Holiday App Store Traffic Is Insane, Don’t Miss Out

The season is almost upon us, and the holidays have a huge impact on mobile app traffic. If you want to be joyous at the end of the year, take some advice from expert app marketers.

App Sales Go Crazy During the Holidays

Think about the target audience – teens and kids who have a lot of free time and are on the prowl for entertaining apps. Flurry reported App Store sales in December 2009 grew by 51 percent over November.

Holiday Sales Driven by Kids and Teens With iTunes Gift Cards

My intuition chocked up the spike in holiday app sales to new devices but an app developer advises that gift cards drive post-holiday demand.

So, there is all this App Store traffic during the holidays, what do the App Store marketing experts recommend to claim your share of the Christmas App Store pie?

Here are three tips from Brian Robbins, founder of Riptide Games and chair of the board at IGDA:

  • Christmas is a head spinner. We’ve seen apps outside of the top lists get three times the traffic on Christmas Day and then slowly decline for the next two weeks. Last year we heard some of the top 10 apps saw 50 times the traffic on Christmas Day.
  • Watch out for the big guys like EA. They know the market and know how to capitalize on holidays, making it very difficult to compete against them. You cannot outspend them. It may be better to spend prior to Dec. 23 or after Dec. 27. Flurry reported that big advertisers bought out several publishers’ inventory for several periods during last year’s holiday season.
  • Don’t try to overanalyze the holiday timing. Everything in the App Store gets a boost around the holidays, and with Christmas in particular the effect lingers well beyond Christmas Day.

Promoting Four Days Prior to the Holiday Increases Visibility and Demand

Since there is a sales peak during the weekend (logically key holiday), strategically running a promotion for four consecutive days prior to the weekend (holiday) takes advantage of the App Store algorithm. “‘The formula for App rankings only accounts for your last four days of sales.’ The formula is 8 times the sales of the current day + 5 times the sales on the 2 proceeding days + 2 times the sales on initial date,” states faberNovel’s Baptiste Benezet.

Image Source:

Beware of App Store Holiday Lockdown

Getting in the top rankings of the App Store will pay off even more this year as Apple announced that it will freeze the Top App listings during the Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas lockdown, so beware of the lockdown timing and work it into your promotional strategy.

Holidays Are a Good Time to Launch Entertaining Apps

Michel Kripalani, president of Oceanhouse Media, (whom I interviewed at iPhone/iPad DevCon) won the rights to publish Dr. Seuss stories on cell phones. He launched three Grinch apps just before the holiday season last year. Each of the Grinch apps was featured individually in the App Store for a week or so during the holidays. Grinchmas! made it to number eight overall in the rankings. As daily sales rolled in, Michel said that’s when he knew he had a real business on his hands. Michel advises that quality is still the key to a sustainable app business as well as developing multiple apps.

If you have an app, plan on promoting it aggressively during the holiday season. If you are building an app in the near-term, do everything you can to launch and begin promoting it before the holiday season begins so you can take advantage of frenzied app sales.

Have an Appy Holiday (couldn’t resist)! If you have any additional tips for driving app traffic through the holidays, please comment.

Related reading

Overhead view of a row of four business people interviewing a young male applicant.