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The Importance of Holiday-Themed Apps & A Recipe for Success

Barbara Social Media Manager
October 26, 2011

Holiday season kicks off with Halloween early next week, and after that, the Holidays just keep rollin’ in until year end. An exciting time for consumers, but it can be an even more exciting time for app developers. eMarketer expects a 50% increase in mobile usage this year compared to 2010, and in our most recent Mobclix Index, we found app usage spiked to 108% during the July 4th Holiday weekend alone–and there’s only so many apps you can create around fireworks.

In preparation for the 2011 Holiday season, we’ve turned to the guys, and girls, at MagicSolver who have launched a number of various Holiday-themed apps worldwide, to give our developers the 4-1-1 on creating a successful Holiday app. So far, they’ve already created 5: Christmas Advent Calendar (2009 & 2010), Valentine’s Day Calendar (2010 & 2011), and Easter App Hunt 2011–with over 4 million downloads worldwide! Their 2010 Christmas Advent Calendar has been the most successful by far, getting over 1.5 million downloads and a #1 rank in the UK, France, Germany and over 20 more countries around the world.

MagicSolver’s Emmanuel Carraud & Amy Lee dive deeper into the success & inspiration behind their Holiday apps, along with tips and a teaser into their newest Holiday app for Halloween!

What inspires you to create apps around Holidays? What happens to the apps after the holidays are over?

We love Holidays! Christmas and Easter, for example, are great family events of the year, and we all have great childhood memories of these seasonal periods. Valentine’s Day is also one of those special days that almost everyone looks forward to, so with that passion, support and excitement behind these special days, it becomes easy to create a product to help spread those feelings around.

We like to invest time and effort into apps that specialize in creating a great user experience. By focusing on seasonal apps, we ensure that we are beginning from a positive starting point. We want to share these positive emotions with our fans and offer them a selection of the best apps available. After the seasonal period, our apps hibernate until the next season. That’s why we launched Free App Magic, to offer daily deals on apps and bridge the gap between the holidays.

What has been a successful strategy on building holiday apps?

Holidays apps are great, but quite hard to develop: you have a time constraint, you need to design, develop, & create the content, and then you have to promote the app. If your app is going to be multi-lingual (ours, for example, are available in 7 languages), then you need to coordinate with translators to have the app localized on time. Moreover, if your app will contain a selection of other apps from the App Store, you will need to prep for response time from developers. The idea behind MagicSolver apps, for example, is that they are a selection of the best apps from the App Store, so we end up spending a lot of time selecting the best apps and talking with hundreds of developers worldwide.

When it comes to marketing, we have been very successful in building a community of developers & publishers, working closely with them for an efficient cross-marketing strategy. Mobclix, being one of the partners more focused on advertising, has given us the ability to produce a successful revenue strategy working alongside them–which has included access to a great combination of ad networks worldwide, banners ads within our free apps, exchange of visibility, social media marketing, and more.

Any important tips to note in creating a successful Holiday app?

1. Timing is really important as you need to plan in advance–allowing some buffer time is crucial, as app development always takes longer than planned! 3 months in advance is a reasonable time for an experienced team. You need to get it right from day 1–if you have a bug and need to submit an update in the middle of the seasonal period, you missed the season!

2. Our main tip is: if you plan to develop a Holiday app, or a Holiday special edition of your app, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It is a lot of effort for an app which only lasts a few weeks in the App Store–but we believe it is worth it. We would be happy to help you and find a way to collaborate.

So what do you have in store for the 2011 Holiday season?

As we creep closer to All Hallows’ Eve, MagicSolver wishes to present you with our app: Halloween – 13 Spooky Apps, available for free on the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android! ThisHalloween app is full of spooky delights, and allows you to unlock a delectably creepy app each day.
As noted above, it’s a free app that counts down to the big day, where you unlock a new Halloween related “present” each day by digging up a grave. These presents are free mobile apps for users–including top games and utility apps–and we have taken a lot of effort to source the best Halloween apps out there, that appeal to all users young and old! We figured Halloween is a Holiday that most age ranges can enjoy, so we wanted to make the app’s appeal as broad as possible. In addition to the 13 free presents, there are scary sound effects on the phone, so every time you shake your phone you get a new scary sound effect–perfect to put you in the mood for Halloween, or spook the trick-or-treaters next to you. This is enough to keep the most impatient and hardened of Halloween fans happy through to the end of October, and is guaranteed to start your Halloween off in the eeriest of ways!

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