Mobile games change their app icons to celebrate Valentine's Day

Sweet Valentine. Stupid Cupid. Pink hearts and sharp arrows. Love and diapers. And of course a welcome opportunity for mobile publishers & developers to update their games with de rigueur content, also mostly red and pink. Check out how the loneliest day of the year impacts app icons around the stores. Note: this was done on behalf of my employer Tilting Point.

Original post from Tilting Point’s blog:

Open up the App Store this week and you will see more Valentine’s Day themed app icons than ever before. Take a look at our collected image of app icons and you’ll see dozens of icon updates across many genres of games. What are the reasons behind the increasing prevalence of this trend?

As Tilting Point monitors trends and changes in the app markets, we noticed an increase in the number of holiday app icon updates this year, with even more holidays and special events being included, from Halloween to the Super Bowl, World Cup, Carnaval or Winter Holidays / Christmas. Developers and publishers are updating their icons and adding new content for several reasons:

1 – It may help the app get re-featured individually in the app stores as a new update when coupled with content.

2 – App stores have included special feature categories for apps around holidays, which we noted through the entire month of October for Halloween-themed apps and app updates, and now for two weeks in February in a big feature box for Valentine’s Day.

3 – Updating also has an impact on retention as it re-engages inactive players, especially when coupled with new in-game content. Take a look at the Update tab in the App Store and you’ll see how many apps are eager to bring you back in.

The changes are not only limited to app icons and game content. The holidays give publishers and developers a chance to refresh their ad creative as well, so look for updated, seasonally themed banner ads and mobile user acquisition ads as well.

Seasonal icon updates are another aspect of the modern reality of games as a service and tend to be concentrated on free to play games. Today’s mobile games change and evolve over time and app icon refreshes are a big part of the ongoing marketing effort required of app developers and publishers today.