OneTwoSplit, a team of a service that carries out A/B-testing of mobile metadata, has written an article on how to attract a user’s attention to service in App Store and Google Play and how to make screenshots so that they show mobile app functionality and “catch” potential clients.
App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone Marketplace are gradually becoming a digital battlefield. Developers fight for users to recognize their apps. Otherwise, they will drown in an ocean of competing services.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a strategy similar to SEO but applicable exclusively to app pages in stores. It has become a useful addition to a developer marketing plan and is summoned to increase the number of app installs.
ASO contains many elements and should be considered as a key component while publishing an app. It describes each detail concerning an app page and may be divided into 2 groups of elements: inner and outer ones.
Inner optimization elements include everything which is displayed on an app page in a corresponding store:
Outer optimization elements are external links which lead to an app download page:
Before showing your app to the world, it’s necessary to work on all the above-mentioned elements thoroughly. In the article, we will talk about app screenshots, one of the factors affecting install quantity.
It’s almost impossible to make a user keep attention on what you want to deliver to him/her in the era of constant information and madness flow around social media. We’re constantly distracted and we have no time to sit quietly and consider something carefully. Investigations have shown that the period of concentration has decreased to 8 seconds. Slate editors have written an interesting article about the phenomenon and told why you won’t read any article till the end.
We go back to the principle when the first impression is the most important one: you have only several seconds to grab a client’s attention. Use it wisely in order to evoke interest and make a user click, scroll, or download.
The importance of screenshots consists in to bring a clear message to a user. App Store has made a small revolution — screenshots have pushed app descriptions to the background. These are the changes in iOS7 compared with iOS6.
Today, when we have iOS8, Apple continues to focus more on pictures rather than on text. The same thing happens with Android.
App design is a key quality factor for almost 50% of users. It yields only to other users’ reviews and ratings.
While user reviews belong to outer elements as you can’t affect them, screenshots are inner elements and you can make them the way you like. App design and corresponding screenshots should get №1 place in the list of marketing events.
Visual communication is surely faster than a verbal one. That’s why a beautiful design and quality screenshots will contribute greatly to your mission realization.
App screenshots shouldn’t be chosen randomly. The best approach is to choose the screenshots which describe app creation goal the best.
Main app stores allow uploading 5 screenshots. Is your app for teenagers? Is it a fitness-app for the pregnant? A mobile scanner? An adventurous game? You should make it the way so each user understands your message.
Another approach for choosing screenshots consists of 2 questions:
If you can answer the questions relying on screenshots, half of the job is already done. If you can’t find the answers, dig deeper.
Independently of what you need to do, you will find a corresponding app for that. Maybe even 10, 50, or 100 apps. Creating a unique app is quite a rare phenomenon.
There are 2 trends: to build a large platform as, for example, Salesforce which offers all-in-one solutions, or create a micro-app which solves only one small problem. Developers often think that they create unique apps but get disappointed when they find a great many competitors on the market.
Both real and digital worlds are oversaturated now. There are hundreds of variants of any item a person needs, from blankets to entertaining systems and we’re overloaded with variations of one and the same thing.
The key to success is a difference, not originality. We live in a competitive environment. And even if you create something unique, you’ll notice soon that there are competitors around you.
The differences may concern several aspects that relate to app design and screenshots. Here are some of them:
I think you’ve got the idea. The main goal is to do better than anybody else and find a way to describe the advantages with the help of visual demonstration.
There’s one rule: the most important screenshot should be the first one. There’s no sense in placing them in a logical order. If you think a user needs to know the steps of using an app, you’re wrong. You have only several seconds to catch user attention.
Now let’s have a look at the most successful examples of screenshot use.
The most widespread screenshot is a description of what your app does. The main screen of the app is usually placed on such a screenshot.
Spring presents a nice screenshot of a screen with categories. It’s a great variant to show a clear app design. Homework app creators upload the most important screen which shows what a user will get after an install. Everything is simple with Threes app. A real app screenshot. No text, no distracting elements.
Some screenshots display how an app functions. In this case, you should check that a screenshot is easy to “understand”.
Healthbook by Apple focuses attention on both functions and design simultaneously.
PressViewer has another approach to describing functions. Instead of displaying all the functions in one screenshot, the app uses all the 5 marked places in order to demonstrate step app functions (the app is no longer available for download).
If your app doesn’t use traditional functions as tapping and scrolling, don’t be afraid to show it. There are several interesting ways to demonstrate app behavior.
Inbox by Google is a quick app. If you swipe to the left/right, you can mark an email as the one you’ve read or made a reminder. The currency uses transition functions in order to liven up the app. Slide to the left and the number you’ve entered will be deleted.
Swype tells a user how to make up words with the help of swipe on the keyboard.
A definite trend has formed in a screenshot niche. Instead of using all the available space for demonstrating the app screen, developers retract screenshots in order to have some space for additional text.
If some respected edition has written about your app, don’t be shy to boast of it. Adding of corresponding icons may evoke more trust in users.
Good.co points out 4 main app functions and tells about mentions on the Internet in order to create trust and interest in users. SkyView Free displays its awards on the screenshot.
A screenshot design depends directly on your app design. Don’t forget about using the same fonts, colors, and style on the whole.
If you have decided to add a couple of text lines for the description, choose a font that sorts with the app fonts. It creates an impression of unity. Choose the colors which suit the style of the app.
Pocket uses the same font both in the app and on the screenshots. Aconex uses additional text in order to share app functions. The font differs from the one they use in the app. But it looks natural as it reminds of a handwritten font and suits app theme.
SnipSnap keeps to green color on the screenshots.
DiscoFingers are available in several countries so the screenshots use several languages.
One more approach becomes more and more popular — showing an app in action.
Paper service has surprised the whole world with new interface elements: if you tilt a smartphone, you’ll see a full picture. The app also uses a card concept when you can transfer the themes you like to your newsfeed. Peek Calendar shows how can you look through your daily tasks opening a corresponding cell or a whole week view if you close it. Cycloramic demonstrated how can you rotate iPhone horizontally in order to make a panoramic photo with the help of the app.
Now, as we discussed all the advice on creating ideal screenshots, it’s time to move forward. The following services will help you to make screenshots:
In order to check whether you guessed right with the screenshots, it’s necessary to check their efficiency. Go to developer panel in iTunes, Google Play, or Windows Phone Market from time to time and study user behavior thoroughly.
You can also carry out a poll among your users. You can create nice surveys with the help of Typeform. Don’t forget to give some reward to a user for participation.
As we have already said, there are 2 key elements that affect installs — screenshots and ratings. In this article we’ve covered all the importance of screenshots.
Here are the most important tips you need to remember:
Surely success of your app depends not only on it looks but it should also have good functionality and solve a definite task or help in something. But as a person’s attention is attracted to everything beautiful and appealing, hard work on screenshots will be rewarded.