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How to Optimize Your ASO for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Lucas Riedinger by ,  ASO Expert at AppTweak Advanced ASO

November is a big month for the retail sector with major marketing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. This year, they take place on November 26 and November 29 respectively and officially launch 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 Store and Google Play. Read this blog to understand how to prepare your app to fully leverage the potential of these events.


How to prepare your app for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday is one of the best days of the year for e-commerce and a key moment for customer acquisition. Here are best practices that apps should consider to get the most out of this busy period:

  • 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) to start ranking higher for these words. In the past years, keywords such as ‘Black Friday’, ‘discounts’, ‘deals’, and ‘coupons’ have typically seen popularity increase during November. However, remember to avoid adding keywords that promote deals or discounts to Play Store metadata since, as of September 2021, they will be flagged by Google!
  • To prepare for the additional influx of traffic and maximize your conversion rate, make sure to update your app creatives to promote similar messages as those in your ad campaigns.
  • Try using Apple’s in-app events and optimizing your event cards for Black Friday! In-app events are a great way to reach new users, engage current users, or reconnect with lapsed users. They might also help your app get featured on the App Store and gain an extra visibility boost.
  • Don’t forget to update your promo text (iOS). You can change your app’s promo text whenever you like (these changes don’t require an entire app update) and you’re able to promote whatever you like (promo text is not indexed). This can be a great way to increase engagement from customers by promoting special features, deals, etc.
  • Finally, your app must be ready to handle an increased number of users. Avoiding app malfunctions and bugs is key for customer satisfaction; you don’t want to lose any potential customers just before the Christmas period!

In the US, the hype for Black Friday has already begun; search volume started to increase at the beginning of September! In 2020, the search popularity for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ in the US reached a volume of 52 at its peak. With the search volume already at 48 on October 25, the importance of getting your ASO strategy ready on time for Black Friday is clear. As such, these peaks create a unique opportunity for apps to show they are responsive to their communities and to capture part of this search traffic by optimizing their metadata.

Search volume for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ on the App Store in the US and UK (2019-2021).

Why optimize your app for Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

To better understand how to successfully leverage the potential of Black Friday as a Shopping app, we had a look at the fastest-growing apps in November last year. These 2020 Black Friday winners represent best practices when preparing your app for Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

Understand the fastest-growing apps in the top charts on the App Store and Google Play

Fastest-growing Shopping apps on the US App Store & Google Play (November 2020).

Category rankings of the fastest-growing apps in the US Shopping category on the App Store & Google Play (November 2020).

Best Buy, Cute, and Rakuten emerged as the big winners of Black Friday 2020 on the App Store as they experienced the largest category growth throughout November. The success of these apps on Black Friday relied on a well-prepared and well-funded marketing strategy. However, Rakuten went the extra mile by updating its metadata on the app stores. As all advertising efforts eventually lead to the store, correctly optimizing your app page and matching it with your overall promotional campaign messages is crucial.

Rakuten’s metadata updates for Black Friday promotions on the US Google Play Store (2020).

For example, on Google Play, Rakuten updated its title on November 24 to ‘Rakuten: Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2020 deals’. The app’s short description and screenshots were also updated to align with advertising campaigns and highlight specific Black Friday offers. These seasonal adjustments led the Rakuten app to be ranked 29th for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ whereas its top competitors in the Shopping category were ranked outside the top 50.

Discover the impact of Black Friday on Shopping apps in 2020

Rakuten’s ranking history for the keywords ‘Black Friday’ (2020).

To really take advantage of the increased search volume for ‘Black Friday’, apps should be willing to experiment and add the keyword ‘Black Friday’ to their title. When looking at past search results for ‘Black Friday’, we see that lesser-known apps that aggregate ‘ads’ and ‘deals’ in their title rank at the top on both stores. These titles don’t resonate with a specific brand and instead focus solely on ‘Black Friday Ads’ or ‘Black Friday Deals’.

Expert Tip

Warning! As of September 2021, the Google metadata policy no longer allows apps to add keywords indicating ‘deals’, ‘ads’,… to app titles. You can still implement ‘Black Friday’ in your title, but make sure to avoid any prohibited words.

Learn more about the new Google metadata policy

Ranking history for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ in November 2020.

The branded app that ranked highest for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ on both stores is Flipp, managing to reach the 6th position on the Play Store and the 8th position on the App Store on November 26th. Flipp updated its short and long descriptions and screenshots to align its messaging and promote its Black Friday deals and offers within the store. Reminder: it is no longer allowed to have keywords indicating ‘deals’, ‘ads’,… in your app’s metadata on Google Play.

Flipp’s metadata updates for Black Friday promotions on the US Google Play Store (2020).

On the date Flipp made these changes (November 3), we also observed a spike in the app’s ranking for the keyword ‘Black Friday’ which underlines the power of optimizing your metadata on the app stores.

Flipp’s ranking history for the keywords ‘Black Friday’ (2020).

Discover the most and least competitive app categories on iOS

The Flipp app didn’t gain enough downloads to rank in the top 10 in the Shopping category but the increased visibility did help its rankings increase from the top 200s to #55 on November 27 (App Store).

Shopping Category rankings for Flipp (2020).


TLDR

In short, November is a busy month for Shopping apps mainly due to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Apps that don’t optimize their metadata according to these events miss a huge opportunity. To prepare for the Black Friday weekend, we recommend apps follow this advice:

  • Add keywords related to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to their metadata to boost their chances of ranking for these words.
  • Update screenshots to feature valuable deals in the first positions and maximize conversion.
  • Ensure their apps run at a high technical quality (no bugs or crashes).

Start researching the keywords that will help you gain more visibility during Black Friday.

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Lucas Riedinger

by ,  ASO Expert at AppTweak

Lucas is an ASO expert at AppTweak, helping to fuel growth for the world's most popular apps and games. He is passionate about rugby, basketball, and video games.