How to Optimize your ASO for Black Friday & Cyber Monday
App Market Insights Advanced ASO
November is a big month for the retail sector with major marketing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. Traditionally following the US Thanksgiving, this year they will take place on November 29th and December 2nd respectively, officially launching the Christmas Shopping season. With tons of promoted sales and deals online, Black Friday & Cyber Monday typically drive a huge number of downloads to Shopping apps on both the App and Play Store. Here’s what to expect in terms of boost in daily downloads and tips on how to prepare your app to fully leverage the potential of these events.
Downloads for Shopping apps are expected to increase by 20%
In the UK, the average daily downloads for shopping apps are expected to increase 13% on the App Store and 22% on the Play Store as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When we have a closer look into the yearly seasonality trend of Shopping apps in the US and the UK, we found that November was by far the best month for shopping apps when it comes to average daily downloads.
November is the top month in terms of average daily downloads for apps in the Shopping category (UK).
If we look closer into how this traffic is spread over the days of the year, it’s interesting to see that, all year round, most downloads occur during the weekend. However, August and the last two weeks of November are an exception, with downloads spread across the days of the week.
Yearly Density Map of Shopping Apps in the UK - Days with a higher average of daily downloads are shown in darker blue.
This can be explained by the fact that users tend to use shopping apps during their leisure time, which is why we see peaks during the weekend and during the whole month of August. The fact that users also start to download shopping apps during weekdays end of November is a direct consequence of Black Friday & Cyber Monday marketing campaigns.
Why optimizing your app for Black Friday & Cyber Monday is important: successful vs not so successful apps
To better understand how to successfully leverage the potential of Black Friday as a shopping app, we had a look at the most popular Shopping apps on November 23rd 2018 (last year’s Black Friday) in the US.
US most popular shopping apps on November 23rd 2018 (last year’s Black Friday)
We then had a closer look at these top apps to spot those with the best progression in terms of category ranking during November 2018. These are the apps that can serve as examples of good practices to prepare your app for Black Friday & Cyber Monday. On the App Store, Rakuten, RetailMeNot and Best Buy were those with the best ranking progression before Black Friday. On the Play Store, the apps Dosh and Rakuten most stood out.
US Shopping apps with the highest ranking progression before last year’s Black Friday.
Similarly, we found that some of the usual top apps were overtaken by newcomers around Black Friday. For instance, Wish and OfferUp saw a drop in their usual category rankings on both the App and Play Store.
Example of top US Shopping apps that lost in category ranking on Black Friday (Nov. 23rd 2018).
This suggests that all apps, even regular top performers, should be prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, otherwise other smaller players will get higher visibility at their expense.
How to prepare your app for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
So what is it that makes some apps more successful than others? In order to get the most out of this busy period, you definitely need to adapt your app’s metadata accordingly. We recommend adding relevant keywords to your app’s title, subtitle (iOS), keyword field (iOS) and short & long description (Android) so that your app starts ranking on those words. Keywords such as “black friday”, “cyber monday”, “discounts”, “deals”, etc. have seen increasing popularity in mobile search over the last week. Make sure to also update your creatives, highlighting your best bargain in your first screenshots to boost conversion.
Using our timeline feature, we had a closer look at the changes made by top-performing shopping apps around Black Friday & Cyber Monday to try and identify a couple of good practices.
RetailMeNot - Black Friday update
RetailMeNot totally refreshed its metadata on November 16th 2018 by adding the keyword “Black Friday” in all of its text fields: Subtitle, Promotional Text and Description.
- The app’s subtitle was changed from “Deals, Discounts & Cash Back” to “Black Friday Deals & Cash Back”.
- The app added a Black Friday promo text: “Save on everything this Black Friday up to 75% Off”.
- In its description, the sentence “Save money during Black Friday & Cyber Monday with cashback offers, discount gift cards and the best deals from your favorite stores — both for in-store and online shopping” was inserted.
The RetailMeNot metadata update a few weeks before Black Friday
In terms of impact on keywords, the update managed to get the app in rank in the top 10 results on the searches “black friday” (volume of 64) and “black friday deals” (volume of 38).
By adding the keyword “black friday” to its metadata, RetailMeNot managed to rank in top 10 results for related searches during last year’s Black Friday.
Rakuten - Cyber Monday update
Rakuten specifically updated its metadata just before Cyber Monday, updating its subtitle, promo text and description.
- The app added the keywords “Cyber Monday” and “Discounts” to its subtitle.
- It also changed the featured retailers in its promo text, putting forward retailers with special Cyber Monday deals such as Macy’s, Walmart and Lyft.
- The app’s description was also updated with regular references to Cyber Monday.
Last year Rakuten did a special app metadata update just before Cyber Monday.
These changes had a direct impact on the app’s keyword rankings. For example, it jumped from top 30 results on “discounts” (volume of 24) to top 10 right after implementing its update.
The impact of Rakuten’s update on the word “discounts”
What about this year?
Well, although it’s still too early to see what top apps have in mind to launch their Black Friday / Cyber Monday campaign, some have already got started. Rakuten has recently updated its screenshots, going from a blue to a black background and putting Black Friday deals in evidence in the first screenshot.
Rakuten has already updated its screenshots for Black Friday
Amazon Shopping has already launched its Holideals campaign and adapted its app listing.
As stated in TechRadar’s recent article on Black Friday, Walmart has already revealed its early access deals late October and Best Buy has launched a special Black Friday price matching plan. Neither of them have updated their apps (yet), although, as you can see below, the search frequency of “black friday” on the Apple App Store has been steadily increasing of the past weeks. It’s time to update your app!!
Search popularity history of “black friday” on the US Apple App Store over the last 30 days.
In short, November is a busy month for shopping apps mainly due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The average daily downloads for apps in the shopping category are expected to go up by 20%. Apps that don’t optimize their metadata accordingly to these events miss a huge opportunity. We recommend apps to add Black Friday and Cyber Monday related keywords to their metadata in order to boost their chances to rank on these words. Screenshots should also be updated, featuring best value deals in first positions so as to maximize conversion.