In the mobile programmatic industry, as a result of the pandemic, we have seen shifts in consumer behavior during different holidays, and that has brought changes in the demand for ad inventory. This has also brought incredible opportunities for advertisers to ramp up their app holiday marketing, all year round.
Just because the Q4 holidays are over, does not mean your holiday marketing should stop. Taking part in regional celebrations all over the world might be your key to broadening your app appeal globally.
Mobile Behavior Has Shifted
Due to social distancing measures, people are spending more time at home and away from their family and friends, and mobile devices have become vital to maintaining their social connections. Especially during holidays and celebrations, people turn to mobile apps as a form of communication, entertainment, shopping, and more.
Shopping is usually the most popular app genre during the holidays, due to gift giving traditions. InMobi 2021 Holiday Shopping report forecasted that ⅓ of all time spent with media in the Q4 holiday season was expected to be devoted to mobile.
Q1 is actually a great opportunity to run retargeting campaigns, especially for users who failed to convert during the Q4 shopping season, such as users who left items in their shopping cart, or users that failed to complete an action with your app.
A widely celebrated holiday in Q1 is Lunar New Year, with global installs of shopping apps increasing every year. Installs for shopping apps during 2021 rose by 18% over the Lunar New Year. There is also an increase in shopping app installs during the Ramadan season, with a 10% increase in installs in 2021 compared to 2020.
Superbowl Sunday, although not an official holiday, should not be overlooked. A recent survey showed that 35% of Superbowl Sunday followers are planning to use their smartphones for social media apps, while 29% will play mobile games during that day. Part of the reason why more viewers will be on their phones is because most of them do not plan to host in-person viewing parties because of COVID-19.
Other holidays to consider in Q1 are Holi, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick's Day. Taking part in the celebrations will increase your ads’ relevance and will help you resonate more with your target audience. Participating in Q1 holidays can also be an opportunity to set the tone for your mobile marketing campaign plans throughout the year.
More Money is Spent on App Marketing
Strategies vary per advertiser. Some app marketers drop budgets during Q4 holidays for reasons such as higher CPMs and increased competition in the market. We at Aarki always encourage our clients to run topical campaigns that resonate with their target audience, such as taking part in celebrations, or highlighting seasonal changes, to take advantage of higher user engagement and purchase intent. Holidays bring higher conversion rates, and thus makes ad inventory more valuable.
Metrics are Changing
App marketers need to keep an eye out for CPIs and CPMs, as trends change during the various holidays due to the influx of campaigns from different apps and marketers. It is best to review and update your KPIs accordingly to reflect the season. To provide you with a clear picture, we dove deep into Aarki data assets.
Users are already in the mindset of making in-app purchases, and they are more likely to spend because of in-app deals, promotions, and discounts. This drives conversion rates higher. With high demand from advertisers driving competition in the market, the cost-per-mille (CPM), or cost per thousand impressions, is expected to rise. It is also important to see if the number of advertisers increase during holidays, and if ad exchanges see an increase in spend from their partners. But a high CPM is not necessarily a cause for concern, as you are most likely to get a higher ROI.
USA CPMs tend to be higher in general due to the region being the most competitive, but globally, CPM trends tend to be similar across different platforms and campaign types.
For both UA and RT campaigns in iOS and Android, CPMs usually drop in January. We advise advertisers to take advantage of this period to run retargeting campaigns for Q1 holidays.
CPMs across all ad formats (video, interstitial, banner, and display) tend to spike in February, which can be attributed to holidays such as Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day, with the market being filled with promos and discounts.
Cost-per-install (CPI) is another metric app marketers should look out for, especially when looking to expand their user base during the holiday season. This pricing model charges a rate per app installation. Although CPIs are subject to many factors (region, ad network, category, etc.), it is important to always look back at your historical data.
When we grouped campaign types by ad format, we noticed a general increase in CPI for UA campaigns leads to general decrease in CPI for RT campaigns.
Low CPIs can be found in January RT campaigns for both iOS and Android, which makes it a perfect time to retarget users that lapsed the past quarter. Both Android and iOS show spikes in CPI for RT campaigns during February, which typically drop again in March.
The goal for a Q1 holiday campaign is to take advantage of the low CPMs and CPIs after a hectic and busy Q4.
Apps battle with high CPMs and CPIs during any holiday year-round, but there are often good ROIs to be experienced by apps, which is why it is still key for advertisers to launch campaigns during this period. As more users turn to their phones for gaming and shopping during any holiday, there is a golden opportunity to maximize your ROI and reach (or even exceed) your campaign’s KPIs.
With that, we partnered with a social casino app for a retargeting campaign run during Lunar New Year. We examined the effectiveness of having Lunar New Year creatives compared to the app’s regular creatives. We saw that, compared to a regular campaign, the performance of the holiday campaign had better rates:
- -21.47% decrease in CPI
- 435.21% increase in ROI
- 37.35% increase in CTR
- 39.42% increase in CR
- 50.37% increase in CPM
Although we see that there is an increase in CPM, it was justified by the ROI and CR increase. With so many users downloading the app, there was a natural decrease in CPI. There was also an increase in CTR, which proves that the holiday-based creatives are effective in encouraging action among users.
Creative Strategies for Winning Holiday Campaigns
- Incorporate seasonal elements into your ad creatives to keep up with the holiday spirit.
- Use your app’s existing features and leverage them to highlight different holiday and seasonal themes.
- Make your ads festive and take part in the celebration!
Download our white paper for more practical creative insights here.
Why Partner with Aarki
Aarki offers an algorithmic approach to app marketing, which leverages machine learning models that are trained for down-funnel KPIs. We pair that with our creative development and optimization to produce the most optimal ad creatives for your holiday campaign. Add to that Aarki Studio, our proprietary creative suite, which allows us to create multiple ad variations and target them to the right audience.
To learn more about how Aarki can help scale your holiday campaigns year-round, shoot us a message here.