9 Tips to Optimize your App Screenshots
Screenshots are probably the most important element on your app page to help users decide whether or not to download your app. This means that if you are looking to increase your app’s conversion rate, you should start by reviewing and redesigning your screenshots first.
For this reason we have created a list with 9 tips to help you design app screenshots that make your app stand out from the crowd and encourages users to download your app… But first, let’s start with some basic insights.
Quick reminder💡: Why are Screenshots so important? Because, screenshots are probably the most visible element on your app page (and the Apple App Store Search Results)! In general, images are eye-catchers, they are your app’s first impression.
The purpose of the screenshots is to provide users with more information on what the app is about and to give users a sense of what they can expect from the app before downloading it. This is a really important aspect because people will rather look at the screenshots instead of reading the long description to get a sense of what the app is about.
Indeed, people are impulsive and often use their emotions to make decisions. Many users will base their decision on whether or not to download your app on how attractive the screenshots are!🤳
Now, because screenshots demand a lot of time and effort, read on these 9 tips on how you can optimize your screenshots to significantly boost your app downloads:
1. Screenshots should explain what your app does
✏️ A basic checklist to get started:
- Explain your app’s main features
- Give users an idea of what they can expect when they download your app
- Showcase the user experience
- Use short titles to better convey your message, but make sure the font is large enough so people can read it
Some apps choose to be very simple in their screenshots by just providing the main features and adding some short titles. The advantages of these screenshots is that your users will see a real showcase of your app’s strengths. However, this type of screenshots tend to lose visibility on very competitive categories, where other apps prefer more creative visuals to attract users.
E.g: The app “Sudoku.com - Puzzle Game” shows some simple screenshots of the main features (iOS, USA). They also use short sentences to highlight the main selling propositions.
❌ Your screenshots can be very simple, but they should never be only actual screenshots of your app. This is a bad practice, because it shows that you don’t have any further interest in explaining to your users your app’s main features in a nice way.
E.g: Fidelity (iOS, USA) has added some actual screenshots of the app. This is not recommended because when your users are comparing it to other apps, they might get the wrong first impression and miss your main USPs.
On the other hand, some complex apps in the Utilities Category create customized posters that display additional visual content, as well as some text to explain more clearly what your app does. The purpose of this practice is to reassure your audience and to sell your app with catchy sentences.
E.g: Here we’re looking at the screenshots of “Slack” for the iOS in the USA. These screenshots show the main functionalities of the app such as: message chat, preview image, document lecture, dynamic filters, etc.
🔥Pro Tip: If you don’t feel confident enough, you can hire a professional designer to do it for you 👩🎨.
Do you want to challenge yourself? 🥇
If the answer is yes - then you should show the main features within a “story- line”! This will be more appealing to customers as the design plays an important role in the message you’re trying to deliver, especially on iOS where screenshots are visible on search results.
E.g: Bird (iOS, USA) has built a “story-line” in their screenshots, where all screenshots are integrated to communicate their entire value proposition.
On the Google Store, however, screenshots are only shown in the app page. However, they are one of the main attention points in the App Page, so they should definitely help you achieve your mission of converting users.
2. Place the most eye-catching screenshots first
We previously discussed how screenshots influence your app’s first impression. This is especially true for the Apple App Store as screenshots also appear in the search results together with the app icon and title.
But, the truth is you only have a few seconds to catch users’ attention. Therefore, make sure to design an eye-catching first screenshot, one with bold and bright colours that makes your app stand out.
🔥Pro Tip: Try some A/B testing to see which type of screenshots have the highest impact on conversion rate for your app.
E.g: Deliveroo-Food Delivery has used its first to screenshots to clearly communicate that you can get restaurant food delivered by browsing into their app. The use of the first image invites to buy food from their app.
E.g: The screenshots from Skyscanner show a continuous story instead of separated screenshots (iOS, USA). This effect can be made by combining one image into different screenshots to increase your user’s attention and conversion rate.
💡Remember: your app is also competing with ads and Featured Stories in the search results, therefore your visuals become more and more important as users have to scroll more to find an app that matches their search intent.
E.g: Search for the keyword “travel” in the App Store shows an Ad and a Featured App before showing the top ranking apps (iOS, USA, 22th of July 2019).
3. Portrait versus landscape orientation
It is usually challenging to choose which orientation is the best for your screenshots.
For the Apple Store, there are 2 main devices on which an app can be downloaded:
- On iPhone: it allows landscape and portrait orientations. On desktop/iTunes: the default screenshots are those from the iPhone’s.
- On iPad: both portrait and landscape are allowed.
If your app is available on iPhone and iPad, you ideally need to create different screenshots for each of them accordingly to the correct size and pixels.
E.g: For each devices Angry Birds 2 (iOS, USA) has added the same version of screenshots in a different size. This is essential to guarantee displaying the right image to users.
For the Google Store, you can add as well, both landscape or portrait orientation screenshots. To publish your Store Listing, you must provide a minimum of 2 screenshots, JPEG or 24-bit PNG, minimum dimension: 320 px, and maximum dimension: 3840 px .
E.g: Super Mario Run (Google Play, USA) shows both landscape and portrait screenshots to users.
4. Design and adapt your screenshots for all devices
It is strongly recommend using all available screenshots to increase your conversion rate. Additionally, to the obvious devices you can design as well screenshots for apps available on the Apple Watch and Apple TV, if you’re interested in launching your app on all channels.
Apple allows developers to upload up to 10 screenshots, while Google Play enables to add up to 8 per devices (telephone, tablet, Android tv and wear OS).
As previously said, people love visual content so the more you have, the best it is. Use this to your advantage and see it as an opportunity to show more than one feature.
E.g: On AppTweak we help you to easily identify how many screenshots your competitors are using. With our Screenshot feature we identify that Dragon Ball Legends (iOS, USA, July 2019) is 21 screenshots. If you scroll in between screenshots you’ll detect a change of size related to the device they are using. Remember, Google allows up to 8 screenshots per device.
5. 1 screenshot = 1 feature!
Remember people are browsing on small mobile device, so don’t make your screenshots too complicated. A quick tip to help you keep things simple is by focussing on one feature per screenshot. Choose your best features and design a screenshot per feature.
E.g: FaceApp- AI Face Editor (iOS, USA) uses one feature per screenshot to highlight its main functionalities.
Help users better understand how they can benefit from using these features by zooming in on certain elements. This helps focus the user’s attention to what matters and will help you communicate your main value proposition.
If your app doesn’t have many features, use different angles to introduce the main ones. You can also show typical concrete example of what users can do with your app.
E.g: Waze Navigation & Live Traffic (iOS, USA) uses different perspectives to show the strength of it’s features.
6. Localize your screenshots
If you want to market your app in various countries, it is important to upload different screenshots with the local language for each county. It’s always better and easier to convince people in their mother tongue than in a foreign language.
For example, if your initial target is the USA market but you’re expanding your app to the Russia, don’t use English in your screenshots; it’s bad practice. Instead, use the main local language(s) of the country you’re targeting.
English, USA, iOS:
Spanish, USA, iOS:
Russian, Russia, iOS:
E.g: Accordingly, to the ASO best practices, TripAdvisor has localized its screenshots to different languages for the market they are targeting. For example, in the USA they display screenshots both in English and in Spanish, for two different audiences in one country; and for Russia they have also adapted them to the local language.
If you want to maximize localization and increase your business in other regions, don’t only translate your screenshots to match the local language. It’s important to research the local culture and design preferences.
Trip.com, iOS, Korea:
Trip.com, iOS, USA:
Google Maps, iOS, Brazil:
Google Maps, iOS,USA:
E.g: These apps have gone one step further, they have localized not only the language of the country, but also the setting and landscape. This definitely helps local users identify more easily with the brand and download the app.
7. Show devices
E.g: Starbucks (iOS, USA) is also following this trend by showing some niche mockups of their app.
8. Monitor your competitors
Just like for icons - and actually every other factor in ASO - it is important to monitor your competitors’ apps. See on what they insist, check out what they choose to display and how they did so. Benchmarking is always a great source of inspiration. The best thing you can do is to gather all screenshots from your most successful competitors and try to understand what’s really working.
You can also take your least successful competitors’ screenshots and try to avoid the possible mistakes they might have done.
Remember that screenshots are obviously not the only factor determining the success of an app. An app may have a great icon, a perfect description, awesome screenshots and targeted keywords, but if the app is not a great app itself, it will never succeed.
E.g: With AppTweak’s Timeline table you can easily identify whenever one of your competitors has implemented a change in their screenshots and you can also view the actual before/after. This can help you also identify some seasonalities and trends that you should also follow. For example, Temple 2 Run changed on the 12 of May 2019, on the Google Play Sotre (USA) a change in the whole team from “Holi Festival” to “Lost Jungle”.
9. A/B Test
It is always good to test what you do. Test several screenshots and see which ones are working the best.
You can now A/B test on Google Play for free, that is a much better way to see which screenshots work the best.
Many apps test different versions of their screenshots to test which colours and titles have the highest conversion rates.
E.g: If we take a closer look at the strategy of “Gardenscapes” you can identify A/B testing for both the screenshots and the keywords used to measure which one can have the highest impact on conversion.
Screenshots play a major role in how your audience perceives your app and decides whether or not do download it, therefore follow these 9 steps to increase your chances of conversion:
- Inspire on different types of screenshots to show your app’s main features
- Place the most eye-catching screenshots first
- Play around with portrait and landscapes orientations to catch your users
- Design and adapt your screenshots for all devices
- Just show one feature per screenshot
- Localize your screenshots to the local language and local landscapes
- Use devices to allow user to exactly see how the app will be displayed on their own device
- Monitor your competitors
- A/B test your screenshots
Feel free to schedule a demo with us so we can show you how AppTweak can help you understand your competition when you are developing a new app!📈
In collaboration with Suzanne Tablas, Business Developer @AppTweak
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A case study of: “How to get your app featured, the impact on category rankings and the perfect environment for A/B testing”