The month of Ramadan has always had a profound impact in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.
Thanks also to strong economic growth and higher smartphone penetration, this festivity represents a big opportunity for mobile marketers when planning and running their mobile campaigns.
In fact, during this holy month, we see significant mobile marketing growth for some Indonesian industries, both in terms of installs and revenue, due to the specific behavior mobile users adopt for this festivity.
This article will provide readers with unique mobile app marketing insights before, during, and after the Ramadan period in Indonesia. Trends affecting mobile app markets will be showcased across verticals, particularly install and revenue growth compared to the same period in 2018, as well as retention rates for 2019.
Only Entertainment, Finance, and Hardcore Gaming experience significant growth in the weeks leading to Ramadan
Since Ramadan is the most popular festivity in Indonesia, mobile marketers should consider allocating more of their ad spending even before it starts.
In the four weeks preceding Ramadan in 2019, we saw that Entertainment apps led the pack with 100% year over year uplift in the number of installs compared to 2018, followed by Finance and Hardcore Gaming, with 60% and 50% uplift, respectively. This indicates that there is a high chance users will install apps in these verticals before the holiday, so UA campaigns should start before this time frame and run throughout its duration.
Surprisingly, in the same period, a declining trend for install volume, compared to the previous year, is observed for other verticals, primarily Shopping and Social.
The biggest drop came from Social with a 65% decrease, followed closely by Shopping with a 53% decrease.
Key takeaway 1:
With the exception of Entertainment and Finance, non-gaming verticals do not see big growth in app installs in the 4 weeks preceding Ramadan.
Similarly, between one week preceding and 2 weeks following Ramadan, Shopping and Social apps generated a lower install volume compared to 2018, with Shopping’s 54% decline being the largest among all verticals analyzed. On the other hand, both Casual and Hardcore Gaming apps show significant uplift, with a 19% and 16% rise, respectively.
Key takeaway 2:
With the exception of Entertainment and some of the Gaming verticals, user acquisition efforts have not shown meaningful impacts during Ramadan 2019, at least year over year.
Most industries see downward revenue trends during Ramadan, with the exception of Travel
Between one week preceding and 2 weeks following Ramadan, the Travel category app is clearly the winner in terms of revenue, with growth almost doubling from the previous year.
At the same time, the remaining verticals experienced steadily declining rates, especially Finance which suffered a 64% drop.
Additionally, looking at a weekly breakdown, the Travel vertical is the only one with consistent positive growth, especially into Week 4, while the Finance and Social categories continue to be most negatively impacted during Ramadan season.
This could be either due to the intrinsic festive nature of the period, where people tend to spend less for certain goods, or because of app market saturation in certain industries.
Within the Gaming segment, almost all categories show a negative growth except for Hardcore, which sees distinct positive growth during the week before Ramadan week and the second post-holiday only. Casual Gaming is the one suffering the most, with negative growth for 7 consecutive weeks.
Mobile marketers across most verticals should carefully consider the context of their marketing investments on as granular as a weekly basis so as not to misallocate resources and efforts.
Verticals with the highest retention rates are the ones that measure and engage with users on a weekly basis
Retention rates for installs happening during Ramadan generally do not vary greatly across industry, but some perform better also thanks to higher focus on engagement and retargeting.
The organic install retention rate for Shopping, Social, and Travel on Day 30 is higher compared to other verticals, such as Entertainment and Finance.
Additionally, Shopping and Travel are also registering the highest non-organic retention rates, while Finance is the one that sees the lowest retention rate and highest loss when comparing Day 30 results between Organic and non-Organic, despite overall low retention rates.
These trends might be caused by variations in app availability in the market in each industry, but might also signal those verticals which are more capable of successfully launching and measuring retargeting campaigns.
Overall, the big retention winners during the Ramadan period are those verticals that are able to acquire, engage, and retarget users based on their weekly behavior and apparent needs.
Some industries, such as Finance, have shown Ramadan is not positively impacting their business following their marketing efforts. However, whether this depends on the period itself or on marketers’ ability to leverage on untapped opportunities, should be a matter of further analysis.
Ramadan has always been an important period for mobile marketers in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia.
To gain momentum during this time, marketers need to be able to adapt to every phase of Ramadan’s month and to deliver the right messaging to attract the right audience. This not only means translating words into local languages, but also first analyzing user data by geographical area and later segmenting based on these analyses.
Successful marketers will observe how each segment behaves within the app and at which particular point throughout the Ramadan period, e.g. someone living in Jakarta is more likely to book a trip back to his/her family in the two weeks preceding Eid rather than for Eid week itself.
One of the main takeaways from this research is that market saturation and/or the intrinsic festive nature of this period, with users rejoining their families and using (or not using) certain apps during these weeks, might impact the acquisition, engagement, and retention of your users.
That makes it especially important for marketers to understand the market trends ahead of time and to both enact and test marketing campaigns on a weekly basis from at least a month before Ramadan to two weeks after it. In so doing, not only would marketing budgets be invested more efficiently, but untapped opportunities might be discovered and leveraged as well.