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What In-App Ad Interactions Tell Us About Holiday Behaviors

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This piece was originally published in MarTech Advisor.

Jeff Marshall, CrossInstall’s Co-founder and CEO, and a mobile gaming and advertising industry veteran, discusses how in-app ad interactions can teach advertisers to best leverage the holiday retail and mobile mania and why the data may reveal a few surprises about consumer behaviors.

Consumers spend billions of dollars on Black Friday, and every year it seems the holiday mania reaches new heights. It is clear the holiday season is a strong force for store and mobile retailer revenue, but there are identifiable patterns in its effects on advertising as well. Holiday madness shapes all types of consumer behavior, including in relation to mobile in-app advertisements. As we migrate toward a mobile-centric world, it is helpful for advertisers to ask how the holiday shopper mentality and holiday spirit affects consumer interactions with mobile ads.

The chart below shows the percent increase (or decrease, in the case of Christmas) of impressions, clicks, and conversions compared to the same day of a non-holiday week (collected by looking at the four previous and following same days of the week).

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After crunching the data, here are three main takeaways:

The Black Friday Waiting Game and Buyer Mindset

On Black Friday, people lazily lie around the house digesting their grand feast and scrolling through their phones. And if they are not vegging out on the sofa, they are certainly shopping. As people line up at the stores in hopes of scoring a cheap television or coffee machine, they have a long wait ahead for the early store openings. These people need something to do so, bored and already in a shopping mood, they turn toward their mobile apps for entertainment. According to our research, while the number of ads shown to users was on par for an average Friday, user engagement was much higher, with 8.9% higher clicks and 9.76% higher conversions. In turn, consumers are more apt to purchase products and download apps through ads they view. We anticipate this to be true even moreso this coming Black Friday. Mike Murphy, CrossInstall’s Lead Data Analyst, explains that “Finding holiday data trends allows mobile app companies and advertisers to be successful and take advantage of the differences in consumer behavior.”

Love for Family, But Not for Apps on Christmas Day

It’s noteworthy to point out that as opposed to Black Friday and New Year’s Day, Christmas is the only of the three winter holidays where consumers seem to disengage, with impressions down 22.22%, clicks down 9.42%, and conversions 26.03% lower than an average Friday. Murphy explains, “Given that Christmas is an engagement and purchase-centric holiday, the fact that we have clear evidence of disengagement from a majority of users is pretty astonishing.” While holiday shopping mania and downtime from work keeps consumers engaged with ads, users appear to be spending this day with family as opposed to engaging with mobile apps. We see fairly significant less overall volume, and consumers were far less likely to download apps on Christmas. Many establishments are closed on Christmas Day, and while mobile stores are open 34/7/365, it is clear consumers are shutting off their mobile apps.

New Year’s Day Doesn’t Mean the Purchases End

Because so many people have New Year’s day off, there were 26.72% more ad impressions than average, which trickled down into higher metrics across the board for clicks and conversions. These statistics were even higher than those on Black Friday, with 26% more clicks than average and 21.33% more conversions. The holidays may be coming to a close, but people are still driven to download in accordance with their buyer mentality.

Ultimately, results indicate that the effect of holidays on mobile advertisement interactions is statistically significant in all cases. While Black Friday and New Year’s Day increase impressions, clicks, and conversions compared to a normal day, on Christmas Day we find a decrease in all three variables. Consumers act differently on different holidays, and savvy advertisers remain cognizant of these patterns and react accordingly. It is certainly clear that these in-app ads are irresistible for bored consumers with more downtime, and advertisers should take note.

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