In a season marked by high installs per mille (IPMs), the holidays are an optimal time for user acquisition (UA). During this time, there’s a strong uptick in mobile user activity due to longer breaks from work and school, a spike in online shopping activity, and a rise in consumer spending, presenting a prime opportunity for in-app purchases (IAPs) and subscriptions. 

To optimize your UA strategy, doubling down on key channels, making data-driven decisions, creating content that drives conversions, and promoting high-performing creatives are key. Follow these tips to maximize your scale and improve your return on advertising spend (ROAS).

Optimize your UA strategy

As you think about how to optimize your UA strategy during the holidays, consider these five techniques:

1. Expand your reach: Acquiring the right users for your app during the holiday season means casting a wide net in markets with a higher number of high-quality users who are actively engaged. To make the most of the holiday season’s uplift in mobile engagement, increase your advertising reach to include all of the top geos, such as the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and France, to name just a few.

2. Lower your goals and raise your bids: With access to greater volumes of high-value users during this time of year, you can lower your goals and increase your bids by ~15%. Doing so allows you to maximize scale and ROAS while bringing in users that are likely to  retain well beyond the holidays.

3. Use automated UA optimizers: Utilizing advanced machine learning can also help you acquire high-quality users at an optimal price. With the ROAS optimizer, you can maximize your in-app or ad revenue for D1 or D7.

Additionally, the tCPA optimizer, which is currently in closed beta, will allow you to identify and acquire users more likely to complete specific in-app actions that are important to you. With so much going on during the holiday season both professionally and personally, automating your UA can free up time for where you’re needed most—like that holiday party that you still need to organize.

4. Test offerwall campaigns: A good way to test the impact of offerwall during the holiday season is with campaigns that incorporate holiday messaging, include a sense of urgency, and offer users opportunities to make special purchases at the height of the shopping season. For more pointers on how to maximize growth over the holidays with offerwall currency sales, check out this blog.

5. Run cross-promotion campaigns: Utilizing a cross promotional tool during the holidays can ensure that you not only retain the high-value users you’ve acquired, but also maximize the revenue they generate across your portfolio. Capture the influx of high-quality holiday users where they are most active by advertising your app in other apps within your portfolio. Doing so, you can keep these high-intent users within your reach.

Refine your creatives 

In addition to optimizing your UA strategy, make the most of the season by ensuring your creatives are holiday ready. Mastering your creative strategy can help grab the attention of users, positively impacting IPM and eCPM, and allowing you to buy high-quality users at a lower price. Here’s how.

6. Refresh your creatives: As you refine your creatives, tap into holiday nostalgia to inspire compelling content and high-IPM creatives with some of these ideas:

  • Use footage of real people who show pure emotion
  • Test holiday images and seasonal concepts like snowflakes, gifts, and hot chocolate
  • Give your pointer and buttons a holiday theme, like Santa
    Holiday image Holiday phone Holiday creative

7. Rotate your content: Amplify your best-performing holiday-themed creatives by switching up different variations of videos and end cards at least once a week. Fresh, timely, and diverse content can give you the competitive edge needed to attract new users.

8. Update your custom store pages: Optimizing your app store landing page to match your holiday-themed creatives will lead to a consistent ad flow, which will likely improve your conversion rate and boost your IPM. Try this technique out with custom product pages in iOS and custom store listings in Android.

Pocket Gems, a game developer with hits like War Dragons, offers a prime example of how updating your custom store pages can boost your UA. When launching their new game, Episodes, Pocket Gems connected versions of their app store landing page to specific creatives they were running on the ironSource network. As a result, they boosted their conversion rate by 8% and increased their IPM by 16%. Read more about their strategy here.

Now imagine this same scenario but this time with a compelling winter holiday theme.

9. Use long videos: The right length of videos that highlight more of your gameplay can attract high-quality users who are more likely to stay in your game. Recently, 60-second video ads have been performing well for this very reason. After all, only a grinch could resist a full minute of holiday-themed interactive content.

The holiday season is a great time for advertisers to grow their app, leveraging the abundance of high-quality, engaged users who have embraced an online spending mindset. 

To ensure your app is ready to scale in the new year, it is essential to take action now by refining your UA strategy and capitalizing on holiday-driven IPMs. Running on ad networks, such as ironSource Ads or Unity Ads, can serve as valuable tools for maximizing your UA strategy over the holidays. 

Manage your campaigns

Let's put these tips to good use

Grow your app business with ironSource