Holiday Season App Marketing: good preparation matters


As the holiday season nears, eCommerce retailers are predicted to see a 17.2% increase in sales during Q4, and mobile devices are driving much of that growth. In order to help mCommerce marketers get the most out of their campaign strategies, mobile attribution and marketing analytics provider AppsFlyer has analysed app install and purchase data from the 2015 US holiday season.

The App Marketing Best Practices for the 2016 Holiday Season report highlights the different behaviours for Android and iOS users. A closer look at last year’s iOS app installs and in-app purchasing behaviours finds that marketers increased their campaigns during the second half of October, which led to 175% more non-organic installs. Interestingly, purchases dropped rather sharply (-38%) after Cyber Monday in November and did not recover for Christmas. App install campaigns began to slow just ahead of Christmas and rose again by 50% during and after the holidays and New Year’s.

iOS app installs and in-app purchases by week

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Things are looking slightly different on Android where Cyber Monday and Christmas both present dominant peaks for in-app purchases. This is a likely indicator that Android owners may be making last minute purchases.

Android app installs and in-app purchases by week

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Marketers should be aware that November is a critical time for user acquisition campaigns as installs soar between October and November on both Android and iOS devices. In preparation, advertisers should focus on longer lead times to prepare for more engaging campaigns. That includes diversifying one’s media sources. A better reach equals higher conversation rates. During the shopping rush, consumers are generally more open to aggressive marketing tactics and marketers shouldn’t shy away from reaching out via various channels (retargeting, push messaging and email).

Android and iOS users behave very differently and that should be accounted for in a campaign. Non-organic Android installs peak on Cyber Monday whilst iOS users are most active during Black Friday and the two weeks afterwards. It’s also important to realise that Christmas isn’t a peak shopping time.

For iOS, organic installs trail non-organic ones. For Android, organic and non-organic installs are rather similar.

Gaming app advertisers are more likely to see an increase in revenue during the last quarter holidays. Themed apps and holiday promotions are a good draw for gamers with free time on their hands. Purchase activity for iOS game apps rose 140% at the start of Q4 2015. Christmas installs spiked 100% in non-organic installs, 65% in organic installs and 22% for in-app purchases.

iOS non-organic app installs and conversions 

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Ran Avrahamy, VP Marketing at AppsFlyer, explains:

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“In planning for the holiday season, it is critical that app marketers understand the differences in holiday activity for iOS and Android users. Our data will help marketers understand the holiday trends in order to take full advantage of them and drive the greatest revenue in the remainder of 2016.”