How to Conquer 5 Mobile Holiday Season Pitfalls | AppsFlyer
4 Min. Read

How to Conquer These 5 Mobile Holiday Season Pitfalls

Matej Lančarič (Guest Author) Oct 02, 2018

In general, time spent on social media starts increasing in early October and reaches its peak around New Year’s Eve. Q4 is upon us and marketers are challenged to deliver a strong close to fuel the 2018 momentum engine.

Facebook’s ad revenue during the Q4 of 2017 jumped 48% for a total of $12.8 billion while mobile ad revenue increased by 57% to $11.4 billion, the company revealed in a conference call with analysts to discuss the latest earnings report. The average price per ad climbed 43% during the same period while the number of ad impressions served increased just 4%. These results were driven primarily by feed ads on Facebook and Instagram.

In my opinion, Facebook is the most consistent and predictable social platform to advertise on. We can expect similar behaviour this year as well.  

Social advertising in Q4 is expensive. Higher intent to purchase among holiday shoppers means that CPMs and CPCs skyrocket because advertisers are all vying for those valuable consumer impressions. In social advertising, you will feel these effects even if you’re not a holiday-based business, because good consumers will fall into audience targeting pools for all types of products and services.

In this article, I will share 5 pitfalls you should watch out for in the upcoming holiday season.


1) Reengagement? Pfff, we don’t need that

Your early planning will pay off now, and you are in great shape for targeting your customer base. If you haven’t done so already, identify key audience segments and the best way to connect with them cross-channel. You may need to set up separate campaigns for high lifetime value customers who are familiar with your brand, and potential customers who have shown interest in your products or services.

Segmenting your audience will allow you to better tailor ads, emails or creative; which in turn creates an incentive for a person to engage with your brand or game. Learn from data and get to know your audience. The more you know, the easier it is to tailor campaigns for your audience. Not only will you be able to acquire new users, but also re-engage lapsed players because of the various events, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, that are happening in Q4. As CPM, CPI and CPC rise, this is actually the best time to look at your re-engagement strategy. If you can’t do it by yourself on Facebook, there are companies who can help! Take a look at some of them below in the retargeting power ranking included as part of the 2018 AppsFlyer Performance Index.

Retargeting Index

Source: The 2018 AppsFlyer Performance Index, Edition VII


The North American and European winter holiday seasons occur across a period of about three months, meaning marketers need to find a balance between re-engagement and user acquisition. For this reason, start reaching your audience in late October with Halloween events and special offers. This game plan offers plenty of lead time before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while December is still reserved for Christmas sales and events. 

Fun fact: Women start their holiday shopping earlier. Keep that in mind while thinking about special offers in your app or game! 


2) Not Focusing on LTV 

The lifetime value of users is one of the most important success metrics for measuring your app’s performance and profitability. LTV is the measure of the revenue a customer will bring during their lifetime of using the app. Knowing the LTV of your users is critical in determining where and how much to invest in acquiring the users, and in improving the app. 

A lack of knowledge of your LTV can have direct impact on the profit. If you do not see increased intent or LTV from customers acquired in Q4, then it does not make sense to pay premium prices during the holidays.


3) Focusing on Holiday App Store Optimization

Have you heard the holiday season rules of ASO? Every time Q4 starts, developers tend to change their App Store profile to Halloween or Christmas visuals. But is this something that actually works? In my experience, this can potentially result in low engagement and uninstalls. Invest time in understanding what works for you during the holiday season on each platform and customize your app to each platform accordingly. Do not follow “the holiday rules” blindly, simply trust your data! 

mobile holiday season


4) Holiday Creatives FTW!

There’s nothing worse than an ad getting old. An ad that starts off as something unfamiliar and interesting can quickly become well-known… and then irritating.

Overestimate your creative ammunition needs. If you think you need three versions of your ad, plan for five or six. Play it safe. Also prepare holiday creatives in advance and test them properly against your evergreen concepts.

Not only will you have the ads ready at hand to switch out at a moment’s notice, but you’ll also have backup ad creatives in the event a particular version isn’t performing well.


5) Ignoring Q1 2019

If Q4 is your biggest quarter, you’ll need to put all your resources, creativity, and analytical prowess on your social advertising efforts. Most importantly, know when it does not make sense for your brand to compete in Q4. Instead, spend the time planning for Q1 and out-strategizing competitors.


PLAN FOR 2019! 

While you and your team might be focusing on finishing the year on a high, don’t neglect planning for 2019 – especially Q1 and Q2. Your marketing resources and money need to be headed in the right direction to start the year off on the right foot. We saw huge uplift in ROAS right after Christmas last year. Be prepared and take advantage of this early!

Do you have any other tips or pitfalls of Q4 to share with us? Please share!