ASO and holidays. App page optimization from «Boo!» to «Ho-ho-ho!»
Did you know holidays and ASO is a super powerful combo? Newsfeeds provide attention, new requests, and additional traffic. There are, of course, pitfalls. In this article, we will analyze them in detail. We will also share how to test your graphics and discuss possible ASO strategies. Beware, there are many examples here!
What is Seasonal ASO?
Seasonal ASO is a conventional name. It refers to optimization in connection with the news feed. Those can be holidays like New Year, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, promotions like Cyber Week or Black Friday, and events like the beginning of the school year. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2021, 2022, or any other year, because it’s about recurring events.
In general, seasonal ASO is an attempt to optimize the app in the app store due to certain recurring events. They can be categorized as follows:
- Holidays (Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Day, Halloween, etc.);
- Social (Pride Month in June, Black Friday, Cyber Monday);
- Religious (the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims);
Plan your marketing activities based on a pre-created calendar of events.
The list of seasonal events may differ from one country to another. For example, Thanksgiving will be a major event for the United States, St. Patrick’s Day for Ireland, and Oktoberfest for Germany. Experts recommend keeping this in mind when creating a calendar of events for your app.
Seasonal ASO consists of two parts:
- Visual optimization which means customizing graphic elements like icon or screenshots in order to increase app conversion. For example, the most obvious step is to add snow on New Year’s Eve, spooky attributes on Halloween’s Eve, and hearts on Valentine’s Day.
- Search optimization means including relevant keywords in text elements. The relevance of queries like ‘New Year’s gifts’, ‘Black Friday’, and ‘Halloween costume’ is short-term, but it can bring you significant traffic at the right moment. These keywords are just examples. There is no universal winner’s keyword pack for the holidays and queries should be selected carefully for each specific app.
The pros and cons of Seasonal ASO
Seasonal ASO is a way to get extra attention with a topical agenda. Besides, it may be necessary if you want to get featured – once you’ve made it into a thematic collection of an app store, you will acquire new users and this is your main goal.
This kind of ASO is especially relevant for games. Gaming apps traditionally have a lot of traffic coming from the Browse/Explore channel. An icon adapted for the holiday increases the likelihood of acquiring even more users.
Short-term nature of the campaign and, at the same time, a rather unpredictable outcome are the main disadvantages. For the event to be as successful as possible, you need to do tests. But testing has its own nuances.
How do we test seasonal graphics?
There are three main ways. Let’s go through their pros and cons.
1. Update metadata (compare before and after).
This is the simplest option. Refresh your graphics and analyze conversion data for the same periods before and after. For example, you can test your New Year creatives since the end of November. A week is enough. You should evaluate only the Search channels (installs after clicking through search queries) and Impressions (installs after clicking through collections, top charts, articles, and similar apps). This is organic traffic, the most relevant traffic.
It’s important not to update other elements at that time and stick to the same marketing strategy. The main disadvantages of the method are high error (too many other factors that too may affect user behavior) and a long time interval. You won’t be able to do many tests. This method is suitable for New Year, Black Friday, and the beginning of the school year as people prepare for them in advance.
2. Use specialized tools (for example, SplitMetrics or Storemaven).
The pros include a high expert level and the most accurate data. The services have many tools and extensive experience in testing and validating results. These are quality A/B testing. More than a dozen articles are devoted to nuances. You can start with these ones: one and two.
Cons: the price will bite your pocket. The traffic sent to the test must be paid separately.
3. Use Search Ads (App Store only).
This is a representative option too. But it’s tailored specifically for screenshots. You need to add new ones to your current screenshots. Don’t be alarmed, the probability that the users will scroll through everything and stumble upon new ones is less than 2%. After that, launch two ad campaigns in Search Ads for the same query (or queries). The traffic will be almost identical. In the first case, you leave the standard set of screenshots, and in the second case, you put the new option in the foreground. To do this:
- Create a Creative Set in the Search Ads dashboard.
- Select an ad preview with new graphic elements for the second campaign.
- Wait for each variation to have enough impressions. For some apps, 2,000 impressions will be enough, but they won’t be enough for apps with high traffic.
- Focus on your performance and draw conclusions about the efficiency of your new graphics.
This is a paid option, but you pay for real users. With a properly configured campaign, you will completely recoup your investment. It should be noted that this method is not classic A/B testing as the data will be less accurate than with the second option, but more accurate than with the first one.
The lower the initial accuracy of the approach, the greater the difference between the tested options should be. That is, an error of a couple of percent may not mean that some option is worse, but another one is better.
The Graphic ASO. Which strategy to choose?
You may want to make the seasonal approach to ASO your long-term strategy. This does not have to be a one-time promotion as this will save you resources in the future. Experiencing experimentation will help you generate ideas faster and create graphics that increase conversion. You can start small.
1. App icon design only.
This is the path of least resistance. The risks are next to none. This option is good if you have:
- little experience with Seasonal ASO,
- little time to create all creatives,
- no traffic to run tests.
However, it helps to benefit from acquiring users from the Browse/Explore channel, where the icon often is the only thing they can see.
2. Add a thematic screenshot.
This is what apps from the Shopping category often do. The graphics do not change, but are supported with a temporary screenshot. As a rule, it contains details of promo campaigns and discounts.
3. Customize all graphics (both app icon and screenshots).
This integrated approach helps to get the most out of the situation. You can go even further and go beyond search engine optimization and customizing all graphics. It’s a good idea to think over relevant events inside the app. For example, you could offer users a discount or even a new level in your game.
The Metrics. Is Seasonal ASO worth it?
As you want to get featured to attract new organic traffic, focus on the Browse/Explore channel (traffic from categories, lists of recommended apps, editorial collections). Remember that App Store Optimization is an iterative process, app store algorithms often change, and your competitors are also engaged in optimizing their apps. Every year there is more and more competition in the stores. Therefore, ASO and marketing activities for the year 2022 should be thought through in advance.
What else? To measure the success of Seasonal ASO, you may need to count and compare everything. Rate it:
- installs (focus on channels),
- post-install actions (how targeted the traffic was).
Keep in mind what your competitors do. Explore how they adapt their schedule for the holidays. Apps from other niches are good to watch too. A wide watching experience may help you generate new ideas. 😉
In a previous article, we covered a related topic, situational mobile marketing. Check out the do’s and don’ts of dealing with alarming trends. It may be relevant during the permanent apocalypse or prepare for the unexpected in 2022.