dramatically increase your focus on these 3 main categories:

Analytics and Targeting:

Analytics is especially important during the holiday season, because you need to optimize your app strategies as much as possible. Analyze your current monetization strategy thoroughly and try to pinpoint the locations, ad types, ad placements, or price points that give you the best revenue. While you are probably already targeting these specific “sweet spots”, the rapid influx of users will make it even more important for you to streamline your monetization strategy to maximize on profit.

Especially around the holidays, device shipment numbers can be a good indicator of the demand for a certain phone or tablet. By keeping your eye on these numbers, you will have an idea about which phone/tablets to optimize your app for. If 7-inch tablets are flying off the shelves, you are going to have a new influx of users expecting apps optimized for that screen size.

Analyze the user demographics of your app, and then focus advertising efforts for your app on similar types of users. While increasing your app’s advertising across the board will get you more downloads, targeted ads will give you better quality users.

App Optimization:

Your current users will appreciate the new features as they face long travel times and more time at home. Once the new holiday phone activations start, new users will get the latest and best version of your app, making it less likely for them to uninstall quickly.

Try and aim to roll out your update in the few two weeks of December. Some app stores will prohibit new app submissions or new app updates for a certain period of time during the holidays, so you want to make sure to submit before the deadline.

If there are any major bugs in your app, work hard to fix them before the holiday rush. In other words, make sure the best possible version of your app is available to lure in new users.


In the past few years, app stores like Apple have frozen their rankings and leaderboards for at least a few hours during the holiday download rush. If your app is featured on a list, it will be visible to users for much longer than usual.

Plan a holiday promotion by offering a discount on an in-app purchase, decreasing your app price for a limited time, or offer your users some new holiday-themed features. It will go a long way in terms of user retention.

If you are advertising your app in other channels, try to update your ad creative with a holiday-theme and tie-in any upcoming holiday promotion.

If your app ties in well to the holidays, try to get it featured on “Best Holiday Apps” lists on tech websites. Travel apps, cooking/recipe apps, to-do list apps, and mobile commerce apps are all possible contenders for “Best of” holiday lists. If you truly believe in your app, submit it to be featured on “Best of 2013” lists for the New Year’s holiday.

After the holiday rush dies down, you’ll probably notice your download numbers and user sessions decrease. Plan out loyalty promotions and push notifications to get users to re-engage.

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