Halloween may not compare to the commercial juggernauts of Christmas and Black Friday, but this spooky season is still an unmissable marketing opportunity in the calendar year. Whether your aim is to drive installs, increase brand awareness or increase sales, there are many ways Halloween can help you achieve your targets. Social distancing measures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic also means this year’s Halloween will likely be an online-only event – or at least online-first – for many people. In this article, we’ll share app marketing best practices that you can use to your advantage for the upcoming holiday.
Best practices for Halloween app marketing
1. Holiday giveaways and discounts
This is a simple and effective approach to leverage seasonality. Just like any other holiday in the calendar, Halloween is a great excuse to offer giveaways and discounts to your users. One way marketers can engage customers in the spirit of Halloween is to present a ‘trick of treat’ campaign, where a user’s giveaway is dependent on whether they choose a trick or treat. For example, your ‘trick’ may be free shipping and a 10% discount code while a ‘treat’ could be a $5 voucher. Both options are “treats” for the customer, but introducing a gameplay aspect makes your campaign more interactive and engaging.
If your primary aim is to drive installs, now is a good time to make your offers exclusively available in-app. This will encourage users to download your app to retrieve their discount or giveaway, creating a win-win scenario for you and your users. Make sure to advertise this in your email campaigns, across your social media channels and on your website for maximum reach.
2. Adapt your ad creatives for Halloween
Another way you can leverage the upcoming holiday is by adapting your ads. This includes your choice of color palette, image, video, copy and font – all of which can be more engaging thanks to seasonality. For example, if you have a cooking app you can target your audience with innovative recipes with a Halloween twist.
You can also make use of apps with augmented reality technology to share Halloween-themed lenses. This is a highly engaging way to raise brand awareness because of its interactive element. To learn more about mobile marketing with augmented reality, read our guide here.
3. Halloween-themed push notifications
Push notifications that alert your users of a Halloween sale is a great way to ensure your existing customers are made aware of your limited-time offers - and it’s been shown that push notifications can drive growth and increase engagement by up to 88 percent. For your push notifications to work, users will need to have your mobile app installed and have notifications enabled. The good news is that one study showed around 42 percent of mobile users keep push notifications enabled on their device.
When sending push notifications to your users, personalize messages for optimal results. Depending on your brand image, you can also include Halloween-themed emojis and creative. Push notifications can also be location-based, using a user’s geolocation to trigger push notifications and drive sales - is useful for app marketers with physical stores. To learn more about how to develop a push notification strategy, read our guide.
4. Influencer marketing
Working with influencers is another key way to attract users, and is widely used by many brands: 86% of marketers have used influencer marketing in the last year and 17% of companies plan to increase their budget allocation for social media influencers. How you work with influencers will depend on the nature of your app, but common methods include:
Free products: You can gift an influencer your products in return for exposure on their channels. Simply sending products to an influencer doesn’t give you full control over what they post, but it can still be a cost-effective way to reach your target audience. If you do not have an ecommerce app, you could instead gift an influencer access to your premium in-app services or in-app currency for mobile games.
Product placement: Influencers are often paid to share products across their social media channels. You can also use this method in conjunction with your Halloween discounts and giveaways - gifting an influencer a selection of your products with an agreement that they share a post telling their fanbase about your Halloween sale.
Collaborative content: You can also work with influencers on your own marketing channels - whether that’s a social media takeover, guest posts on your official blog or even lookbooks for fashion apps. This can work in conjunction with other marketing methods for Halloween, too. For example, if you’re making in-app changes to your mobile game, you can also invite an influencer to share their gaming tips for the update on your blog.
5. Update your social media accounts
This is a cost effective way to engage your audience across your social media channels without eating into your ad spend, where you can simply change your name, bio, profile image and cover image to match the Halloween theme.
You can also encourage and share Halloween-themed user-generated content (USG) throughout October. This free content can build a more active community and increase your social media engagements while showing your appreciation for users. For example, the official Angry Birds Twitter account has liked and retweeted USG with the hashtag #AngryBirdsHalloween. This includes fan art and Angry Birds-themed Halloween costumes.
6. App Store Optimization (ASO)
While updating your social media accounts works as an exercise in branding, adding a Halloween theme to your ASO efforts can lead to an increased number of downloads and drive overall growth. Changes to your App Store entry may include a unique icon, changes to your app description, new screenshots and videos. This is particularly effective when the changes display the Halloween-themed changes made to your app, such as a new gaming level or Halloween recipes.
According to a study by Storemaven, high engagement from Halloween-themed creatives can quickly decrease if your Product Page creatives aren’t consistent with this theme. The study showed that “although visitors are spending more time exploring your Product Page, they eventually drop once they see the contradiction and realize there’s no app or game update.” So if you are going to adapt your ASO for Halloween, ensure that you are applying these changes consistently.
Localization also needs to be considered when changing your App Store entry. Keep in mind that not all cultures celebrate Halloween and changes may be detrimental to your end goal. Instead, identify the regions that will benefit from this ASO practice and focus on changing your entry for those areas.
7. Implement limited-time in-app purchases
If you are marketing a mobile game, including special in-app purchase options is a smart way to celebrate Halloween with your users. Not only will this increase revenue, it’s also highly engaging for users looking for new ways to enjoy your game. If you offer a subscription service for your mobile game, you can also give away special items to users who are subscribed (and new subscribers) on Halloween. If these offers are limited to a single day but can be stored, it can also incentivize users to keep your app installed further down the line.
8. Promote your Halloween deals with email marketing
Use your newsletters and other mailing lists to share Halloween deals with your users. This is a powerful marketing tool when used in conjunction with methods such as giveaways, discounts and limited-time in-app purchase items. For example, if you implement Halloween-themed in-app purchases, you can contact users who have opted-in to receive deals via email and gift them a set amount - rewarding your most valuable users.
You can also use email marketing to share Halloween content on your website, guest posts on your blog, and engaging social media content to drive traffic to your channels.
9. Promote Halloween hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to expand your audience. You can start your own Halloween hashtags on social media and encourage your active community to use them. With the right approach, the virality of hashtags can be a great asset to your brand. For example, the official Fortnite Instagram page has been sharing posts with the hashtag #Fortnitemares to promote the game’s annual event that offers special skins, prizes and maps.
10. Post your Halloween updates on your blog
Your blog is another channel you can use to increase exposure and let potential users know what to expect from your brand for Halloween. Blog entries can be shared across all of your social media channels, making them a valuable yet cost effective resource. In addition to this, your Halloween-focused blog entry can be optimized to rank high for key search terms. For example, take a look at this update from the Pokemon Go app’s official blog, sharing the key features to expect in celebration of Halloween 2020. The update also includes the time and date of special events and how to get in touch with customer services for further information.
11. Develop a branded Halloween mobile app
If you have the resources available, creating a seasonal app can be an effective way to increase brand loyalty and exclusive offers. For example, Burger King launched two limited edition burgers for Halloween: the Red Whopper and Black Whopper. The food chain worked with GameWheel to develop a jump’n’run mobile game in conjunction with the release.
This mobile game prominently features Burger King’s limited edition burgers. As GameWheel explains on the software company’s official website, “The colors of the 2 new Whoppers became the 2 levels of our 3 level game. In order to play the game, users had to install the app first. The Green “Entry Level” (Level 1) was free for all app installers but for the next Red and Black Levels, players had to scan unique QR codes that came on top of the packaging of Halloween Special Red Level and Black Level Whoppers.”
If you found this article useful, you may also be interested in learning why a subscription service may be right for your mobile game. We also have resources detailing how to create engaging ads for Instagram, Facebook and Reddit.