In the fast-paced world of mobile applications, the App Store stands as a dynamic marketplace where millions of apps compete for attention. However, one factor that often plays a pivotal role in an app's success is seasonality. Just as seasons affect nature, they also have a significant impact on user behaviour and app performance in the digital realm.
The Redbox team has a deep understanding of how app developers and marketers can harness seasonal opportunities for game-changing performance, and our advanced Apple Search Ads campaign management platform, Astra, enables you to plan ahead with scheduled deployments to your campaigns and budgets, so your ads will always go live on time.
In this blog, we will delve into the concept of seasonality on the App Store and outline our top tips for how to make the most of it within your UA strategies.
The high-seasons that influence app relevance and downloads
Before we look at specific seasons, it’s worth noting that globally, events and seasons are both continuous and varied. It’s important to look beyond your own borders and time zone when exploring seasonal opportunities for your app. Some events and seasons will be represented quite differently in the southern hemisphere, than in the northern hemisphere; many events happen globally, but they may be depicted by different iconography and imagery, depending on region.
Holidays: Major holiday periods such as Lunar New Year, Easter, Summer, Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year's often see a spike in app downloads as people have more leisure time and seek entertainment; or want to get fit and find a date in the new year!
Retail events: In addition to consumers doing their travel research or shopping for holidays, the major online retail events of Valentine’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will drive massive revenues for online brands. In 2022 Black Friday broke $9bn in online sales, with a record 48% of that made via smartphones (Adobe Insights).
Sporting Events: Team championships like college Basketball’s March Madness, the Super Bowl and the FIFA World Cup or the start of the UK Premier League football season; one-off major horse racing events such as the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot or the Kentucky Derby drive downloads and increased usage of sports news apps, streaming apps, betting apps and event guides.
Back-to-School Season: Education-related apps tend to peak during back-to-school months. Also dating apps can capitalise on this period for students going back to university.
New Device Releases: The launch of the latest iPhone can cause a surge in app downloads; we often see the largest number of redownloads in between Christmas and New Year, where users are downloading apps on new phones received as gifts.
10 tips to maximise your high-season for Apple Search Ads UA
It’s important to get your ducks in a row for maximising seasonality through your Apple Search Ads investments; here are the main areas to schedule adequate planning time in for:
Allow adequate lead-in time: Changes to your assets in App Store Connect and on the App Store can take time to be reviewed and approved, so think ahead.; we recommend your start planning at least 6 weeks in advance.
Analyse historical data: Study historical app performance data during your target events. Look for trends in search volume, downloads, and user engagement. This data will help you understand the potential impact of these events on your app.
Get increased budgets approved: During peak seasonal periods you should set aside more budget for your campaigns. You may need to bid more competitively on your event-relevant target keywords, since other apps may bid more aggressively than usual, and you should consider investing in additional ad placements.
Have a multi-placement strategy: Fully utilise the range of ad placements available in Apple Search Ads, to both generate brand awareness and convert user intent. Ad placements like Today tab ads and Product page ads drive impression frequency and brand exposure; they enable you to be more front-of-mind with, and relevant to users who are visiting the App Store during seasonal periods. Combine these with ad placements that capitalise on user intent, such as search result ads and search tab ads.
A note on campaign assessment: when adopting a multi placement Apple Search Ads strategy, you should assess your campaign performance holistically. Comparing individual placements to each other will not show you the true value of the overall campaign and may give misleading performance views. Viewed as a blended CPA, you will be able to assess the overall performance more clearly and make the right budget decisions. Remember, the various placements may not always lead to a tap but will still give an impression. Impressions without taps, do not take budget, but drive audience recall and awareness lifting both organic and paid performance. We advise looking at a blended CPA to understand the true performance of your multi placement campaign.
Craft new ad copy and creative: Tailoring your ad variations and creating custom product pages that are relevant to your event or season can significantly increase your conversion rate. If users are using search terms that are specific to an event, meet their expectations by serving them a variation of your ad or product page that matches their search intentions. Redbox has delivered +35% improved tap-through-rate via the event custom product pages we’ve created for our clients.
Campaign set up: Think about your campaign structuring in advance. Careful creation of new, specific event-led Apple Search Ads campaigns with specific target keywords or creative will allow you to adjust campaigns more easily as they are live and will enable you to isolate and analyse performance data, post-event.
Attribution set up: Ensure your MMP (attribution) is synced to capture event data for your new campaigns.
Ramp-up and wind-down: Gradually increase your ad spend as the event approaches and scale it back as the event winds down. This helps you capture the maximum attention and engagement right across the peak period.
Real-time monitoring: Keep a close eye on your app's performance metrics, including bid values, keyword share of voice, click-through rate and downloads, during the event. Adjust your Apple Search Ads campaigns as needed and add more budget to keywords that are driving the best return or on your target keywords that are being bid on by your competition.
Review and learn: Post event, review your Apple Search Ads performance and benchmark effectiveness against your historical data. Extract valuable insights to apply to future high seasonality events.
Showcase examples: please visit the Apple Search Ads, Success Stories page for examples of successful campaigns featuring seasonal strategies. For an audit of your seasonal opportunities and a roadmap towards enhanced performance, get in touch with the Redbox team.
Go the extra mile and build an ASO strategy
Looking at the data from successful strategies we have implemented for our clients, there is clear evidence that aligning your App Store Optimisation (ASO) efforts with your Apple Search Ads campaigns during your high-season can significantly boost your app's visibility and performance.
Here are our top five tips to effectively synchronise your ASO:
Keyword optimisation: Update your app's metadata and keywords to include relevant terms associated with your high-season event. Think imaginatively about the terms that users might search for and add those too.
Screenshots and videos: Create new App Store screenshots and videos that showcase your app's features in the context of your high-season event. This will help users visualise how your app is relevant to their needs at that moment. For example, use sports footage preview videos or Christmas iconography to enhance stand-out and relevancy.
Harness the power of custom product pages: Although an Apple Search Ads offering, custom product pages are sympathetically aligned with ASO because they allow you to create bespoke product page sets that are directly relevant to ASO performant keywords and user search terms around events and seasons.
Promotions and Discounts: In addition to updating creative elements, offer limited-time promotions, discounts, or bundled deals during retail high-seasons to entice users to download or make in-app purchases.
Create in-app events: When users are searching for event or seasonal specific apps or content, or simply happen to be searching during a key season, why not create an in-app event to elicit deeper user engagement? Use the in-app event card on your App Store product page to highlight current experiences.
Redbox Mobile specialises in growth strategies for the App Store, blending performance via Astra, our semi-automated Apple Search Ads campaign management platform, with human expertise offered by our media strategy, creative and product page optimisation teams. To better understand your app’s opportunities for growth, contact us.