Get Ready for a Sleighload of Mobile App Installs

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The 2013 holiday app season officially kicks off on Halloween, and the picture is looking mighty merry for mobile app developers. In case you missed it, Apple’s App Store recorded 2 billion downloads in December 2012, much of that during “holiday week.” Numbers continued to climb into January 2013 across platforms.

Smartphones and tablets are once again anticipated to top wish lists. If last year’s download rates are any indication, once unwrapped, users won’t waste any time loading up their shiny new devices with games, utilities and more. Other users are sure to find app store gift cards in their stockings.

So, what can we learn from last year? A few key takeaways:

Have a 90-day outlook

Your most recent app rankings and user reviews matter most. What users think and say about your app in October and November can heavily influences its performance through the December–January peak download period.

As always, focus on creating an amazing user experience so you earn those 5-star ratings and great reviews. Also aim to get your apps in the app stores sooner rather than later.

Build a stable of holiday-themed apps

Get users in the holiday spirit by creating seasonal versions of your apps and in-app purchases. Elves, reindeer, Santa hats, candy canes, ornaments, penguins, winter themes and badges—you name it. Releasing timely apps also shows users you care about what’s going on in the marketplace, and requires very little code change. A win-win.

Don’t stop at one app. Cross-promotion is only possible with multiples.

Infuse promo trailers with holiday cheer

Have some fun and give users something worth sharing over social networks. A great video has the power to generate huge buzz.

Switch to seasonal SEO

Check out the hottest keywords from last year’s holiday season and look out for keywords trending today. Include relevant terms in your app store descriptions and keywords to attract users through search.

Cushion submission times

The iTunes App Store team typically gets Christmas week off, so don’t wait until the last minute to submit your app. A lot of developers will be submitting to app stores and a one or two week turnaround isn’t guaranteed. This also means it’s the most wonderful time of the year for QA and testing. Getting everything right the first time is essential for approvals and you may not have the luxury of resubmitting and still hitting your desired launch date.

Enlist your own elves

Everyone can use a little help this time of year, and partner and affiliate programs are a great way to monetize during the holidays. eMarketer predicts mobile will account for 16% of total U.S. retail ecommerce sales, with an expected $14.68 billion in total mcommerce sales this year. Most of the spend is expected on tablets. If your app focuses on music, TV, books or other media, don’t miss out.

Do you have any tips for boosting holiday downloads? Share them in the comments to give other developers a hand this holiday season.

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Yuan Weigel

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