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4 tips for successful in-app advertising ahead of the holiday season



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March 4, 2024 | 6 min read

The holiday season remains one of the most lucrative times of the year for businesses that want to increase sales via their mobile apps

But what does it take to create ad campaigns that cut through the noise in a period saturated with ads? At Remerge, we’ve partnered with hundreds of e-commerce apps to run in-app retargeting campaigns, so in this article, we share our four top tips that will help brands level up their mobile campaigns and drive revenue from the app-side of their businesses during the festive months.

Why mobile matters for seasonal campaigns

During the Q4 2022 holiday period (compared to Q3 2022), consumer spending in shopping apps saw a 37% rise. Even with the effects of an economic downturn, mobile customers continue to make purchases. According to a recent AppsFlyer report, e-commerce apps garnered an average of 10% more revenue in November 2022 when compared to November 2021.

The revenue potential for brands during the seasonal period is eye-watering – meaning the number of companies investing in programmatic advertising, and the level of competition to do it well, intensifies greatly each year. With so many consumers spending big on mobile, it makes sense to meet them there – by running ads in the apps they are already using. Here are some key things to consider for your in-app advertising campaigns:

1. Prepare your mobile marketing campaigns long before Black Friday

Successful engagement and retargeting campaigns require multiple iterations before they hit the sweet spot – from budget adjustments and segmentation tweaks, to creative amendments and refined messaging. Get started with your seasonal mobile marketing activities as early as possible. This way, you'll have all optimizations in place before the busy period begins.

In 2022, there was an 81% jump in consumer spend on iOS during Black Friday compared to the daily average in November – and Android came in at 61% higher than average. To get your piece of this revenue pie, we recommend planning and testing your ads long before November 24th arrives.

2. Don’t let your creative strategy go stale

Visual saturation often peaks at this time of year, with the same overused holiday motifs blending together so that campaigns become indistinguishable. Here’s how to make your ads stand out:

Create seasonal visuals that actually pop
For maximum impact, ensure your ads fit with the seasonal period but don’t blend in with other seasonal visuals that appear within your app.

Shout about it
Increase conversions with a succinct, timely offer or discount. If you’re offering something new or special for Black Friday or the New Year, make sure it’s displayed loud and clear on the creative.

Create emotional connections with your customers
You know your audience better than anyone. Dedicate time to pinpointing the precise tone and wording you feel will engage them during the holiday period.

Be dynamic
Work with a programmatic partner that has a dynamic product ad setup. These ads (DPAs) allow you to advertise specific products to your customers that are pulled directly from your app's product catalog with the latest information on pricing. These types of real-time updates ensure the right content is delivered to the right user every time. Dynamic Product ads also let you test different headlines and CTAs within your ads to find out what messaging works best for a specific user.

The example below shows the product catalog of an an e-commerce app on the left-hand side. On the right is an ad in which the visuals and texts are populated in real time from the app's product catalog. The ad is shown to the app's existing customers by a programmatic advertising partner – and the ad itself will be adapted for each customer that sees it. This is because the advertising partner's retargeting algorithms will create the ad based on the user's individual attributes and perceived likelihood of purchasing.

3. Get started with Deep Links

Deep links let you direct customers to a specific point within your app, such as a purchase or subscription page. They are essential for reducing friction and simplifying the customer’s path to buying when attention spans are limited during the holiday season. Partner with a demand-side-platform (DSP) that has the ability to add deep links to your mobile ads, as this will create a seamless user experience and journey for your customers.

Speaking on episode 161 of the Apptivate podcast, Amanda Vandiver, senior product marketing manager at Branch said:

“The deep link is creating that connection, that match, between the share-point and the person on the other end opening the app – making sure that they are taken to the right place.”

4. Pick an advertising partner with a recommendation engine

The key to increasing holiday sales is knowing what customers want and showing them ads that offer those products or services. A product recommendation engine predicts what a user is likely to buy next based on their previous purchases.

If your customers are searching for a specific product in the run up to Black Friday, you can start showing them ads for other similar or related items. Product recommendation engines analyze existing user data to identify these related purchases (e.g. users who purchase a pen are likely to be interested in a notebook) and are a powerful tool for app businesses looking to upsell during the holiday season.


There’s no time to waste when launching mobile marketing campaigns for the holiday season. At Remerge, we’ve found that the most successful (and profitable) app marketing campaigns are those where marketers have thoroughly tested their ads in advance and followed best practices, from incorporating deep links to building the right audience segments.


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