How to Optimize Your ASO for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Lucas Riedingerby
Product Manager at AppTweak

7 min read

November is a big month for the retail sector with major marketing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. With tons of promoted sales and deals online, Black Friday and 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 Google Play metadata since 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 begins early every year. The search volume for the keyword starts to increase at the beginning of September! As we see in the following graph, in 2019, the search popularity for the keyword “Black Friday” in the US started trending as early as September and reached a volume of 58 at its peak in November. A similar trend can also be noted this year in 2022, as consumers have started looking for Black Friday deals and offers since September. So 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 US App StoreSearch volume for the keyword “black friday” on the US App Store (2019-2022).

Why optimize your app for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Rakuten is a great example of how shopping apps can update their metadata to capture the search traffic related to Black Friday. In 2021, Rakuten updated its title to include the keywords “Black Friday deals.” The app also refreshed its screenshot on the same day promoting the Black Friday deals.

Rakuten metadata updates for Black Friday promotions on the US App Store 2021Rakuten’s metadata updates for Black Friday promotions on the US App Store (2021).

Rakuten ranking history for the keyword Black Friday Rakuten’s ranking history for the keyword “Black Friday” (2021).

Immediately after this update, Rakuten ranked number 10 on the keyword “Black Friday.” 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 rank at the top for the keyword “Black Friday.” To compete with these apps in the search results, brands need to show Apple that their app is relevant to this specific search term by adding it into the title.

Expert Tip

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.

Download estimates of Rakuten in the US App Store Rakuten’s download estimates increased significantly after carrying out ASO updates and a well-planned advertising campaign (US, App Store).

The download estimates for Rakuten climbed from 8,000 on 17 November 2021 and reached a peak of 33,000 on 26 November 2021, that is on Black Friday.

Rakuten’s performance stands out in comparison to other top shopping apps in the category. Thanks to a well-prepared ASO and advertising strategy, Rakuten managed to move from #84 in the Shopping category to #11 on Black Friday. Rakuten is the only app that managed to achieve this kind of category growth during the Black Friday season in 2021.

Category rank of Rakuten and the top 10 Shopping apps in November 2021 in the US App StoreCategory rank of Rakuten and the top 10 Shopping apps in November 2021 (US, App Store).

Discover the impact of Black Friday on shopping apps in 2021

Therefore, the success of these apps on Black Friday relied on a well-prepared and well-funded marketing strategy. 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.

Use in-app events to maximize visibility during the holidays

In-app events or promotional content are a great way to increase your app’s engagement and visibility on the App Store and Google Play during the holidays. In-app events are timely events within games and apps, such as challenges or competitions, live-streamed experiences, movie premieres, and more.

In-app event cards on Apple rank in the search results. So by including clever keywords such as “black friday deals” in your in-app event title, you will increase your chances to rank on these search terms. For example, Klarna created an in-app event card promoting Halloween related deals. Thanks to the keywords included in the metadata, this in-app event ranked high in the search results for the term “halloween deals.”

Klarna ranks on the keyword halloween deals after running an in-app event on the App StoreKlarna ranks on the keyword “halloween deals” after running an in-app event on the App Store.

Featuring in-app events can also help increase your visibility in the browse results. For example, during Halloween 2022, Apple featured a collection “Check out these spooky events,” highlighting all the Halloween-themed in-app events. We expect Apple to do the same with Black Friday.


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 rank high and increase their downloads. To prepare for the Black Friday weekend, follow these recommendations:

  • Add keywords related to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to your app metadata to boost your app/game’s chances of ranking for these words.
  • Update your app/game screenshots to feature valuable deals in the first positions and maximize conversion.
  • Leverage in-app events or promotional content and don’t forget to add important keywords to your event card title to rank high in the search results.

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

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Lucas Riedinger
by , Product Manager at AppTweak
Lucas is a Product Manager at AppTweak, helping to fuel growth for the world's most popular apps and games. He is passionate about rugby, basketball, and video games.