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Holidays present prime opportunity for app updates: Fiksu exec

Marketers also need to decide whether they want to pursue a volume-based strategy based on driving a high number of installs or a value strategy targeting specific groups of users. All of these decisions come against a backdrop of unprecedented costs for driving app installs.

“Updating your app during this critical time is a successful strategy that has been used by some of our clients,” said Kathy Pattison, vice president of marketing at Fiksu. “Don’t update just for the sake of updating, but if there are new features, this is a good time to do it.”

Ms. Pattison made her remarks at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2014, presented by Mobile Marketer.

Choose a strategy
Marketers seeking to drive a high number of installs this holiday season should be prepared for high costs, Ms. Pattison said. This past summer, the cost per acquisition for loyal app users rose to an all-time high of more than $2 per install, she said.

“That tells us we better bet pretty smart about the strategies we deploy going into this season,” Ms. Pattison said.

If as opposed to seeking a high volume of app installs marketers choose to pursue a “value” strategy, they should stick to their guns and not get distracted by the urge to move up in the app-store rankings. It can be very difficult to change strategy in the middle of an app-marketing effort.

Kathy Pattison of Fiksu said app marketers can choose a volume strategy or a value strategy, or a combination of the two, for the holidays.

However, marketers can blend the two types of strategies by planning careful bursts of marketing to drive high volumes of downloads during a more targeted value campaign, Ms. Pattison said.

“That is something we have seen many of our clients do,” she said.

Device upgrades
The massive amount of new devices that consumers activate during the holiday season can be a boon to app marketers, but it can also present challenges.

“There is a risk when someone upgrades their device,” Ms. Pattison said. “That’s a time when people make housecleaning decisions about what apps are going to go with them.”

She said marketers should consider running remarketing or retargeting campaigns to users before they upgrade their devices and jettison their little-used apps.

It is also becoming easier through various tools for marketers to reactivate users as they change devices, she said.

Ms. Pattison also projected that this year Apple would again forego its annual “freeze” on app rankings during the holidays. Last year Fiksu correctly predicted that Apple would abandon the freeze, she said.

Another thing for marketers to consider as the holidays approach is the potential value of getting into the holiday spirit by incorporating holiday-themed images into their app promotions.

“They have the possibility of getting more social shares, more press, and even the possibility of Apple featuring your app during that time frame,” Ms. Pattison said.

Kathy Pattison is vice president of marketing at Fiksu