When it comes to marketing your app, it all comes down to convincing consumers to buy it, which is why app store screenshots are so important. Your app might be one of the best on the market, but the chances of getting customers to click on it—let alone purchase it—without an eye-catching and defining screenshot, are slim. And with so many options to choose from, app users are only going to see the most popular apps when they do a search. Meaning that without an effective screenshot, your app risks getting lost in the wide ocean a.k.a. the app store.
How to make stunning app store screenshots
Having any screenshot is better than not having one at all, but having a stunning app store screenshot is what will feature your app at the top of the list in your category. It might feel like you’re rolling the dice, by creating screenshots that you like and hoping that customers will feel the same way. But don’t just assume. First, keep in mind who your target audience is, and work to optimize your screenshot to appeal to that audience. Try to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes, and ask people you know who fit into that group for suggestions. Next, show your app store screenshots to people you know who fit in your target audience, so you can get a better feel for how they will interact with the app when they see it in the app store.
With all that in mind, here are the dos and don’ts of designing a screenshot that will sell your app, along with some advice on what stats to receive from your test audience.
What to do when you’re designing app store screenshots
- Focus on the first screenshot: the one that will stand out to your audience is the first one they see. Make sure the first two screenshots that are listed are your best ones, since those are the ones that people will see when they do a search.
- Make it descriptive: Your screenshot should be a descriptive image of your app, so users can see right away how it’s supposed to be used. App users don’t want to spend time reading lengthy descriptions to figure out what your app is all about, thus make sure they can get all the info they need from just one screenshot.
- Add additional screenshots: Both Google Play and App Store allow developers to add more than just one screenshot, so take advantage of this by adding as many as are allowed. Your first one should give a descriptive overview of the app, while the ones that follow should serve as a guide through the app. You can add a descriptive sentence to go along with the images to walk users through your app. For instance, Runkeeper‘s screenshots describes how the app works with easy to understand visuals.
- Show off unique features: Use your app store screenshots to demonstrate unique features that set your app apart from other ones on the market. For instance, the second screenshot on Daily Craigslist’s app shows us how we can actually circle ads we like. This feature is unique to the app, and can make the difference between someone either downloading this app or another one.
- Think about dimensions: Apps are used on varying devices with varying sizes, so design your screenshot to fit within every size tablet and phone out there. You can start with this iOS developer guide for information on how to navigate the different image sizes.
What to avoid when developing your app’s screenshot
- Stock photos: Stock photos might have their place somewhere on the Internet, but it is not in the app store, and it is definitely not in the screenshots use to promote your app. Make sure images of your actual app are way more effective than generic stock images.
- Busy screenshots: Some developers make the mistake of trying to cram every single aspect of the app into the screenshot, but this only results in an overwhelming and confusing image that will cause viewers to move on. Make sure to keep it simple.
- Don’t waste screenshots: Don’t waste space by showing your login or settings screen. Adding snapshots of every page in your app isn’t going to help you sell it.
- Skipping localizing: If you want your app to break into other markets, you’re going to need to localize it. Make sure to localize the screenshots as well.
How to know your screenshot is working
Here are some things to ask people to think about at this stage, so you can improve your screenshot to match the needs of your target audience:
- Do people swipe through small and full screen screenshots?
- Are all of the screenshots getting viewed?
- Which screenshots do users tap on and spend the most time on?
- Which screenshot motivates people to install the app?
To get the most out of your screenshot, you need to have a test market that can help you figure out what is and isn’t working. To do that effectively, you need to use a platform that simulates the buying experience, so you can track how users interact with your app.
TestNest gives you this experience, including a test page, where you can set up variant pages to determine which one works better. It also gives you the ability to send traffic to your page through Facebook or other methods of your choosing, and analytics for you to review so you can revise your screenshots accordingly, and much more.
Sign up for free to start optimizing your app screenshots today.
Kristina Altman is Head of Content at TestNest and Brighter. She’s a marketing guru that thrives in a startup environment. After many years of working with smaller businesses, Kristina has learned to wear many hats—she’s a jack of all trades, a swiss army knife. She has a passion for blogging and loves any challenge. You can always connect with her on LinkedIn.