The three most important elements of an app page on the store are icon, name, and price. The icon catches the user’s eye, and is able to wake interest in a casual visitor. The name can be yet another hint on what the app is about. The lower the price is, the more chances the app has to be downloaded (at least in general). Rating matters, too – anyone can easily skip an app that has less than three stars. But the essential element that can increase value of the app, show the use and the attractive interface, is the collection of screenshots. We often see high-quality apps as those which are equally good functionally and aesthetically. In the moment of the first impression we can evaluate only the aesthetic part, which is in the icon and screenshots.
A great app can easily fail owing to poor, uninteresting screenshots. Discovery of new apps usually happens through a simple mobile search. The more compelling and visually attractive the very first screenshot is, the better an app stands against rivals. People decide to buy things, being guided by emotions and facts – good screenshots can give them both of these. Visuals here will influence much stronger than the text.
There are several questions you should ask yourself. What is the actual value your user will get? What is there that makes your app different from all the rest? How can your app look better/smarter/more fun than others? What are its strengths? When you get the answers, proceed to thinking over the idea of your first, and the most important, screenshot.
Rule #1. The first screenshot is the main one – it must clearly show what the app does, as well as carry the message.
If it does exactly what you want it to do, you may be tempted to read on and download it. And if you don’t have to look at the second and third screenshot to understand what the app is about, let alone reading the description, it’s just perfect. Everybody’s always in a hurry – nobody wants to dig too much into the details, unless this person gets interested by a catchy icon and the first screenshot, which should contain a text that hits it, carries your message. It all happens within mere seconds – therefore no meaningless splashscreens on the first screenshot – even if they look so good.
Rule #2. Your screenshots don’t have to be actual screenshots.
Yes, Apple requires the screenshots for the app page to have the size of an actual screenshot. But the content may differ. A screenshot isn’t just a screenshot – it’s your powerful marketing weapon for attracting people and selling the app, so it must be treated this way. There must be an explanation – just a line of text that will advertise and sell the product you offer, meantime showing its value.
Rule #3. Get value from every screenshot you have.
The classic example is Apple App Store. There you have five screenshots, and you must extract value from all of them, with each subsequent screenshot containing info of lesser importance. But nevertheless every screenshot is crucial, especially in bigger apps, every one might influence the visitor. Be sure to showcase the features of you app as the actual value a person will get.
Rule #4. Avoid overdoing.
If your app is a file manager, txt/pdf/doc/iWork/image viewer and editor, mp3/wav/whatever player, with cloud support, sync of files and folders, sharing on social networks and cloud storages, and a million of other features – don’t gather this trash on screenshots. This doesn’t make them eye-catching, but rather repelling instead. Get to the point with as few words as possible.
We can conclude this with a piece of advice, rather usual but important: read the guidelines closely so that there are no contradictions, which may cause rejecting your app, which in turn means losing time on remaking and resubmitting (however, this will be the work of your designer, who surely knows everything about these guidelines, and who can consult you on making the choice). Test your screenshots, see which work best, analyze the results and make them better before the submission. And don’t forget about localization if it really matters in your particular case. A great (or plain bad) screenshot can easily make all the difference.