Chartboost Holiday Survival Guide

Insights & Best Practices

December 11, 2013


min read

The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes a blizzard of festive marketing activity. You've spent the last few months perfecting your game but these tips will help you finish it off with a shiny bow. Be sure to scroll down for a present from Chartboost!

Apple App Store Freezes (and not because of the cold)

First, lets get down to brass tinsel. In mid-November, Apple sent out an email that iTunes Connect will be offline between Saturday, December 21 - December 27 . This means no app submissions or IAP changes can be made; additionally, scheduling price changes or launches will be down.Be sure to plan ahead to ensure you aren't making any risky updates during this period and that relevant marketing is up in advance. Unless of course, you're Google Play or Amazon only and you plan to spend the holidays gorging on KitKats, Jelly Beans, and Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Holiday Theme Updates

Holiday marketing doesn?t end with just a red Rudolph nose clad appstore icon, you can imbue your entire game experience with the holiday spirit. If there?s still enough time (see above), drop some appropriately themed backgrounds, purchasable holiday items, and other fun goodies for your players to discover.

Holiday Marketing

Now that you?ve spiced up your app with a heaping helping of sufganiyot, Douglas Firs, and kinaras, it is time to start marketing to your players. For fun examples on how to design custom interstitial ads, be sure to turn to our most recent Favorite Creatives post and don't forget to catch up about our new Creative System.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]

Example of Holiday Themed Frame[/caption]Not planning to advertise? No worries! The value of custom frame assets can?t be underscored enough. They?re essential for increasing ad engagement by creating ads that match the look and feel of your game. We?ve created two types of custom frame templates for you to download and modify to your liking for your game. Don't know how to add frames to your game? A guide to uploading them can be accessed on our Help Site: Creating Assets for Publishing. For your convenience we?ve included a PNG format that you can upload right away or PSD format that you can customize.Download our FREE Holiday Frames!

Increase in Active Players

With the holiday season in full force, a lot happens behind the scenes. The weather is colder so people are cozied up indoors, students return home and have free time, families travel to and fro, and mobile devices become the perfect stocking stuffer--the common denominator: all are on the lookout for new games.We looked at the activity of players before, during, and after the holiday window in 2012. For our purposes, this window was defined as 12/24 through 1/1. What did we see? Intensely engaged players. In general, we?ll see an 11% drop in daily bootups on weekdays and weekends, but during the holiday period, this was reduced to a 4.8% drop.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]

Installs Increase During Holidays[/caption]Post holiday, maximum daily bootup numbers (think: Saturday activity) was at the same level as during the holiday, but we saw the return of weekend spikes and weekday lows.This has two effects. Firstly, the increase in player activity cements reasoning for you to add that extra dash(er) of marketing to your holiday blitz(en). Secondly, the increase in daily players means an avalanche of new available inventory for marketing campaigns, bringing us to our second point:

eCPI Decrease During Holidays

Wait, what?! Holy Yule-logs, that can?t be right. While the total volume of installs derived from ads increased during the holidays, the spend did not increase as much proportionally. So on average, the network CPI decreased during this period.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]

Average CPI Decreases During Holidays?[/caption]While you don?t have to increase your bids during the holidays, doing so will help you reach a greater slice of the holiday fruit cake. If you do plan to bid aggressively, ensure that you are setting your daily budgets appropriately to take advantage of this increased period of engagement. For information on CPI's by platform and country, please visit our Insights Page.Also, bootup numbers remain at similar levels following the "holiday window" but overall spend is lower. There is an untapped opportunity to gain similar volumes of installs but at slight discounts after the holiday window has ended. What holidays might those be? Well?

Holidays Around the Snow Globe

There are some holidays that are celebrated worldwide such as, Christmas and New Year?s Eve, but let?s not forget there are some holidays that aren?t universally celebrated.If you notice specific traction in a specific country, developing content to show some local love never hurts. A quick web search can make bring some deep insights to the country of interest.For example:- Lunar New Year is celebrated around the end of January early February in Asian countries.- Valentines Day is February 14th in the United States, a large holiday filled with hearts and love.- Queen?s Day (or King?s Day) is April 30th in the Netherlands, a large holiday filled with nationwide celebrations with everyone wearing orange attire.These holidays are themed with culturally specific iconography, so don?t be afraid to celebrate holidays that you may not be intimately familiar with--just be sure to do your homework.That?s it from us. Happy Holidays, all!