Effective mobile marketing is a crucial strategy for businesses looking to make the most of the holiday season. Shoppers increasingly turn to mobile devices for product research, shopping, and gift inspiration. This year, shopping app downloads are expected to reach 1.7 billion.  Therefore, it is essential to adapt your marketing strategies to meet the growing needs effectively.

 So, let’s dive into the world of mobile marketing and make the most out of this festive season!

App Store Optimization (ASO)

  • Switch up your app icons

Changing your app icon to align with the season is common practice among many apps. This simple adjustment can convey to users that your app remains relevant and offers something new for the festive season. Brands sometimes underestimate app icons as they’re perceived as static assets on app stores, meant to adhere to established brand guidelines. However, maintaining a fluid design approach can boost engagement with your listing and increase downloads from users actively seeking seasonally relevant apps. 

Depending on the specific seasonal event, this strategy can be applied effectively across various industries. For instance, apps are already changing their icons to promote the Christmas event with apps like Wowcher being proactive by updating their icon a month before the event. E-commerce apps can expect a substantial increase in revenue during this holiday. Needing little resources to make these minor adjustments for your app icon can greatly impact the conversion rate. Therefore, ensuring your app reflects its participation in these festivities is a great place to start.

Wowcher Christmas App Icon

Source: Wowcher

  • Seasonally shake up your screenshots

Incorporating a variation of your app icons is just one part of the equation; altering your app store listing screenshots is equally essential. Seasonal screenshots offer more than just a visual transformation; you can enrich them with thematic elements like falling snowflakes or bright Easter eggs. Additionally, these seasonal screenshots can signal to the app store algorithms that your app is regularly optimised, which can have a positive impact on driving visibility.

It’s crucial to adopt a holistic approach. If you’ve made updates to your content, introduced new products, or launched promotions that align with the current season, it’s essential to update your app store screenshots promptly. This ensures that both your existing and potential users are well-informed about the seasonal relevance of your app.

  • Seasonal In-app Events and Promotional Content

You can enhance user engagement by capitalizing on seasonal In-app Events on iOS or Promotional Content on Android. Seasonal occasions such as Christmas sales or Valentine’s Day-themed challenges are prime examples of how in-app events can capture users’ attention.

There are two compelling reasons to integrate in-app events into your seasonal strategy:

  • These events provide additional captivating content for your users, crucial for sustaining app engagement, particularly during highly competitive periods like Black Friday and Christmas.
  • They can help re-engage users who have been inactive on your app, potentially leading to an increase in re-downloads.

Apple and Google also like it when you utilize their new app store features. We have seen a strong correlation between leveraging In-app Events and Promotional Content and getting featured in the app stores.

B&Q Back to Uni In-App Event

Source: B&Q Back to Uni

  • Update keywords in line with seasonal trends

To improve your app’s visibility and performance on the app store, it’s essential to refresh your keywords with relevant seasonal terms to boost visibility over this period. When researching these keyword trends, remember to leverage intelligence tools, analyze your competitors and utilize Apple Search Ads data to pinpoint valuable seasonal keyword opportunities.

Maintaining an agile metadata optimization framework is essential year-round, but it becomes even more critical during seasonal spikes in user engagement. To capitalise on these opportunities, thorough research is imperative. Utilise intelligence tools to identify trending seasonal keywords; for instance, the popularity of keywords like ‘Black Friday’ can surge ninefold during the holiday week (AppTweak, 2022, iOS UK).

User Acquisition

  • Increase your budget to fit the season

Effective budget allocation is essential for mobile apps and across all industries, especially during times of increased competition. This period could be your most profitable, so ensuring your budget is sufficient enough for your app to stand out is paramount. When facing budget constraints, concentrating on one or two paid user acquisition channels that align with your specific objectives and target audience is often more efficient.

For travel apps, the summer months and December witness a significant surge in usage. Following Christmas, the potential for travel apps is exceptionally high, as many individuals are eager to plan their upcoming travels. Meanwhile, shopping apps should proactively increase their budgets in the first half of November and December to seize a portion of the lucrative spending spree during Christmas and Black Friday. Strategic budget allocation during these crucial times can significantly impact your marketing success. Therefore, meticulous budget planning in advance is vital to capitalise on these bustling periods.

  • Use Apple Search Ads to improve your seasonal strategy

An excellent method for optimising your budget is through the utilisation of Apple Search Ads. These advertisements enable you to showcase your app prominently within App Store search results in line with your app’s content, capturing high-intent users and driving them to find and install your app. It’s essential to remember that conducting thorough research on seasonal keywords can significantly enhance your user acquisition efforts.

Keyword research, explicitly tailoring your keywords to the current season, can be the determining factor between a successful and an ineffective strategy. To achieve this, you can leverage third-party ASA (Apple Search Ads) and ASO (App Store Optimization) tools, which can aid in discovering new keywords and provide valuable insights into the popularity of keywords within your specific industry.

Temu’s Apple Search Ad

Source: Temu

  • Drive campaign success with Custom Product Pages

Boost your seasonal Apple Search Ads by connecting them with seasonal Custom Product Pages. These pages are designed to provide a tailored and optimised user experience for potential users who click on your ad. Updating your Custom Product Pages for the holidays allows you to highlight special promotions, discounts, or exclusive holiday products. This can attract customers and encourage them to purchase, taking advantage of the festive spirit. Holiday-themed customisation shows that your business is current and attentive to seasonal trends and can have a significant impact on your CPIs and drive further Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

Retention & Engagement

  • Develop effective push notifications

Making sure you are letting your users know what you have to offer during the seasonal months seems obvious, but this is still important. Having the ability to personalize your notifications during these periods can drive interest from users who haven’t used your app in a while. Especially around Christmas, e-commerce apps may struggle to retain users amidst saturated competition. Providing users with notifications about items in their abandoned cart or products they’ve previously shown interest in can serve as a valuable re-engagement tool. 

80% of consumers under 35 place high value on personalised recommendations, emphasizing the importance of tailoring content to individual preferences. You can do this effectively by utilizing in-app product features like a Wishlist to reference products a user has interacted with before – especially if the product is now discounted in line with your seasonal promotions! Leverage this data for your push notification strategy by asking users if they are still interested in the product. Here, you can set up a deep link that will take the user to the specific page where the product is, rather than just to the homepage, to reduce friction in the purchase journey.  

B&Q Black Friday & Trip Advisor Festive Notifications

Source: B&Q Black Friday & Trip Advisor Festive

  • Engage users with seasonal in-app messages

In-app messages serve a slightly different purpose compared to push notifications. Suppose you’ve ever received a “welcome back” message after a prolonged app inactivity or encountered an in-app message introducing new product features. In that case, you’ve experienced what in-app messages are all about. 

These messages can inform users about upcoming events or remind them about existing tools that hold significance during specific seasons. An excellent example of a seasonal in-app message can be found in Joe & the Juice’s recent Halloween collaboration campaign. By infusing their message with seasonal language and highlighting their collaboration with Gymshark, they effectively engage users and immerse them in the seasonal spirit.

It’s worth noting that in-app messages typically boast a high average open rate of 75%, highlighting their efficacy. Joe & the Juice’s integration of in-app messages is a great strategy to involve more engaged users in their seasonal collaboration.

Joe & the Juice in-app message

Source: Joe & the Juice

  • Add in seasonal gamification elements

Gamification involves integrating game mechanics into a non-gaming environment to engage users with your application. There are various approaches to seasonally gamifying your app. Here are a few examples:

  • Advent calendars
  • Seasonal badges
  • Spin the wheel to unlock seasonal offers
  • Enhanced loyalty points system during seasonal periods

Implementing gamification elements for your app could result in higher retention rates, but ensure that it makes sense in the context of your app. Gamification strategies must still correlate with the app’s functionality purpose.


As the holiday season approaches, incorporating mobile marketing into your strategy is not just a choice; it’s a necessity. With a growing number of consumers relying on their mobile devices for shopping and information, businesses must pay attention to this powerful channel.

From ASO to retention and engagement, every facet of your marketing strategy must be ready for this very profitable time of year. The key lies in understanding your target audience, crafting engaging content, and delivering a seamless mobile experience.

Remember to analyse the performance of your mobile marketing campaigns, using data and insights to refine your approach. The holiday season is dynamic and competitive, so staying agile and responsive to consumer behaviours will set you apart.

Adapting to the seasonal months will bring a positive experience to your users and your app. By implementing these strategies, you can create an impactful app marketing campaign that will resonate with your audience and lead you into an even more exciting 2024.