How to Keep Your Mobile Ads Fresh and Festive for the Holidays

Mobile video holiday ads

The following is an exclusive guest post by Dillon Becker, a video producer who previously worked at Storm8 and MZ (Machine Zone).

The Christmas season is the most important time of the year for advertisers in any industry, with consumers expected to spend almost $700 billion this holiday. For advertisers with apps in particular, customers spent $3 billion on App Store purchases throughout December 2016 alone. As expected, advertising competition is at an all-time high during this time of the year, and it starts now.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important to spend time preparing your creatives. If you don’t have the resources to produce all-new ads, augmenting your existing, high-performing ads with holiday imagery can also be effective and save time.

Ensure that your mobile marketing team has the high ground this holiday season with these dos and don’ts for holiday-themed creatives.

Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi my holiday creatives have the high ground

The dos and don’ts for holiday-themed mobile ads

Do lean into the holiday spirit

Whether you create new creatives or repurpose existing ones, it’s important to use seasonal imagery that evokes thoughts of winter and Christmas. Imagery such as:

  • Falling snow
  • Red and green colors (Gold for New Year’s)
  • Christmas lights
  • Santa hats
  • Candy canes
  • Presents
  • Wreaths
  • Mistletoe
  • Ornaments

Here is an example of supplementing a Gardenscapes ad with holiday imagery.

Playrix Gardenscapes holiday-themed video ad creative

Don’t mislead viewers

In my 2017 GDC presentation, I shared my findings on leveraging the 2016 Summer Olympics to produce topically relevant mobile video ads. After supplementing an existing Bingo game ad with Olympics-themed assets, click-through rate (CTR) increased by 31%. However, conversion rates (CVR) for the Olympics-themed creatives stayed flat. The reason for this was that the Bingo game was not Olympics-themed and its App Store landing page was lacking any Olympics content. The same problem applies to holiday-themed ads.

Dillon Becker Game Developers Conference GDC 2017 Olympics-themed ad creatives

Do coordinate your app’s screenshots, icon, and app preview with its ads

To help avoid a low CVR, use similar imagery and design choices in both your ads and landing page material. A potential customer arriving at your landing page after watching a holiday video ad is anticipating holiday screenshots. Mismatched content will make your app or game seem deceptive.

Don’t neglect branding

Some advertisers go too far with their holiday theming and inadvertently hurt their company’s branding in the process. The product should come first and the holiday theme second, otherwise you risk muddying your company’s brand and/or confusing viewers. Playtika’s holiday ad from 2016 for social casino game Slotomania embraces the seasonal themes without losing key brand elements.

Playtika Slotomania Christmas holiday-themed mobile video ad creative

Do prepare for January

Most people move on from the holiday season after New Year’s Eve—except those weirdos who don’t take down their Christmas decorations until spring. So then you should treat ad campaigns like your home, removing holiday ad creatives that look outdated and irrelevant the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1. In fact, you’ll want to have new ads ready to go come New Year’s Day. If you’re already creating Christmas-themed ads, then why not throw in New Year’s-themed ads (hint: replace those snowflakes with fireworks)?

Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity

With the increased competition, it can be useful to plan a large batch of creatives heading into the holiday season. However, it’s even more important to craft static and video ad creatives that people can’t take their eyes off of, especially when you consider that your competitors will also be releasing holiday-themed ads. This is a great example of an ad creative with holiday spirit.

Starbucks holiday-themed mobile display ad creative

One final “do”: Do set your New Year’s resolution today to prepare your marketing campaigns with these tips on holiday-themed ad creatives.

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