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8 pointers for app success during the holiday season

During the holiday season there are thousands of blogs out there, written over the years that provide you with information and best practices around app marketing.

Here at JMango360 we strive to help you with building your business, so we’ve saved you the trouble of reading hundreds of blogs and have gathered the most important and most recent app marketing pointers for you.

Nobody likes long intros, let’s get into it!

1. Prepare for peak traffic

The holidays typically increase traffic to both physical and digital stores. This is of course a great opportunity to increase sales, but it also provides challenges that might hurt your business. Making sure that your app is ready and can perform under increased traffic is an important step in reaping the benefits of the holiday season.

When it comes to the App, there are four key areas of attention:

a. Ensure sufficient bandwidth on your API calls between the App and your eCommerce system. You prefer a 5-lane highway in peak hours over a 2-lane. Things to consider are API caching or adding extra API connections.

b. Make sure you have enough capacity on your website server to process this increased traffic, as it might slow down your website and app tremendously.

c. Put in effort to make sure your customers are using the most current version of the app. Bug fixes and updates are implemented by updating a new version, you don’t want old issues popping up during this holiday season.

d. And finally; It might seem a silly thing to mention, but don’t do any technical updates on your website and app in November and December (unless they are critical for continuation). You don’t want to run into Murphy’s Law with ‘just a quick update’ and have your site/app going offline for a prolonged period during the busiest season of the year.

2. Monitor app performance and act!

When the pressure is on, keep at a close eye on your app performance. Monitor performance on a weekly or daily basis and act on makers and breakers. During the holiday season, the effects of the increase in traffic should be monitored closely, to optimize your campaigns, strategies and conversions.

The JMango360 dashboard offers you insight into the growth (or decline) of your user base, downloads and revenue. Even more insights can be gathered from Google Firebase (Google’s app version of Google Analytics).

Here you can track a plethora of data, in which we would recommend to keep tabs on these four at minimum:

  1. Crashlytics – provides you with insight on where your app is going awry.
  2. Sales (Revenue / # orders / order value) – How much you are selling and in what quantities.
  3. User activity over time – Does your app have sticking power?
  4. Push analytics (% opt in & % opens per message) – How effective is your push messaging?

You can also check the amount of customers that are using an older version via Firebase (Analytics > Users per app version) and we highly recommend reminding them to update the app via push messages and other communication channels.

3. Promote your app with ads and marketing

During the holidays, a major proportion of sales will be new business. People are going to be shopping for gifts and a majority of them will not be specifically loyal to stores and brands; they’re just looking for a great gift (with ideally a great deal on it).

Since ads are everywhere, it would be silly not to use them to your advantage. One way you can use ads in a novel manner, is to promote your app by running app install ads on social media and search engines. This can help you direct traffic to your app and generate increased downloads.

Especially during the run-up to Black Friday (where over half of sales are new business), potential customers have a higher tendency to shop at new stores, channels and apps. Combined with a lucrative sale, ideally exclusive for mobile users, you can rake in a bunch of new customers, to be connected to more with push messages down the road.

Marketing via social and other channels is the last, but not least important strategy to boost downloads and lock in (new) users. Make sure your app is visible everywhere; on your website (header/footer), on your promotion materials (QR Code), your newsletter and on your digital and physical receipts to start with.

4. Win the battle for attention with push messaging

The most effective and powerful weapon in your app’s arsenal is the ability to send a message directly to the pockets and faces of your customers. If you will only take away one thing from this blog, let it be this:

Don’t fear the push message!

When you are putting up incredible sales and have a lot to share, don’t hold back on sharing with them. The holiday season is a battleground for attention and your customers are going to get bombarded from all sides. Having that direct access to them is great, but if it’s not utilized you might still lose out to more general advertising.

So make sure you get your push messages set up early (with JMango360 you can schedule them in advance) and add last-minute calls-to-action messages on sales, product releases, mobile exclusives and anything else you are offering during the holiday season.

An important note here is that you need to periodically promote/incentivize the opting in to push messaging. For Android the opt-in is standard, but for iOS the user needs to manually opt-in to your push messaging. Our numbers have shown that without promotion the general opt-in among iOS users is around 20-30%, while active promotion can bump that up to 60-80%. So there is a lot to be gained by this!

5. Introduce yourselves

There are billions of app users who have zero personal connection to the people who make their mobile experiences come alive. Most of you probably have an ‘About us’ page on the app, but there are a lot of ways you can personalize it more and really paint your customers a picture of the people behind the business.

We’ve emphasized this in the past, but people buy from people and having human faces doesn’t only increase conversion on products (on average by 16%), allowing your customers to connect a person (not just a face) with hopes and dreams to a business, has done well for customer retention across the board. The numbers vary a lot of course, but on the low end the studies show about 5-6% increase, whereas on the high end some companies experienced over 15% increase on their retention rates!

6. Use influencers and/or affiliates

A highly effective way to spend your ad budget is to employ influencers and/or affiliates. In today’s market, the right influencer/affiliate can promote your store to very specific audiences ranging well into the thousands of people.

The difference between an influencer and an affiliate is that affiliates receive financial incentives (they are basically re-sellers) and sales promotions/materials, whereas influencers get paid to promote a campaign, product, or business.

You may or may not use influencer marketing. Buuuuuuuttttt … now is a good time to pair a holiday launch event with an influencer who matches your values, interests, and demographic. One-off influencer/affiliate campaigns are a bit ho-hum … but 5 to 10 well-targeted channels who participate in an event, or become part of a promotion, over time could just keep the excitement high for existing users as well as attracting a flow of new people.

Not only does this offer you a big audience for relatively low effort, it allows you to tap into niche-audiences that might not be accessible through regular ads and marketing.

7. Wish them a Happy Holiday

Christmas and New Year is, of course, about more than just selling stuff. Alongside promotional messages, wish people happy holidays and use your app as another medium to demonstrate your brand’s warmth and personality.

Say thank you via push messages, create images and photography to let people see the people behind the brand (as mentioned in point 4), and show your gratitude for giving you their time (and business) during the holiday season.

8. Think past December

While the traditional retail-focused holiday period ends at Christmas, the opportunity for app marketers does not. Smartphones and tablets opened during the holidays are still “new” for weeks to come – and in the data, download activity in January is increasingly becoming even higher than December.

While being at the top of the charts on Christmas morning is enticing, it is worth considering a push in the early first quarter to take advantage of increased usage without the focused competition.

A smart sales rep goes out when it rains, because everybody will be at home. Especially the sales reps!

Written by

Andre Zweerus

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