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8 Ways to Improve Your App Store Screenshots

Emma Mullan  //  April 4, 2018  //  6 min read

How your app appears on the app store, be it Apple or Google Play, is vital to whether or not a potential user takes that final step in your app marketing funnel and hits the all important download button. This is where each visitor makes their decision on whether to bounce or install. It doesn’t matter if they came from paid search, organic search, social media, or even from the recommendation of a friend or influencer; if your app doesn’t look up to scratch or suit their needs, they will leave. It is really that simple.

A good first impression has been found to increase conversions on the app store by 35%. Your app store screenshots take main stage on both app stores and make up a key part of this first impression. We humans are pretty visual creatures, right? Of course an interesting image is going to catch our attention much faster than a bunch of text.

Plus, 3-5 seconds is all it takes to make a great first impression. In those first few seconds when a visitor comes across your app on the app store they have already made up their mind on whether your app looks good or bad. Grasp this opportunity with both hands and make sure your app screenshots raise enough interest to ultimately get the user to click and download.

Interested in how? Here are eight of the best practices when designing your app store screenshots.

1. Follow the app store screenshot guidelines

First thing first, stick to the app store screenshot guidelines. Both Apple and Google have produced detailed instructions on what can and cannot be featured on your screenshots. Follow these carefully along with the correct requirements and you should run into no issues when uploading.

It’s also important to bare in mind the differences between the way the different app stores are laid out, which you can see in the image below. An interesting study by StoreMaven pointed out that these variations in layout often lead to significant behavioural differences. For example, Android visitors are 40% more likely to decide more quickly whether to download an app or not, compared to iOS users.

Screenshot guidelines

2. Choose the order of your screenshots carefully

The order in which your screenshots appear is more important than you might think. 60% of users won’t even swipe past the first two, so it’s vital to make sure these are your best screenshots to capture the attention of your target audience.

Your screenshot order should make sense, too, and perhaps even tell a story. Obviously this won’t work for everyone, but when it’s done correctly, it can be super effective as you can see in the below example by Tinder.

Tinder

3. Highlight the main benefits (not features)

An app with plenty of features is great, but the benefits these features can add to your target users life are far more valuable. If you can get across in your screenshots how your app can solve certain problems your users have, then you are onto a real winner.

You can see how Waze has managed this in the example below from which you can quickly pick up on following three benefits:

  • Avoid traffic, police, and accidents
  • Always arrive on time
  • Find parking easily

Waze

Think long and hard about what the main selling points of your app are when creating your screenshots. What exactly makes you different and better than your competitors? You only get a maximum of five screenshots on the Apple store and eight on Google Play. This is your opportunity to show why you, one little app out of a humongous 2.2 million, deserves a highly sought after spot on the users home screen… so don’t waste it!

That said, don’t overwhelm the user by trying to show a handful of different benefits in one image. Choosing one main focal point per screenshot will be much more effective as too much information will scare the user off.

4. Demonstrate how the app is used

This is especially useful if your app is used in a rather unconventional way. Plus, nobody wants an app this is going to be tricky to use so highlighting just how straightforward it is can be an attractive trait in the eyes of your target user. Keep the instructions simple and to the point and use images that show exactly what to do. Facetune and Heads Up both carry out this style of screenshots very well.

Facetune

Heads Up

5. Be descriptive

Adding text to your screenshots is a strategy many highly successful apps employ. Take a look back at the examples throughout this post and you will notice that each one contains some descriptive text. Screenshots are great, but for a user viewing your app for the first time, they may not immediately understand what is going on in the image. Adding a clear, concise piece of text to a screenshot helps clear this up.

Obviously if you do decide to annotate your screenshots, make sure the text doesn’t over-power the image and is against the correct background and clear to read using the correct colours.

6. Include awards/mentions

There is nothing wrong with shouting about the stuff you are proud of. If your app has won any awards of been recommended by a well-known publication or influencer, you have every right to feature this as part of your app store screenshots. People are influenced by other people, so approval from a credible source will go hugely in your favour when it comes down to a users decision to download your app or not.

7. Include a video preview

Video previews are often overlooked despite the fact that this is closest thing a user can get to actually using your app before they have downloaded it. Your preview can be up to 30 seconds long and include music and a voice-over, giving you the chance to show off far more about your apps capabilities than what is possible in 10 screenshots. Plus, our brains process videos 60,000 times faster than text and requires a lot less effort compared to reading. This video could be the deciding factor when a user is torn between whether your app or your competitors is better suited to their needs.

Video preview

8. Update regularly

News flash! This is not a one time job. Thankfully the Apple and Google app stores allow you to change and update your screenshots as much as you wish. Make use of this and test new things. Discover what works better whether it’s the use of different background and text colours, re-wording of any text used, or a completely new image altogether. It’s ok to take inspiration from your competitors, too—just don’t be a copycat! Chances are you won’t get this right the first time anyway, so play around and A/B test everything.

Don’t forget to update your screenshots every time you update your actual app, too. These carefully selected images need to show the app exactly how it is now, so any changes to the interface should be reflected in your app store screenshots.

Conclusion

Many amazing apps remain undiscovered due to the sad fact that they aren’t putting any real thought or effort into their app screenshots. A picture is worth a thousand word, and these images (and video) give you a huge opportunity to grab the attention of potential app users and tell them why your app is exactly what they have always been looking for. That said, if you have a rubbish, un-functional app, don’t expect some eye-catching screenshots to sweep this under the carpet for you.

Great screenshots + a great app = lots of happy app users.

About Emma Mullan

Emma Mullan is a Marketing Strategist at Hurree. Hurree is a marketing automation platform for apps that help engage your users and keep them active at a time that suits them. It goes one step further by automatically enhancing that 1 to 1 personal experience for the user without demanding any additional time from the marketer.
View all posts by Emma Mullan >

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