Screenshots have a very strong influence on users when downloading an app. They are actually considered to be a decisive factor: if your screenshots are bad, people won’t download your app. However, if they’re well-designed, they certainly will generate multiplied downloads. Discover our 9 tips to optimize your app screenshots and therefore optimize your app marketing…
(picture taken from AppTweak ASO Report for DoodleJump)
Why are Screenshots so important?
Last week we talked about the importance of icons in App Store Optimization and we gave you 9 tips to make your app icon stand out. Well, this week we’re focusing on screenshots.
Screenshots are eyes-catchers. People often prefer looking at screenshots than reading a description. It’s easier for them to get the information. Most of all, screenshots generally give a better idea of how the app actually is than its description.
Screenshots therefore demand a lot of work and deep thinking. They need to be at their best as they can significantly boost your app downloads. Indeed, many users will make their final decision based on how attractive the screenshots are. Don’t forget that people often base their purchase decision on their emotions.
Your screenshots need to have a high resolution and the best quality possible. After your app has been noticed, thanks to its powerful icon for example, you need to convince users to download your app. We saw that ratings and reviews played a big role at that point, but screenshots are often considered as important in app marketing.
Here are our 9 tips on how you can optimize your screenshots in the best possible way:
1. Explain what your app does!
There are two types of screenshots.
The first type is actually a genuine “screenshot” of your app. It can show your app menu and some features. It usually is the best option if your app is a game or if it is quite simple. It enables users to see exactly what they’re going to experience. Your screenshots are therefore a real showcase of your app’s strengths. You can also add a short tagline to give a little more explanation than the screenshot itself.
However, if your app is complicated and has many features, like utilities apps, it would not be ideal to limit your screenshots to a simple screen capture. You would rather need to create customized “posters” displaying visual content as well as some text (not too much though!) to explain clearly what your app does. The point is to reassure your audience and to sell your app with catchy sentences.
See it as an advertising poster, how would you design it? If you don’t feel confident enough, you can hire a professional designer to do it for you.
2. Make your first two screenshots the most appealing possible
When you search for an app in the App Store by entering a specific keyword, you end up with a list of various apps responding to that keyword. Each app’s page in the search results displays the icon, the title, the ratings and the first two screenshots. These screenshots take a large place on the screen and therefore catch attention.
You therefore have to benefit from this attention by optimizing your first two screenshots the best you can. They need to be relevant and should describe what your app globally does and what it can bring to users.
3. Portrait or landscape orientation?
It is usually challenging to choose which orientation is the best for your screenshots.
There are 3 devices on which an app can be downloaded: on an iPhone (the default’s orientation is portrait); on a desktop/iTunes (default’s screenshots are iPhone’s); on an iPad (both portrait and landscape are displayed in the right way)
You need to take these differences into account when creating your screenshots. It may not be easy enough for users to integrate landscape screenshots on their iPhone, as these will be flipped into a portrait orientation. You don’t want them to hurt their neck…!
We therefore advise you to create portrait screenshots for smartphones.
By default, desktop’s displays iPhone’s screenshots. However, both orientations are shown in the right way. This can therefore create a discontinuous effect and might not be ideal for users (see picture). It is one more reason to stick to the portrait orientation for iPhones.
If you’re available on iPhone and iPad, you ideally need to create different screenshots for each of them. Landscape orientation actually looks good on tablets as they are displayed in the right way. They can create a very good impression thanks to the size of the screen.
4. Use all available screenshots slots
It is strongly recommend using all available screenshots. Apple allows developers to upload 5 screenshots while Google Play enables to put 8.
As previously said, people love visual content so the more you have, the best it is. Use this at your advantage and see it as an opportunity to show more than one feature.
5. 1 screenshot = 1 feature!
It is usually better to use a screenshot per feature. In other words, don’t charge too much your screenshots with too much various information. Choose your best features and design a screenshot for each of them.
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.
6. Localize your screenshots
If you want to market your app in various countries, it is important to upload - for each of them - different screenshots with the corresponding language. 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 Russian market but you’re expanding your app to the USA, don’t use Russian in your screenshots: they obviously won’t be understood.
7. Show devices
We see more and more screenshots displaying devices (iPhone or iPad for example). It is actually a very good idea as it allows user to exactly see how the app will be displayed on their device(s).
8. Monitor your competitors
Just like for icons - and actually every other factor in Mobile SEO - it is important to monitor your competitors’ apps. See on what they insist, check out what they chose 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.
But 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.
9. A/B Test
It is always good to test what you do. You can test several screenshots and see which ones are working the best. To do so, just ask your friends’ and surroundings’ what they think of your screenshots and designs. You can also create a landing page featuring different screenshots and submit it to a larger audience.
In conclusion, the most important thing to remember is that if your screenshots are bad, people won’t download your app.
How about you? How do your screenshots look like? What orientation did you choose? Why? Share your opinion in the comment section below!
By Laurie Galazzo