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Holiday songs on the radio haven’t started yet, but the marketing campaigns have

Brrrr….it’s getting cold in San Francisco, so you know what that means…summer is in mid-swing and mobile holiday campaign planning is well underway. Each year, we survey hundreds of mobile app owners and digital marketers about their holiday campaign plans. The results of the survey provide us with data on the trends that will dominate this coming season, but also what ineffective mobile strategies will vanish just like Santa’s cookies.  

The mobile industry changes rapidly, and with that comes an ever-evolving holiday campaign strategies. With new factors in the industry like GDPR, data security and increasing popularity with new advertising techniques like programmatic, it is best to understand how all of this will factor into holiday planning.

Marketers are beginning earlier than ever to start their holiday campaign planning and we have the data to back it up. 30% of respondents have already started their campaign planning for this year, which is up almost 10% more than at the same time last year. Companies understand how important the holiday season is for their bottom line, which is why preparation cannot be delayed. Over the 2017 holiday season, we saw a considerable jump with site visits on mobile vs web, plus verticals like “Apparel” saw almost a 2x increase in traffic on mobile. You can bet that this trend of shopping on mobile will only continue to increase dramatically every holiday season.

Additionally, consumers are fine with the holiday themes coming earlier. Our survey results saw a large uplift in respondents wanting the holiday themes to be earlier while observing a drop in consumers who want the holiday themes to only come between Thanksgiving and Christmas. More people are getting into the holiday mood earlier each year.


This is the best time of the year to engage with your user base and demonstrate the value your app provides. Even if you acquire users who only use the app for the holiday season and then delete it, these users over time will be important. Regularly re-acquiring experienced users can be a good indication that your app is extending its reach. After all, users tend to re-download the apps they find most useful. They might try an alternative, but reverting to the original app means they found more value in your offering.



Below are some of 2018’s mobile marketing trends that we will see in the holiday season. If you would like to chat with an expert about your holiday promotion plans, request contact here.  

Programmatic video:  One of the most popular method of advertising for brands this holiday season will be through programmatic brand video. Programmatic techniques allow for brands to find their audience wherever they may be viewing content. More relevant ads to the user will produce better results for the advertiser.

Location-based targeting:  We are seeing brands incorporating location into mobile marketing strategies to drive users to the nearby brick and mortar stores. The use of beacons and geofencing is becoming increasingly popular, so look for brands to take advantage of these emerging technologies. Don’t be surprised when you get a push notification or ad of your favorite brand when shopping at physical stores.   

Personalization:  The holiday season is a great time to bring users back to your app through re-engagement. One of the best demonstrations of personalization is through techniques used in re-engagement campaigns. The most effective means to re-engage your existing users is through dynamic ads based on their past behavior. Presenting your audience with items they have abandoned in their virtual shopping cart within the ad creates a personalized experience that is more likely to catch the users eye and convert with fewer barriers when they are deeplinked directly to the item.  

Rewarded video: More brands are buying into the effectiveness of running awareness campaigns with rewarded video. These super popular ad units are able to produce a high percentage of completed views due to the value exchange between the user and the publisher/developer.

Interactive ads – Interactive ads serve as a great way for brands to engage with their clients through the creative being served. Typically this is by a basic game like match 3, catch all the items in a cart, etc.  These ads can easily be tailored towards holiday themes and shopping.

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