App Store Marketing – Top Tips to Make your App Assets Shine

May 22, 2015

Brian Howell


App store marketing has just gotten turbo charged. The news that Apple Analytics and Google Play A/B testing are on the way means that you will finally be able to see how effective your app store marketing assets are at pushing downloads for your app.

So, what better time than now for us to revisit best practices for your app store assets? With you or your mobile marketing team finally able to move the needle, it’s worth making sure you have a great set of app store assets in place as a starting point.

Here are our top tips for making sure that your app store assets work well across both stores to make sure you’re ready for this interesting opportunity.

Icons – Delivering Character on a Postage Stamp

App icons are small but seriously important. Not only are they one of the key assets that users will see when browsing for apps through the charts, they also need to look great to stop your app getting hidden in a folder on kept off the home screen.

So what you need to be doing is giving your icon enough opportunity to excite and explain what your app or app does. In particular, you’ll want to:

  • Infuse your icon with character – if you have a particular art style, a dominant in app character or a memorable brand to play with, you’ll want this front and center in your icon to draw the eye.
  • Keep things clutter free – an icon is too small to feature more than a single idea comfortably. If you’re cramming things into the design, you should step away, think what the most important thing is and focus on that.
  • Avoid text on the logo – Wherever you see a logo, from search results to the home screen, there will always be a short app name next to or below it. Therefore, text on a logo should be saved only for apps forced to feature it (e.g. Star Wars branded titles) or those whose names truncate in short app name form (e.g. Motorsport Manager) as it adds clutter.

Good examples of icons: Ridiculous Fishing, Crossy Road, Lumo Deliveries

Video – Selling the Lifestyle, Not Just the App

App trailers and videos on both the App Store and Google Play offer more than just a chance to show what your app is like; it allows you to do it in dynamic style

So you need to focus on two main things in your trailers: explaining what your app is about, as well as offering the opportunity to show off your title at the peak of its experience.

Therefore, you need to think about the following things when designing your video trailer: 

  • Keeping it concise – While you can use Youtube videos on Google Play, the App Store’s 30 second video limit is smarter to design for. Not only does it focus your efforts, it also happens to limit your trailer length to the standard length for video ads across most platforms – an added benefit.
  • Covering 3 to 5 key points – Though you don’t have much time to get everything across about your app, the strength of the video format rewards those who show their strengths in a tidy narrative. So focus on bringing a handful of the key ones to life to make it work.
  • Bringing the dream experience to life – The Clash of Clans TV ads work well without showing more than a fraction of appplay footage because they sell the fun of the clan warfare. Follow the same principle with your videos: a puzzle app promo video should feel fun and cheerful, while an action app should be drenched in explosive footage and high tempo music.

Good examples of videos: Nova 3, Finger Derpy, Spirit Lords

Screenshots - Defining the Visual Experience

Screenshots used to be the dominant visual asset until video took over, but don’t think they still don’t play their part. If your user is on a spotty wi-fi connection or they’re not able to play video for some reason, screenshots could easily find themselves top of the visual asset pile. 

Therefore, you need to put real time and effort into mastering them. In particular:

  • Put your best foot forward – your first screenshot needs to have that wow factor as it will be likely be in sight on the landing page or on the search page. So think about your USP, one sentence sales pitch or most amazing character and get as much as that in your first image as possible.
  • Tell a story – On Google Play and the App Store, sliding from screenshot to screenshot feels like you’re flipping through a picture book. So play that to your advantage by picking your key strengths, working out how to illustrate them and thinking about how you can add a few words to each image to create a narrative.
  • Take inspiration from your marketing creative - The performance of images in your mobile marketing campaign can be a great indicator of what is a good screenshot. If a certain character or image is performing well in, say, a Facebook ad, update your screenshots to include them.
Good examples of screenshots: Spymaster, app of War, Duolingo

App Descriptions – The Witty Tie Breaker

App descriptions are an unfairly overlooked app store asset. Although they don’t have the visual prominence of other assets, research suggests that undecided customers often read the first line or the whole description as a tie breaker for whether they’ll download or not.

Therefore, you’ll need to put a bit of thought into creating a witty yet informative body of text that’ll help people to decide quickly and in favour of your app. Top tips include:

  • Master the first line – On both Google Play and the App Store, app descriptions truncate after the first line. You’ll therefore want to have a one line summary of your app, its strengths and why you should download it up first so potential usersusers get in on the ground floor.
  • Keep a relevant tone – The way people read your app store description will affect who downloads it, so keep it in line with user expectations. A puzzle app such as Candy Crush Saga suits puns, fun and jokes, while usersusers of a more serious title may well want the description to reflect that.
  • Be informative and to the point – Users need to know key information in a description such as device compatability, what the app contains and an idea of what is about; they don’t need a life story. So write a quick plan of everything you want to say, work out how to say it in to the point sentences and use formatting such as bullet points or lists to break up the reading.

Good examples of descriptions: Candy Crush Saga, Football Manager Classic, Marvel: Contest of Champions

Once you get your users into you app, let us help you keep them there! Take a tour of Upsight and see how your user data can impact your marketing decisions. 

In: Marketing

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