October 30, 2012
The holidays are a great time for family, friends, food–and of course, over-the-top decorations. Our friends at TinyCo are definitely no strangers when it comes to the latter, as they’ve succeeded time and time again with adding special holiday content & features to their apps around the holidays.
Focusing on their hit apps, Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends, we had a chance to sit down with TinyCo earlier this month, drilling them on what they do to prepare for the holiday season, why they choose to incorporate in-app holiday themes, and how holiday content has helped their overall business.
Read on to find out the story behind their success, and tips on how you can win over your fan base during the holidays!
How many apps do you guys have, and how do you choose which to spice up for the holidays?
Right now, we have 18 apps in the Apple App Store, many of which are also available on Google Play and the Amazon App Store. When we think about which apps will include holiday content, we stick with our most actively maintained games: Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends. All three of these games are available on Apple, Google, and Amazon devices, allowing us to measure the effectiveness of our holiday content across multiple platforms.
How far in advance does the team prep for holiday content? What are the more popular holidays to create content for?
We usually allow a good month to prepare for holiday content. This year, we spent the last month creating new ‘spooky’ animal characters for Tiny Zoo Friends, releasing a new character every day up until Halloween (see our modal below!). We usually build themed content for all kinds of world events, such as 4th of July or even presidential elections. But around the office, we love creating new content for Halloween and Valentine’s Day–there’s so much creativity behind the two holidays that each year provides, and our users look forward to those two holidays as well!
What has been a successful strategy on building holiday-themed content for your apps? What is the overall inspiration?
We’ve developed our own server-side infrastructure that allows us to push new content to our games without requiring that users update an app to access it. This means we can release content every single day without badgering users to download an update, which is definitely helpful during the holidays. Instead of doing one “halloween update” and hoping users download a new app version, we can present them with new content automatically when they open the app. This rapid release cycle helps drive up retention and engagement, and ultimately allows more users to enjoy the content we’ve spent a lot of time working on. The inspiration comes from wanting to make our players happy and constantly engaged with fun, new and relevant content on a regular basis–which in turn, drives user retention for us!
What kind of return do you see from providing holiday-themed content?
As you can imagine, there is definitely and increase in usage during the holidays with our apps, but we also see a spike in downloads and in-app purchases. Since we take the holidays as an opportunity to heavily promote our games, we see a significant increase in game downloads and IAPs during these times – developing holiday content can definitely move the needle for all your important metrics.
Any tips for developers looking to successfully create holiday-themed content and/or apps?
Make sure your content is relevant to the game–if it’s just adding a pumpkin or Christmas tree here and there, it may not be worth your time. It’s extremely important to use these opportunities to be creative and come up with ideas other developers aren’t doing, even if that means creating content for the non-obvious holidays!
What do you have in store for the 2012 holiday season?
We’ve been hard at work adding Halloween content to Tiny Monsters, Tiny Village, and Tiny Zoo Friends, but we’re already getting started on our Thanksgiving and winter holiday content – it takes a lot of preparation to do well!