The Underappreciated Gift – Christmas App Store Bursting

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Ryan Weber

December 9th, 2015

The holidays are upon us. And they come with a massive payoff for certain publishers as consumers flock to the app stores to download more apps and games than any other time of year.   Best of all, many of the installs are coming from clean, new devices that consumers obtain as gifts promising to deliver the highest value.

The top charts on Apple’s App Store continue to reward apps that have strong recent downloads. As a result, one campaign strategy (launch momentum campaigns or “bursting”) is to concentrate your ad buy over 4 days to drive up your ranking.  The chart varies by iPad or iPhone, country, and category/overall listing. The numbers fluctuate as the market, and algorithm evolve, but currently it takes about 75,000 installs per day over 4 days to achieve a top 25 overall app ranking on the free iPhone apps list in the USA.


The general fear of many publishers last year was that it would be too unpredictable and too competitive to execute an effective burst campaign targeting Christmas. But our data from that time paints a different (and optimistic) picture.

First, the app store freeze became negligible – meaning the rankings continued to update throughout the holiday, even though new apps were not being added.

Second, prices did not skyrocket as much as you would think during what was considered to be an overly competitive time to be buying installs. For example, in 2014, NativeX saw a 4 day burst campaign leading up to Christmas was priced at only 14% higher CPI rates than the trailing three weekends ($0.80 compared to $0.70) , even though the downloads ended up being 150% higher on Christmas Day compared to about 20% higher on weekends.  Heading into December, NativeX saw CPI rates drop 18% YOY for the month of November.


Contact NativeX if you’d like a free, more detailed report on the volume of installs and rates needed to achieve your target chart position this Christmas season. NativeX is trusted by top charting mobile apps and games and have a proven successful record.   Let us give you the market intelligence you need to achieve success for the holidays and beyond.



1.     Flurry – Last year, consumers downloaded 2.5X as many apps on Christmas day compared to the average of prior 3 weeks.

2.     Distimo Day Of Week Share Of Installs –

3.     App Store ratings and ranking freeze has become negligible. – Apptentive shows results through last year of the freeze diminishing. .   NativeX observed no measurable freeze last year.

4.     NativeX Reward iOS USA Average CPI Rates

a.     Dec. 2, 3, 4, 5th 2014 $0.71

b.     Dec. 10, 11, 12, 13th 2014 – $0.74

c.     Dec. 17, 18, 19, 20th 2014 –$0.64

d.     Dec. 22, 23, 24, 25th 2014 – $0.80

e.     Nov 1 – 30th 2014 – $0.74

f.      Nov. 1 – 30th 2015 – $0.61

Ryan Weber


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