All I Want For Christmas are Users: App Promotion Strategy For the Holiday Season


Every Christmas millions of smartphones are unwrapped and activated while billion of apps are downloaded. Last year the number of US app installs on Christmas day was 2.5 times larger than an average December day. Although it’s a great time for app marketers to take advantage of the holiday traffic spike, this period is highly competitive. Big publishers and companies can afford to sustain high volumes of paid traffic on holidays when acquisition costs become higher. For smaller app developers, app promotion during this period can be a real challenge. Should they concentrate on acquiring high value users or utilize a volume boost campaign? What is the best time for app developers to enter this pre-holiday marketing race?

GoWide created an ultimate advent calendar for effective holiday app promotion. Like many other things in app marketing, it starts with proper planning and preparation:

Early November

Start preparing for marketing campaign by planning a budget. You may need to spend more on user acquisition during holidays. It’s a good time to start a sustainable, optimized campaign and enhance an engaged user base. Don’t forget to update your ASO tactic which will increase app visibility and make further paid efforts more efficient. You can ask your existing users to positively rate the app in stores. A one star shift in rating can increase app downloads by up to 340%, according to an Apptentive survey.

Late November

Holidays are perfect for introducing a new version of your app. It can be a new holiday-themed interface, additional functionality, or helpful holiday shopping features. Make sure the app is ready for an increased number of downloads and make technical adjustments if needed. Notice that due to holiday rush, approval time at app stores can take up to 14 days. Late November is a good time to submit an app update and get it approved in time.


Start a pre-holiday campaign before advertising costs increase. Add a seasonal theme into marketing activities (i.e. song lyrics, holiday visuals, catchphrases, etc.). A series of recurring boost campaigns will help an app to increase visibility and prepare a launching basis for holiday promotion. Boost campaigns will also attract organic users. Appsflyer research shows that 1 paid install drives an average of 3 organic installs. Test several advertising channels and formats and make split tests with holiday-themed creatives to find the best option.

Christmas week

It’s time for your app to reach top charts and shine like a Christmas star! Focus on volumes. Utilize a rewarded installs campaign on a self-serve platform. This provides full control over CPI and installs volume, is cheaper than premium traffic, and is perfect for burst campaigns. A rewarded installs campaign will help reach positive ROI through lower CPI and attracted organic traffic. The most common mistakes app developers make after reaching a desired chart position is not sustaining paid install volumes. Once you have reached top charts, try to maintain ranking with a sustained campaign otherwise it will result in a quick position loss.


While many users continue to download apps on their new devices in January, the cost per install drops. Make this post-holiday calm work for you. Think about all the users who installed your app and have not used it for some time. Launch a re-engagement campaign to keep them interested and active, offer them new features and post-holiday discounts.

Holiday season brings a lot of stress and rush to app developers. In order to stay calm and profitable, prepare your strategy in advance, set up your marketing priorities, and find a proper ad platform. AppBooster is a perfect tool to use for the holiday race. It’s simple, it provides rewarded installs from reliable sources, and it fits any budget.

Appy Holidays!