Why “New Device Days” Can Be a Holiday Gift for App Developers

Written by
Matt Gillis, EVP, Global Monetization Solutions

As I shared in my last blog post, we expect the iPad Mini to top the list as this year’s “must have” gift. While it’s definitely THE gift to receive, it’s not the ONLY mobile device that will be unwrapped this holiday season.

Just think about the amount of advertising you’ve seen by mobile carriers and device manufacturers since Thanksgiving. Fact is, millions of new devices will be activated this month. We expect a large number of these activations to happen on December 25th and 26th - days that we often refer to as “New Device Days.” It’s when consumers receive new smartphones, tablets and other connected devices as holiday gifts, and remain highly engaged with them (even more so than usual) as they actively research and download must-have content.

According to ComScore, on an average day during last year’s holiday season, Digital Content & Subscriptions (a retail category that includes digital downloads of music, TV, movies, e-books and apps), accounted for 2.8 percent of retail e-commerce sales. On Christmas Day, the category accounted for more than 20 percent of sales.

That’s definitely something for developers to consider from a marketing and promotions perspective. With consumers glued to new devices, why not use this opportunity to drive more installs and build a bigger base of users heading into 2013?

The tactics you consider should ultimately be based on your business goals, but here are just a few ways you might want to take advantage of “New Device Days”:

  1. Boost exposure in the app stores by experimenting with promotional pricing for your paid apps. Keep an eye on similar apps in the same category and be competitive. Don’t forget to plan ahead to avoid any app store shutdowns and freezes that typically happen during this time.
  2. Promote your apps (free or paid) and any specials you may be running in the app store during this time with a mobile advertising campaign. Display advertising can help cut through the app store clutter and drive discovery. It also gives you the ability to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns by tracking your cost per install.
  3. Use a free house ads tool to cross-promote the titles in your portfolio across your own inventory. This tactic is especially effective if you already have an audience and are looking to drive downloads of newer titles. Plus, there’s no cost involved.

However you decide to capitalize on “New Device Days”, my advice is to test and iterate. You have to try a good mix of tactics to see what works. If something works, spend more or focus more effort there. If it doesn’t, move on.